Former Nebraska coach and author of A Fresh Season and Talent and the Secret Life of Teams, Terry Pettit, who I interviewed for the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project, came up with a list of reasons why teams can struggle late in a season. He calls it a November U-turn, reflecting his particular focus on the NCAA women’s Division I season. Replace November with “late-season” and it becomes broadly applicable, though.

The second one about setter/coach disconnect is one I find striking. I wonder if Terry’s thinking about that in one particular direction (setter->coach or coach->setter), or both ways.

Not surprisingly, a few of these points relate to goals, objectives, and other motivational factors losing their influence.

There might be the inclination to think that Terry’s first and last points contradict, but they don’t. Player development isn’t just about specific technical skills. It also encompasses situation training. At the same time, the type of long, repetitious drills he mentions might sounds like player development work, but they aren’t necessarily. Players just doing mindless reps isn’t player development.

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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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