A while back I retweeted the following quote I came across:

Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear. – John Madden

You won’t come across a more true statement about coaching – in volleyball or any other sport. Sometimes, though, you just have to turn off that coach vision and let things go.

One night when I coached at Exeter was a perfect example for me. It was the last training session for the term for the university volleyball teams. It was traditional that we had a joint male/female session. These were meant to be a time for the players to have fun in a relaxed environment. Inevitably, that also means the general quality of play tended to take a dip. Balls drop. Players do silly things. I’m sure you know how it goes.

Did I see all that stuff that night? Yup. Did I let it bother me? Nope.

Yes, I could have gotten frustrated, but what would be the point? I’ve spoken before about identifying coaching priorities. The priority for that night was for the players to have fun and send off the exchange students in the group. All I had to do was keep that in mind and I was able to stay calm and have some fun of my own as I watched the players enjoy themselves quite a bit.

This may be a bit of an extreme case, in that it’s pretty easy to turn off the teaching instinct for a couple hours. The broader point, though, is that sometimes you have to ignore certain things because the priority of the session is something else.

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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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