What to do on half a court during warm-ups

I got the following question from a reader named Mike.

I have a question about useful activities that can be done sharing half court with the other team–you know–that 15 or so minutes before the refs call for captains.

Most of the teams I see just do pepper or hit down balls to 3 passers. But I’m wondering if there might be something that will get in more game-like reps even without the use of the net.

This is an interesting subject, and one I’ve had a lot of thoughts about over the years. In the Improving pre-match warm-ups post I sort of touched on it.  Mainly, though, I focused on what you can do when you have the court to yourself. So let’s look at what we can do before that time – or the shared hitting time if that’s the structure you have.

Pepper has a purpose

We all know the pepper isn’t very game-like. It does have a purpose during warm-ups, though. First, it replicates some of the physical movements the players will do in the match – especially arm-swing. As such, it does have a physiological use. Second, it has a mental element. The players use it to connect with each other on the court. This can actually be very important time for them, even though what they’re doing (like bouncing the ball off the floor) might not accomplish much in other respects.

A suggestion from John Kessel

My immediate reaction to Mike’s email when I saw the “game-like reps” was to think of something John Kessel often suggests. It’s something he likes for when you don’t have use of a net. He calls it something like “loser is the net”. Let me explain.

Imagine you’re playing Winners (Queen/King of the Court). Normally, you’d do it over a net. In this case, though, one or more players act as the net. For example, you could have three players. Two of them play 1 v 1 while the other is the “net” they have to play over. When the rally ends, the loser and the “net” change places.

You could do something similar with doubles. Two players are the net, perhaps by holding a rope between them. When the rally is over, they rotate out and the losers form the net.

You can probably fit at least three mini doubles courts on your side during pre-game warm-ups. Playing this game would certainly be a way to get game-like reps.

Stuff you want to work on

Something work thinking about as you ponder your pre-match time is what you might want to use the time to reinforce. You don’t want to be teaching new things before a game starts, but you can work on things you’ve already introduced. For example, lots of teams do blocking footwork during their warm-up. It can help reinforce those patterns, especially if you’re providing feedback. You don’t want them working on the wrong patterns, after all.

Mike brought up the idea of the coach hitting balls at three passers. There are lots of variations on this sort of thing. I’m not a huge fan, broadly speaking, but it can have its uses. One of them might be to reinforce team defensive movement and positioning.

While they won’t be particularly game-like, there are lots of little things like this you could potentially work on in the pre-game time. Maybe there’s some eye work for your setters, or transition footwork for your middles. Whatever it is, just make sure it doesn’t distract from match preparation. You don’t want your players thinking about something other than playing the game once the whistle blows.

Remember the purpose

Remember that what matters most during your warm-up is that the team is prepared to play – both collectively and individually. This is your primary objective. What they need to be there can vary from team to time. There is obviously a physical element. That’s pretty consistent across team, possibly with small variations for individual player considerations.

It’s the psychological aspect which varies more.

Some teams are ready to go mentally as soon as they walk into the gym. Others need some help to get themselves in the right mindset. It’s up to you as the coach to figure out what your team needs – realizing that it can change.

Be consistent

One thing players don’t like in their warm-ups is change. They can be easily rattled if you change things up unexpectedly. Should it be that way? No, but such is life. As such, it’s generally a good idea to introduce significant warm-up changes beforehand so they are prepared.

Selecting a team captain – one view

While reading the Nikolai Karpol biography, I came across the following quote.

“An important element in any victory is the team captain, the leader of the team is my main helper. She, both in life and on the court, has greater rights and greater responsibilities than the other players. The captain must be a player who understands the game and the coach’s thoughts, so when I choose a captain there is no democracy for me – I choose. The players have no say in it. There are sportsmen and women with a great deal of authority with their fellow players, but if they don’t understand me, they can’t be captains of the team I am leading. The captain must lead the team at training sessions and in the game, must know what to say to the referee, just as I would, she must know how the team is organised both on the court and in life. The captain is a player from whom I learn the problems in the team, both private and interpersonal conflicts. The captain knows more than the coach, she must know which problems should be hushed up and which ones need to be shared so we can solve them together.”

This is basically my own philosophy, as I wrote about before. I also wrote a post on the qualities of a good team captain which feeds into all of this. This is not the only approach, of course. That was the subject of a Volleyball Coaching Wizards podcast episode. And team captains aren’t necessary in all situations. This particular approach works well for me, though.

