I don’t know the percentage of professional volleyball teams that have parents of the players attending training sessions. My guess is it’s not very high, though I’m sure in some places and at some levels it’s more frequent than at others. Sweden may be one of those places. Certainly, it was true in my case at Svedala.

To be fair, I coached at what is basically a local community club. We had the professional level team competing in the Elitserie, the top level of Swedish volleyball. We also had a 2nd team playing in Division 1 south, the second level of volleyball in Sweden. Although there’s no league age restriction, our 2nd team was effectively a Juniors squad based on their ages. Below that we had actual Juniors level teams, and then down to some really little ones – well south of U12s. Overall, there was something like 100 club members.

My own team featured two players whose families lived in town. A couple of players were originally from up north, while the rest were from other parts of southern Sweden. And of course I had three Americans. It’s the parents of the two local players who periodically turned up to training sessions – and boy did they enjoy themselves!

In training one Tuesday night I could hear at least the two moms laughing uproariously.

Yes, they were laughing at the team. No, this wasn’t the first time.

To be fair, it wasn’t ridiculing type laughter. That sort of thing means ejection from my gym. Rather, this was genuine comedic laughter at what they saw and heard from the players on the court.

I’m not talking slap-stick type stuff here. Yeah, there’s some of that. The team was pretty loose. They worked hard, but they had fun as well. Invariably, that led to some funny things happening. More than that, though, I think is the sound track that went along with it all. A couple of my louder, more talkative players were also the source of some funny comments and reactions mid-rally.

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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.

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