A reader named Stuart posed the following scenario:

We had a pretty good high school season in 2021. Took a tough loss in the Regional final. Lost both senior OH’s and our Setter to graduation. The MH/MB are twins and really good athletes. A strong college recruited OP/R. We have an OH that might be able to step in. We for sure will need a new setter. The question is do we move a MH to the OH? Do we move the OP/R to the middle? Do we simply look for new blood in the OH position? Suggestions?

Ultimately, in a performance environment (meaning one where winning is the objective) you have to put the best combination of players you can on the court. In this scenario there are too many open questions to judge player position changes just yet. Who is the new Setter and what do they have for capabilities? Do you have anyone else who can play the Middle or OPP/RS? How strong are the OH options available? Without knowing those things – and probably some other stuff too – it’s nearly impossible to judge yet whether positional changes make sense.

That said, if I have an off-season training opportunity, I cross-train my players. Get those Middles passing, playing defense, and swinging on the pin. Give that OPP time in the middle, and potentially even at OH and Setter if those are reasonable options. This way you can really see what they’re capable of, and if you do eventually move them you’ve already started the transition process.

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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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