Book Review: Karpol: Lunatics – That’s What I Need

If you’re like me, you probably know Nikolai Karpol as the Soviet/Russian women’s coach notorious for screaming at his teams. If you’ve read any of my posts about yelling, like this one, you know I’m not a big fan. From that perspective it’s hard for me to have a lot of respect for Karpol. The fact of the matter, though, is he’s been extremely successful through his career – both internationally and at the club level. That’s why I decided to read Karpol: Lunatics – That’s What I Need. We tell our players to go outside their comfort zones. This is one way we can do it as coaches.

I should note, a Croatian journalist wrote this book. The version I read is obviously an English translation. As such, there are some places where phrasing and meaning could be a little unusual. Generally speaking, though, it’s not hard to comprehend.

Also, Karpol is a product of his environment – as we all are. As such, there are places where his comments seem to quite strongly reflect a different mentality than might be the case of someone from a different part of the world and/or a different era.

The first part of the book, not surprisingly, is a biographical look at Karpol’s career going back to the late 1950s. After that it’s set up kind of like a series of short essays. Each chapter – of which there are over 30 – has it’s own general theme, but there isn’t a real sense of a defined progression. At only a bit over 100 pages, it’s a short, quick read.

There’s an interesting chapter on the way players were selected for and progressed through the club Karpol coached. One of the things it talks about is how you can influence a players height through how they eat and where they go. Of course there’s no scientific evidence offered. I did find it interesting, though, how much cross-training he said they did. The players didn’t just train volleyball. They did a lot of different things.

Karpol is, as I mentioned, well known for his yelling. Interestingly, he does address yelling in a chapter about midway through the book. It’s brief, and probably doesn’t go too far in really explain something many in the world see as his biggest attribute. You might find it both interesting and surprising, though.

The feeling that you get throughout the book, however, is that Karpol truly loved his players. He always wanted the best for them – even after they stopped playing.

In the latter part of the book Karpol bemoans how the world – and to a degree volleyball – has changed. Honestly, it struck me as fairly typical of someone on in years talking about how things were better before. I’m not saying he’s wrong, necessarily, but it was a kind of predictable mindset.

Here are some interesting quotes I came across in the book.

“It is the coach’s job to get everyone to go one step further, to go beyond their limits.”

“The coach’s task is to motivate the sportsman. Some children simply love sport, and in others that love can be nurtured. Let us say that a child is brought to the training session by his father, but he resists, he does not want to exercise, he almost hates sport. However, the coach can make the child love sport so much that he never wants to give it up. The same is true for teachers in school.”

“Young girl players, and the same is true for men, need to get involved in training with older players as soon as possible, for they will then be able to put together the little stones of the understanding of the game into a mosaic. It reminds me of the many little pictures that make up a film. Even by just watching the best players, those they admire, young players can learn a great deal. Not to mention training with them.”

“There is no volleyball on television because there are no stars. As soon as a true star emerges, television will be interested. However the creation of a star is not for a national side, but for the clubs. These days there are a lot of international matches and when the national sides are in action, the clubs take a break. The championships are put on hold. That is why the clubs are not interested in creating players, rather they try to buy them. If there are no quality players, that is stars, television will never broadcast volleyball matches. However much we change the rules of the game and shorten the match time to make volleyball more suitable for television, whatever we do, televisions will not be switched on until we create stars.”

With respect to that last quote, Karpol was very critical in the book of the major international organizations for their marketing of volleyball. We must realize this book was published in 2009, though. Some things have changed since then, hopefully for the better in that regard.

All in all, I think Karpol: Lunatics – That’s What I Need is a book worth reading. I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list, but it’s worth the time.

Looking at scoring streaks, odds, and service strategy

I like to engage with other coaching bloggers when I can. It’s a form of networking, which is never a bad idea. It also helps to foster communication and the exchange of ideas in our coaching community.

To that end, I want to address a post I came across. The author is Jim Dietz, though his name isn’t actually anywhere on the site (at least as I write this). Jim coaches at the junior college and club levels in the US. Like me, he’s also a book author.

In Jim’s post he takes on the subject of scoring points in streaks in volleyball, having looked at some numbers about bunch scoring in baseball. The conclusion that the post eventually leads to is that once you’ve scored two points in a row there’s an argument to be made for focusing on getting the next serve in to sustain the streak.

