People love statistics. And why wouldn’t not?

The issue is, as coaches, stats are intended to serve a purpose. A purpose, I should note, that’s different for coaches than for parents and other spectators. We want them to tell us one of two things. In the moment, we want them to give us information we can use to make decisions. That could be about personnel. Maybe it relates to tactics. Depends on your situation. The other thing we want stats to tell us is something we can use to assess our training so far and/or to give us our training focus moving forward (remember the two big jobs of a coach).

When we’re talking about young players, I am 100% in the camp of focusing on the latter. Use stats to assess the progress you’re making on your training priorities, and to determing priorities moving forward. Most likely, this means taking decidedly non-traditional stats.


Think about the sorts of things you’re working on with your kids. If you’re really working with younger ones it could be things like:

  • Pass serve high to the middle of the court
  • Get a swing on 3rd contact
  • Serving in
  • Being in the right defensive positions
  • Talking about seams before the opponent serves

You can probably come up with plenty more. Ultimately, you can think of it from the perspectives of big rocks, little rocks, etc. It’s then about tracking how well the team does in those areas. If they’re doing well, you can move on to new priorities. If not, probably need to do more work on them in training.

So ask yourself the questions “What are we working on?” and “How can I track our progress with that?”. Then you’ll have the kind of stats you can use for the younger kids.

This also works for things you may not be working on yet, but are thinking you may need to work on as well. Measure how well the kids are doing in that area, then you’ll have your answer.

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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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