Mark Lebedew once shared a video clip on his Facebook page. It featured USA and UCLA men’s coach John Speraw talking about how errors are handled in coaching volleyball. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t look to be available anymore, so I can’t link to or share it.

Basically, John talked about the importance of addressing the subject of errors with players and the team in a way that avoids them being afraid of making mistakes. Instead, coaches should encourage risk taking as part of the development process. This is something I’ve written about before. It’s one of the first things I talk about with any team I take charge of when we have our initial meeting. Perhaps more importantly, I keep reinforcing that message.

Key in this whole process is consistency of messaging. If we preach risk taking in practice, but then tell players not to take risks in matches it defeats the whole purpose. This can happen both explicitly and implicitly. The former is when we outright tell players something like “Just get it in.” The latter is when we do something like sub a player out for making errors.

Having said all this, part of encouraging risk taking is also teaching players to make good decisions.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Assistant Volleyball Coach at Radford University, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His previous 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. Learn more on his bio page.

    3 replies to "The importance of how we as coaches talk about errors"

    • Jorge Rodriguez

      Hi, the link to the videoclip is not working, would you be able to share it?

      • John Forman

        Sorry Jorge. Looks like the video isn’t available anymore. I tried searching for it, but no luck.

        • Jorge Rodriguez

          Ok, thanks for the answer!

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