Here’s one of the big differences between US college volleyball and what you see internationally.

Assistants standing and coaching the players on the court.

Sometimes even assistants talking to the officials.

Honestly, that second one always surprises me when I see it, though you’d think I’d be used to it by now.

I know all of this bothers my international coaching friends. Under FIVB rules only the head coach may stand. And for sure only the head coach may address the officials. Since domestic leagues generally follow FIVB rules, the same applies at the professional and sub-pro levels.

I came up in the US college system, so standing coaches never really bothered me. In fact, I became one myself after initially sitting for the early part of my career.

The standing part still doesn’t really bother me. What’s starting to, though, is the frequency of coaches talking to players between plays.

Actually, what I find interesting is how often you see the head coach sitting (relatively) quietly on the bench while the assistants are bouncing around. It’s generally not the head coaches that do all this between play talking. It’s the assistants. At least at the upper levels where you have bigger staff anyway.

I strikes me as watching young coaches who haven’t figured out yet that they can’t control things on the court. And really shouldn’t try to.


Edit: Terry Pettit, who I interviewed for Volleyball Coaching Wizards, spoke on this subject in a podcast (about the 27-28 minute mark).

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly 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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