Traits of successful volleyball coaches

There’s a thread on the Volley Talk forum which gets into the subject of coaching traits – desirable and undesirable. One of the posters presented the following list of the traits possessed by the best coaches.

  1. Very competitive people, who teach and promote competitiveness at all times
  2. Very confident people; their players believe they are going to win
  3. Excellent teacher’s of the game; many have a system they believe in and certain type of athlete to fit that system; fundamentally very strong
  4. Push their players to be better than they themselves think they can be; very demanding
  5. Intensity, toughness, togetherness are a huge part of the “culture” of their team
  6. Expectations are always sky high in every part of the program; athletically, academically and off the court
  7. Care very deeply for the well-being and success of their players
  8. Teach life lessons; players often feel they’ve been a part of something special
  9. May be demanding; but always have their players’ back; trust
  10. Tough-love is always mixed with praise and pride in their players

Number 6 leans a bit toward those coaching for a school, but equally can apply to someone who runs a club team or is otherwise more than just a team coach. Also, there is a bit of a balancing action on the subject of confidence from #2. Similarly, I’d also add to #4 that you don’t want to restrain your team’s development. Beyond that, though, I think this is a very solid list. These are certainly things I try to make a big part of my own coaching.

What about yourself? Anything you would add to this list? Or in contrast, anything you would remove?

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John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John most recently coached for an NCAA Division II women's team. That followed a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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