Baseball first

A quick thought on the baseball comparison Jim makes before shifting to volleyball. My immediate question about teams scoring in bunches being more successful is whether it’s a function of getting more players on base. I don’t know the statistics, but that’s the first thing I’d want to look at. If that’s the case, it means they are giving themselves more opportunities to score in general. As such, it’s not a case of winning because of scoring in bunches, but rather scoring in bunches because that’s what happens when you get a lot of runners on base, which produces more runs generally.

Scoring streaks required

Now, let me address the volleyball side of scoring streaks.

First, you simply cannot win a set in volleyball without scoring points in a row. This is the no-brainer aspect of Jim’s analysis. At the end of the day, points scored when you serve are what decides the game. In order to score a service point – aside from when you have the first serve of the set – you must first side out. That’s two points in a row – a mini streak.

If teams could only score at most one point from serve, then the team that had the greater number of mini streaks would win the set. Of course, it doesn’t work like that. Teams can run off multiple points when they have serve.

But with regards to Jim’s analysis, there’s a major causality question – as there could be in the case of the baseball stats. Does a team win because they score in bunches? Or does the better team just tend to score in bunches?

Looking at the odds

Jim’s analysis of randomly generated scores are actually very predictable. Even when you have something like a coin toss you will get streaks. Given enough tosses, it’s guaranteed. And when a streak does happen, the odds aren’t in favor of a comeback, so to speak.

Let me drill down on that. Say it’s 15-15 and one side has a 3-point streak to get it to 18-15. If the odds of siding out are 50% for both teams, then you’d expect them to score basically the same number of service points over the rest of the set. That would mean something like a 25-22 score line. Is there a chance that the losing team gets a streak, or even more than one? Yes, but it’s just as likely the leading time does so. That means the odds of the leading team winning are quite high.

The above provides a good basis for going along with what Jim says about trying to go for streaks. The problem, though, is that this is all based on the idea that point scoring is entirely a random process with fixed odds. If that’s the case, then nothing we do really changes things. But do we really believe the odds are fixed? Maybe when looking at large numbers of observations. At the set level, though, there are a lot of factors that can alter the odds.

Impact on serving strategy

And that brings up the big point I want to make.

Jim talks about not being as aggressive on your 2nd serve as on your 1st to increase the odds of getting that 3-point streak (counting the original side out). There’s a major flaw in Jim’s thinking, though. In theory, if you dial down the aggressiveness on your serve you lower your chances of scoring. Jim speaks as if doing so increases the odds of scoring. If that were the case, wouldn’t you just use that less aggressive serve all the time?

That said, I do think it can be the case that you want to focus on getting your serve in in certain circumstances. These, though, are situations where you believe the odds have shifted more in your favor – going back to the earlier point of odds changing. For example, the other team is looking error prone and you don’t want to let them off the hook by making your own. Again, though, if you believe that’s the case already then your 1st service strategy should already reflect this view.

On proving yourself and winning

There’s a really interesting quote from Nebraska coach John Cook in his book, Dream Like a Champion.

“As coaches gain experience, however, that pursuit of winning goes away. Your work becomes more about coaching: the journey of each unique team and seeing individual players develop. You begin to enjoy all of those things a lot more and they become more important than winning. Winning is still important, of course, but you stop making yourself miserable over it. I enjoy coaching more now than ever before and I am able to learn so much more about myself and my role as a coach because I am not so worried about proving myself every day.”

This is a very insightful quote. At least it strikes a cord with me personally. Somewhere along the line I stopped fixating so much on winning and losing. That isn’t really in my control, so why stress about it so much?

I think Cook’s last sentence, though, begs a question. Is winning the only way we can prove ourselves, especially early in our career?

I touched on this subject before in terms of who we must prove ourselves too. I didn’t, though, really get into how we do that.

Let’s face it, most of the time people – including ourselves – tend to think in terms of winning. This is why we have youth coaches specializing kids early rather than developing them as all-around players. I wrote about that in the post Coaching Youngsters Like College Players.

Yes, sometimes winning is how you prove yourself. Not always, though. I’d actually venture to say, not even most of the time. Yes, if you’re at Nebraska, as Cook is, people expect you to win. If you don’t, you’re out of a job. When you think about the vast majority of teams, however, you’ll realize having fun and getting better are really the main focus points. As a coach you prove yourself by accomplishing those objectives. At least that should be the case. The problem is people tend to forget that in the heat of battle.

Actually, this is how coaches get in trouble sometimes. I have a coaching friend whose professional club fired him because he was overly competitive. He was focused on winning as how he would prove himself when the club leadership had a different focus for the team. Just goes to show that you need to know what matters to those who count.

