A coach on Facebook posted the following issue.

Things look so nice and skillful when they are running drills…but when we scrimmage…it looks…it looks…well it looks bad and chaotic. Should it?? Or is that just me?

This reminds me of my interview with Tom Tait for Volleyball Coaching Wizards. In it he talked about his Penn State teams early in his career being the best drill teams, but not seeing that translate to matches.

Basically, what we’re talking about here is being really good in a highly structured situation, but then falling apart when things get much more random. If you spend a lot of time doing drills, naturally, players will get good at them. That’s not the same as getting good at volleyball.

This is why there’s a major movement in coaching to make things as game-like as possible. To prepare players to operate in the randomness of real games we need to put them in situations with randomness. Highly structured activities have their part to play, to be sure. You should use them fairly sparingly, though (see blocked vs. random vs game-like for a deeper dive).

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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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