Part of my duties as Assistant Coach at Midwestern State University is teaching volleyball via an activity class offered through the Exercise Physiology department. I should note the head coach also teaches an Ex-Phys class each semester. You see this type of set up in the lower NCAA divisions. It’s how some athletic departments fund full-time coaching positions.

I teach two 1 hour and 20 minute sessions per week. The schedule is set to avoid conflicts with practice and/or team travel.

First day teaching volleyball

Today I started my first class. Whether I was going to do so was an open question for a while. I only have eight registered students. Technically, that’s below the normal cut-off. Apparently, however, the Provost decided to run the low-enrollment activity courses regardless.

Get this. I have a Grad Assistant!

Definitely didn’t expect that. She’s got some volleyball experience, so she can mix in with the students as needed.

I have seven females students and one (short) male student. The latter has apparently played some beach volleyball, but clearly hasn’t had much in the way of training. The women, though, all indicated at least high school experience.

After taking care of the admin stuff (syllabus, expectations, etc.) I spent the rest of the class just going through skill activities to see where they’re at. Not surprisingly, ball-control is an issue. At least they mostly have the right mechanical sense, though.

Moving forward

Now that I have a sense for their current level, I can better think about how to progress the on-court side of things.I told them that at times I would set up the video we use in team practice so they could see themselves in action.

I also need to work on off-court volleyball knowledge – history, current events, etc.

At some point I’m going to have to develop a plan for the midterm, which isn’t going to be a written test. It’ll be more game oriented – including knowledge games.

Future log entries

I’m not sure how frequently I’ll update this teaching log. I was originally expecting to be working with real beginners, which would have made for an interesting change from my normal coaching. That won’t really be the case here, except perhaps for the one male student. Still, I can see the value in reporting on the types of games and drills I use. Maybe I’ll do weekly updates as with my coaching log. We shall see.

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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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