Making the practice planning process easier

I once came across a question from a fellow coach.

Has anyone set up a database of drills/games/etc with a template for practices? e.g., in your template you can select from a variety of warmup items, then pick an individual skill, then a group skill, etc… so you wouldn’t have to a) remember every single drill since they would be in a database, b) hand write practice every day, etc.

I understand why something like this would be compelling. On the one hand, when I first got into college coaching I worked for a woman who was very structured. She was a facilities planner, so she liked her practices scheduled out basically to the minute.This sort of practice organizer is right up that alley.

On the other hand, there are definitely lots of options for drills and games. It can be hard to remember them. I’ve got some thoughts about this, though.

Why so many?

First, there is something I wrote about in the 1000 different drills post. Some coaches proudly have a large drill collection. They constantly swap drills in and out of their practices. As I talked about in that other post, though, this could actually hamper player learning.

Perhaps more meaningfully, always using different drills means time spent explaining them. That’s time not spent practicing. Remember, the more you talk, the less they train. If you have limited practice time, you need to get the absolute most out of it.

It only takes a few

Having said what I did in the last section, I definitely get the desire to mix things up and keep it fresh. We do need to keep player attentions in mind in our practice planning. That means changing the challenges and the focal points. Jan De Brandt and Teri Clemens, who we interviewed for the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project, both are proud of never running the same practice twice.

Here’s the thing, though. You can create an ever-changing practice plan using only a handful of exercises.

This starts with the understanding that you want to make things as game-like as you possibly can at all times. This is a simple function of the science of motor learning. You can’t always create actual game situations, or do things in a 100% game-like fashion, but you want to get as close as you can. If you have this idea in mind, it will likely cut down quite a bit on the number of possible drills you might use.

The second thing to understand is that so long as you make the exercises as game-like as you can get them, then what really matters isn’t the drill or game itself, but the feedback. That means you can use the same exercise for multiple different purposes simply by shifting the focus and feedback.

Finally, bonus points and other scoring systems can let you use even a simple 6 v 6 game in any way you like. Want to work on serve reception? Consider something like the points for passes system. Want to work on first ball sideout? Give a bonus point when the team does it, and/or to the serving team when they can prevent it. Want your servers attacking seams? Give them bonus points for doing so, regardless of the pass quality.

And of course you can also focus on something by having each rally begin in a certain fashion. Or if you want to run a wash game, you can have the follow-up ball(s) work a certain way. Let’s say you want to work on out-of-system hitting. You could start the rallies with a ball hit at the setter so a non-setter has to set the ball.

The point is you can work on just about anything you want in a simple 6 v 6 game by changing the way rallies are initiated, how you score them, and where you focus your feedback. And you can get really focused by using a second chance approach.

Get the point I’m trying to make here?

My own approach

I’m like Jan and Teri in that I probably don’t ever run the same practice twice. Teri actually goes even deeper in her interview (featured in the first Volleyball Coaching Wizards) and says she never had a list of drills. She just created whatever she needed when she planned practice. I approach things in a similar way.

Yes, I do have some standard drill and game structures that I use. By that I mean they are 6 v 6, or small-sided, or have a winners rotation, or something along those lines that is familiar to the players. This avoids the need for teaching new drills all the time. From there, though, I set up the ball initiation, scoring, and feedback so it focuses things on what I have for my priority that session.

I’m not saying this is the best approach for every coach. We all need to have a practice planning system that works for us. This one works well for me.

Thoughts on second contact when setter-out

A reader sent in a question about who should take the second ball when the setter makes first contact (setter-out).

I have a question about emergency setting. Up until this year, I’ve always used my right side player (in a 5-1) to take second ball whenever my setter (in right back) takes first ball. It has worked well enough since I’ve been lucky enough to have right sides with decent hands. The major downside, as far as I can tell, is that you take one potential hitter out of the equation, and the passing angle from RB to RF can be awkward at times. That said, it’s always worked well enough for me.

But now the trend seems to be to have the libero take second ball and to set to one of the pins, usually to the left. That also raises the question (for me anyway) as to whether it is more efficient to have the libero set out left back or middle back (not to mention worth worrying about the “finger action” rules that restrict the libero…)

It seems to me that a libero coming out of left back (especially in perimeter or even “middle middle” defense) is going to have a more favorable angle for a set to the right side pin, if the setter is passing high to the middle. It also seems like s/he will have an easier time getting to second ball.

