It’s that time of year again. New Year’s Day is when so many of us make resolutions for the year ahead. Do you have any where your volleyball coaching is concerned?

I will admit that I’m not really one for setting resolutions in this way. I understand that people do it as part of a look-back/look-ahead reflective process. Why, though, should flipping the calendar over to a new year make me suddenly want to do this or accomplish that. It tends to take things out of context and make it all a bit artificial. It also can be vague or overly ambitious. That’s probably why so many resolutions fail rather quickly – often with negative consequences.

I personally prefer to take a continuous development view of things and make resolutions in a proper context. Let’s take a coaching example – blocker training. It’s all well and good to say I want to get better at teaching players how to block. What happens, though, if I’ve got a team of short players? No matter how good I get at blocker training it isn’t going to help them. All the time I spend on my blocking development is time I could put to better use on something that could help the team. I could work on defense or running a faster tempo offense. See what I mean about the context?

Here’s a personal example.

Back in 2013-14 my season focus was improved team and player communication. In particular, I wanted to work better with the Exeter university women’s team. It was, for me, a key area of improvement from the prior year. I made a concerted effort to keep it top of mind in the new season. I solicited feedback from the team captain along the way. Heading into the term break, I also surveyed the players for their input. My hope was that I could use the results to continue improving on my ability to communicate with and motivate them, both as individuals and as a group.

So where do you want to improve your coaching and what are you planning on doing about it?

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.