This is an entry in my Technical Director’s log for the 2018-19 season.

Award

I forgot to mention in the last log entry that the club actually got an award during Regional Championships weekend. Charleston Academy received the Small Club of the Year award from the Palmetto Region. I don’t know the basis for the selection, but we’ll take it. 🙂

Rankings

The final Palmetto Region regular season rankings came out after regional championships. Not surprisingly, given our finish, we dropped a spot to 9th. Apparently, they will continue to run the rankings through the rest of the season.

At the time of this writing, our national ranking in AES is 1180.

Break

We had two 3-day tournament weekends in a row in the second half of March. The last week of the month was also Spring Break for much of the team, so we decided to just take the whole week off from training. I think it was probably a good decision for both players and coaches. It gave everyone a chance to recharge and refresh.

The break also gave the player who had to have minor surgery a chance to recover. She was cleared for full participation entering last week’s training.

Training

The time away seemed to pay off as it was a good week of practice. We as a staff talked about really turning the focus to skill development now that we were – crazily – past the most meaningful tournament of the year (Regional Championships). The players provided feedback that they wanted more skill work too, so everyone was nicely on the same page.

What that means is we did a lot of serve and pass to work on passing mechanics – mainly footwork and platform. Hitting and defense also got some focused work, both singularly and collectively. Same with general ball control and decision-making.

Two of the bigger feature exercises were cooperative team ones, like The Hard Drill, and what we call Side-v-Side. We also used a competitive version of the latter. We were terrible at this sort of stuff in the first part of the year. Very little control and really poor decision-making. We also got creative to run a defensive drill one day to work on digging with control.

Tournament

The team played in a 16s tournament over the weekend. For it we added a 16s libero who’s been training with us all season, but who hasn’t had any opportunity to play up to now. Obviously, that meant questions of playing time, especially with respect to our starting libero.

This tournament didn’t count for anything, though, so it was an opportunity to just work on development. I advised the head coach to plot out his line-ups match-by-match, or even set-by-set, to rotate playing time and to mix up positions for players who could play multiple ones.

I did not attend the tournament, so I can’t share my specific observations and takeaways. When the dust settled at the end, we ended up in tied for 6th. I was told we could have finished a bit higher with a better performance, but overall it seemed pretty representative of where the team was at in the field. From what I could glean of the results and the AES rankings of the teams involved relative to our own, that seems pretty fair.

I was told inconsistency was the team’s major problem. And that was across all facets of play.

Looking forward

Next up for the team is the Windy City National Qualifier in Chicago. We’ll again play in the Open division. Something we definitely need to work on in the lead-up to that tournament is blocking. We were clearly exposed in that area in our last qualifier, though we generally do fine otherwise. Transition hitting and better serving were also points of emphasis coming from the coaching staff.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Volleyball Technical Director for Charleston Academy. His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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