But what if it is overall more sound defensively to have your libero in middle back? In that case, is it even worth having your libero as your emergency setter? Wouldn’t it be harder to get to second ball from middle back (or even middle middle)? Wouldn’t the angles be a little more awkward for setting to the pins?

Does anyone use their outside hitters (in left back) to take second ball? (It seems to me that that would mean you would have to train both of them which wouldn’t be as efficient as training just one person)

Just wondering what people do. And whether or not there is a consensus on what works best, with respect to emergency setting.

I previously addressed this topic from a different perspective. In that case a reader asked about moving the libero from left back to middle back. As such, I’ll leave out that element in my response here.

It is now definitely the preferred approach by most coaches to use the libero, playing in left back, to take the second ball in these situations. You see it at the national team level on down. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best solution for your particular team, though. Let me address it form a couple different angles.

Front row player

As the emailer suggests, one option for taking the second ball is the right front player. Usually, this is the Opposite. This was the favored approach for many years. I used it to good effect coaching the Exeter University women as my OPP had excellent hands and we didn’t run a fast offense.

The biggest question for me using the OPP is the middle attack. Can they actually set it? If not, then it really narrows the offensive options down considerably. For a lot of teams it means the ball can only be set to the Outside Hitter. Maybe you have a back row option as well. You don’t have a quick attack option, however, nor do you have a right side hitter, making the block’s job much easier.

If the OPP can set the middle, then it opens things up considerably. That only holds, though, if the ball is dug close enough to the net. If not, you’re in the same situation as if the OPP couldn’t set the middle attack. This is a real issue when teams are often coached to dig the ball to the 3m line.

An alternative to the OPP taking the second ball is the Middle Blocker doing so. This is actually the cornerstone of the standard 4-2 offensive system where the setter plays middle front. If you have an MB with good hands who can set both front and back, it can work. Since they can set both pins, the opposing blockers can’t stack up on just one.

The challenge for the MB, though, is that they usually are coming down from a block. They are programmed to get ready to attack, so setting is an adjustment. And if the dig is well off the net there just might not be time for them to get to it.

Back row player

As the reader notes, the player in middle back probably has the furthest to go to take a second ball. Also, their direction of approach can make the angles difficult, unless they have really good footwork.

That basically leaves left back as probably the best choice back row player to take the second ball in a setter-out situation. Whether that is the libero (or MB) or the OH is it’s own consideration.

Obviously, the libero has limitations when it comes to using their hands. That may not be as big a deal as you might think, though. First, if the OH isn’t a confident setter, they’ll probably bump set the ball anyway, just as the libero would. Second, libero’s can develop pretty good jump sets for use on balls just beyond the 3m line – in some cases, even quick sets. Finally, so many digs end up at the 3m line that situations where you really want a hand set (e.g. to set quick) are probably going to be limited.

All things considered

When you consider all the factors, you’ll see why so many teams have the left back person – mostly the libero – take the second ball. If the dig is close to the net, it might make more sense for a front row player to set the ball. If it’s not, though, then using the back row player allows for a larger number of attacking options.

So it really comes down to where your setter digs the ball.

One final thought

The emailer uses the term “emergency” to describe these situations where the setter takes the first ball. I don’t think that term applies, though. In the modern game, teams are out-of-system a large percentage of the time. That makes it a quite normal situation which should be trained in line with how often it happens.

The other thing I would add is that the situation where the setter has to play the first ball is not the only time a team is out-of-system. Sometimes the first contact is poor and the setter can’t get there. Or someone else is in a better position to put up a good set. For that reason, every player on the court should be able to step in and put up a hittable ball.

Book Review: Wooden on Leadership – How to Create a Winning Organization

If you’re a coach of any sport and you don’t know the name John Wooden, then you’ve missed out. Many consider The Wizard of Westwood is one of the all-time great coaches, with a career highlighted by winning 10 NCAA men’s basketball national championships when he coached UCLA.. No doubt legendary UCLA volleyball coaches Al Scates (men) and Andy Banachowski (women) would tell you they were influenced by Wooden. Both their careers overlapped with his.

Back in the early days of my volleyball coaching career I read They Call Me Coach. It was definitely influential. If you don’t know much about Wooden, that book might be a good starting point as it’s his autobiography.

Wooden on Leadership is more of a management book. It was clearly intended to target business people, but retains a strong coaching flavor. Naturally, that means lots of basketball talk. That’s more in terms of context than anything technical, though.

The first part of the book focuses on Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success. He takes you through each of the 15 blocks. Not only does he explain what each one is about, but also why he placed them where he did.

