Back at the start of the year I mentioned my intention to write a volleyball coaching book. As I suggested at the time, I want to develop something of practical value, but not yet another drill book. My intention is to focus on getting the most out of training sessions when you have limited resources – help, equipment, space, time, etc. These last couple of years coaching in England have pushed me to find ways to do just that, and I want to share what I’ve learned as a kind of best practices discussion.

That said, my experience and perspective is just one coach’s. For the book to truly be a good resource it would be valuable to have additional input. So to that end I have two questions for you.

1) What sorts of limited resource problems have you faced, or are you currently facing in your coaching?

2) How have you dealt with limited resources in your own coaching?

It would be great if you could leave your response to one or both of these questions in the comment section below. Not only will it help me in developing the book, it could also help your fellow coaches more immediately.

I look forward to learning about the challenges you’ve faced on the ways they’ve been overcome.

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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.

    3 replies to "Volleyball coaching book in the works"

    • John Forman

      I’ve definitely faced the same problem Oliver – both when I coached Juniors in the States and while coaching in England. In certain cases it was a function of intentionally selecting a small roster to be able to keep playing time up for everyone. At other times, though, it was all down to lack of attendance. Tough situation. Like you, I’ve done plenty of small-sided games and declared certain areas of the court (like 6) as out of bounds.

    • Oliver Wagner

      I think most coaches were facing limited space and/or time in their career. I would like to point towards a problem in club volleyball I have to solve since coming over to northern Germany: limited numbers of players. We will be through this within the next three or four years if the developing program works, but until then there will be not more then eight or nine players in the men’s team, during practice mostly around six.

      From the coaching perspective it’s nice to have enough time for games 2 vs. 2 or 3 vs. 3. But if this is the only way you can practice, the game 6 vs. 6 can not be developed by playing 6 on 6. What I am using a lot is skeletons. We play 3 on 3 on the hole court with limited zones they are allowed to attack. I still make sure that the attacker for example always has as many options as possible. Like attacking this zone, using the block, tipping the ball to a particular zone… There has to be at least one blocker. The setter has to have two attackers available all the time etc.

      It’s not a compensation for the real game, but it comes as close as possible. At least from what I could think up.

    • Jeff Zimmerman


      This may have been mentioned in previous quotes. My post involves what to do if you have limited time on the court. While coaching middle school teams (ages 11-13) there were limited facilities that are shared by many different groups in the school. For example, sometimes we would lose practice time because the band, or choir, would have a concert and needed our practice time to set up their equipment. Sometimes we would lose half of our practice time because the junior varsity team would have a match during our practice time. I adapted something I learned from a clinic. If a gym was not available the ball room had a volleyball court taped out on the floor. If my time was cut short I would use the cafeteria with a volleyball court laid out with paper tape. We would use this to work on movement drills, transitions from defense to offense to coverage to defense. We would also use this time to practice footwork patterns that are needed in a match. We would practice approaches, blocking, and setters would work on their footwork patterns. Also I had a hall way with no windows and very high ceilings so we were able to have some pair ball handling drills or use the wall. Finally, we would sometimes use this time to work on visualization, self-talk, goal setting, and team building sessions that are important but activities that you do not want to work on when you have court time.

      Jeff Zimmerman

Please share your own ideas and opinions.