Mark Lebedew from At Home on the Court once pointed out a blog post which offers 10 reasons why coaches fail.

  1. Compromising
  2. Lack of belief in themselves
  3. Copying others
  4. Relying too much on learning only from within
  5. Relying too much on emotion
  6. Using the same program over and over
  7. Failing to engage their athletes
  8. Lack of persistence
  9. Lack of vision
  10. Not spending enough time maximizing their strengths

Mark said he agrees with #2 through #9, but would need to have a conversation about #1. I definitely agree with him on #1. There needs to be more clarity on what exactly is meant by “compromise”. If the conversation is about compromising your values and the like, then fine. If it extends to others areas, you can run into some problems.

For #3 I would say there’s a difference between copying and modeling. Copying implies just doing exactly the same as someone else. Modeling is more about looking to incorporate elements of what another person does into what you do. Yes, you want to look to adapt successful methods you come across, but you have to do it in your own way within the context of your coaching situation. Very rarely do things work when simply ported over.

The Volleyball Coaching Wizards project very much speaks to #4. All the coaches we’ve interviewed thus far have talked about interacting with others as a major factor in their development.

The idea that what has always worked will continue to do so is the idea of #6. Things change all the time. Ask any coach who’s been around for any length of time. In my own volleyball coaching life I’ve seen a change from sideout to rally scoring, the introduction of the libero, a rise in the importance of back row attacking, jump float serves, and numerous changes in tactical applications – not to mention having coached different genders, age groups, levels, and cultures.

Another one worth talking about is #10. I wrote a bit on the subject of whether you should focus on improving on weaknesses or concentrate on your strengths.

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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.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.