Once upon a time, Mark Lebedew wrote Hidden Motivation – The Sequel. The title refers to a previous post on the subject of understanding why players make certain decisions. It’s the stuff at the beginning of this one which caught my attention, though.
In the post, Mark talks about how in training he has his team play 2-contact small-sided games. This is for a couple of reasons. One is to shorten the time between contacts. Another is to get them thinking about how to score (and prevent) points in a wide variety of situations. In fact, I watched Mark’s BR Volleys team play games that perhaps were not 1-touch by design, but ended up being that way. If you watched the team play when Mark coached them you saw those guys unafraid to attack from just about anywhere on the court.
I regularly use small-sided games and/or small-court games to increase player contacts. I really like the idea of reducing the number of contacts as well. Too often I see players forgo kill opportunities because they feel like they need to play 3-contact volleyball. Ever watch a player set a second ball passed in a perfect attacking position? Then there are times they send a first ball over that ends up being little more than a free ball! One issue at a time, though. 🙂
Granted, a great deal of time and effort is spent drilling the 3-touch mentality into young and developing players. At some point, though, we need to be training them to use their brains. They have to learn to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
It’s up to us coaches to not only encourage our players to problem solve, but also to ensure they feel comfortable making the errors which are an inevitable part of the learning process.