The second section carries on from the Pyramid concepts and drills down on things. Here you get Woodens views on leadership, managing emotions, incentives and motivation, focusing on performance rather than the score, and the importance of character among several other topics.

The last part of the book actually brings his old coaching notebook in to the discussion. In this section Wooden shares a number of different snippets. They cover a variety of topics related to coaching and leadership.Obviously, they are from a basketball coaching journal, but he does a good job generalizing them.

If you’re like me you’ll stop on a regular basis while reading this book to grab a quote. Here are just a couple that caught my attention.

“The best leaders are lifelong learners; they take measures to create organizations that foster and inspire learning throughout. The most effective leaders are those who realize it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts most.”

“For any leader, any organization, the plans are a starting point. That’s why I put them at the beginning of Part Three. The much more difficult task for anyone in a leadership position is to create an environment, a way of thinking, a set of beliefs, that ultimately gets everyone working eagerly and to the best of their ability to make those plans result in a winning organization.”

This is just a taste of the wisdom you’ll find in Wooden on Leadership. I definitely encourage you to put it on your reading list.

Want to know what US college coaches do?

Thinking about a career coaching college volleyball in the US? If so, I’m about to educate on what you’re in for.

Below is the listing of job duties for an operations position, as posted by the University of Miami. At the upper levels of NCAA Division I the programs have people on staff with the titles Director of Volleyball Operations (DOVO), Operations Coordinator, or something along those lines. They are there to ease some of the administrative burden from the coaching staff.

The vast majority of college programs don’t have operations people, though. Nor do they have a technical coordinator, or someone like that, who runs the stats and video part of things. That means the coaches have to do it all themselves. And oftentimes it’s with fewer coaches than those big programs.

1. Works with compliance staff to create a culture of compliance to meet NCAA, ACC, University and departmental policies and procedures. Oversee compliance rules and regulations to maintain CARA hour and Time Management Plan limits and logs. Serves as a liaison to Compliance Office for National Letter of Intent Process. Insure that the NLI’s are prepared correctly and sent in the appropriate time frame. Works with coaches to get admissions applications returned and NCAA Eligibility items completed in a timely manner to facilitate final NCAA Eligibility Center certification on all student-athletes. Coordinates permissible correspondence to incoming student-athletes regarding financial aid, workout programs, orientation schedules, fall housing requirements, required physical documentation and equipment needs.

2. Coordinates all team travel with business office staff, including: coordination of flights, hotel and buses with travel coordinator, meals, submitting cash advance requests, tracking per diem distribution, creation of agendas and processes all spend authorizations.

3. Coordinate pregame meals for all home games.

4. Responsible for complimentary ticket lists for all ticketed events.

5. Assists in planning and execution of off-campus and on campus recruiting events. Serves as a direct representative of the University’s coaching staff to potential recruits and their families.

6. Coordinates all practice session scheduling and setup. Works with the game management and facility staff to coordinate home meets/games.

7. Processes all reimbursements and purchase requisitions.

8. Assists head coach and business office with monitoring of current fiscal year budget and formulation of next year’s budget.

9. Assist academic services with study hall and class attendance. Monitors the academic performance of the team with assigned academic counselor to achieve desirable academic outcomes.

10. Works with equipment staff to order and allocate all athletic equipment. Assist with creating purchase orders for equipment, outside services and office supplies.

11. Acts as a liaison to student athlete enhancement services including the student-athlete development staff, department nutritionist, department sports psychologist and strength trainer.

12. Plans and assists in the oversight of the annual team banquet.

13. Assist in coordination of scout video and statistical analysis both during competition and in preparation for competition.

14. Acts as a liaison to Marketing plan, sports information staff and fundraising efforts.

Now, lets add a few things to the list.

  • Planning and running practice, and match coaching
  • Develop scouting reports
  • Team and player meetings
  • Recruiting trips and recruit communication
  • Community outreach and press availability
  • Fundraising
  • Alumni relations

I could probably come up with a few more with some time, but I think that’s enough to make the point. College coaches are responsible for a whole lot of stuff! Kevin Hambly, shortly after taking over at Stanford, commented in an interview that only about 7% of his time actually involves working in the gym.

It’s worth noting that the majority of the stuff on the Miami list, and even some of the stuff I tacked on at the end, would be handled by a manager most places outside the US system. This is one of the things that can make it a real challenge for foreign coaches to make the jump into the US college system.

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