Oh, yeah. That’s what it feels like after a training session!

Yup, the aches and pains were back after last night’s practice. Shoulder was tweaked after hitting balls during a digging drill and my lower back was tight as so often is the case at the end of a coaching session. This morning I can also feel a bit of hamstring stiffness (again from the hitting). It’s a good kind of pain, though. 🙂

The university women’s team I coached this year has entered into the South West Championships for this weekend. It’s a club competition for teams of all levels across the south west region of England. Last year I coached the tournament champions on the women’s side, Devon Ladies. This team isn’t as strong as that one (which was one of the best teams in NVL Division 1), particularly on the offensive side. It will be interesting to see how they end up doing, though. The field this year doesn’t feature either of last year’s finalists, nor does it include the two weakest teams from last time around, so I’m expecting it to generally be a more competitive event across the board. I think making the semifinals would be a pretty good result. Should be fun for the players regardless of the outcome, though.

Last night’s training was the first since the latter part of March. The players were off school all of April and are now in the middle of exams. Needless to say, things were rather ugly at the outset. Lots of rust in need of being shaken off. Feet weren’t moving as well. Concentration and reactions weren’t where they’d been. As you’d expect, though, things got better as the session progressed. After we ran through some skill drills, we got into game play. I was pretty happy with that, all things considered. Some balls dropped that wouldn’t have before, and the serve receive passing was off, but serving, hitting, and blocking were all quite good, as was the general level of defense. We’ll have another practice this week to hopefully tighten things up on the ball-control and focus side of things.

During the session I actually had to video myself in action as part of my Volleyball England Level 3 certification process. You may recall that I sat the course back in October last year. At that time I fulfilled the theoretical requirement for certification. I have to take three 2-hour general coaching workshops as a second part of the requirements. The third is an assessment of my coaching in a practice session by a senior coach.

Normally, that assessment is done in person, but it’s been a major struggle getting an assessor out to observe me, so instead I’m submitting a video. I had my assistant coach record me running the Second Chance game since it fulfilled the requirements and generally reflects pretty well the way I like to coach. I need to add to that video my specific assessment of two players, along with a 10-week program addressing their training needs. May post that plan later when I have it done.

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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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