There are lots of ways we can score the games we run in practice. Bonus points are a clear example of this. Often times, though, this scoring is based on outcomes. By that I mean something like giving a bonus point on a stuff block, or giving points based on the quality of a pass.
But what if your focus is on development? Is scoring based on outcomes the best options?
Consider the example of trying to get hitters to be more aggressive. A major thing holding players back from swinging aggressively is fear of making an error, right? That means to encourage aggression you need to make errors inconsequential. So how do you do that? Well, you have to take away negative consequences for those errors.
So how would you score a game where aggressive attacking is the developmental focus? Simple. Only give points for aggressive swings – regardless of the outcome.
You can do the same thing for any skill.
Want more aggressive serves? Want to see a certain thing in serve receive? Looking for your setter to make a certain type of set? Need your defenders stopped and ready on contact? Not seeing good hitter coverage? Give the team points when they do it right, but don’t give the other team a point if doing it right leads to an error.
There’s a big potential upside to scoring this way. It can tend to get players encouraging each other to do things the way you want because everyone benefits. That’s a pretty good side benefit, right?
This approach is also something you can do to balance out A-side vs. B-side scrimmaging (a specific topic of the second Volleyball Coaching Wizards book). If you give the starters one way to score based on their developmental needs and the non-starters one based on theirs, you can create a more competitive structure.
Think about process scoring as a way to keep a developmental focus when you shift to game play, while also letting you keep things competitive. But make sure you don’t forget to keep up the feedback.
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