This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2021-22 season for the Medaille College women.

One week to report day for the 2021 Medaille Women!

Actually, our two incoming freshmen from Canada have already arrived. All the international Fall athletes had to report on the 11th, so they’ve been here a couple of days. One of the other freshmen (from the Seattle area) is due in today, though she can’t get into her dorm room until the 20th, so I guess she’ll just be hanging out. Fortunately, she’ll have others to do that with!


Right now I have a roster of 13. I’m waiting to find out about one more with respect to her academic standing relating to her eligibility. The composition of the team is such that I will only have 1-2 players with any prior college playing experience (both played as freshmen in 2019, though the eligibility kid not for Medaille). Of the remainder, 8 are incoming freshmen.

Looking at things in a different way, 8 (9 if you include the eligibility one) of the players are what you’d describe as recruited athletes. They are known quantities that I’ve seen play – either live or via video – who clearly have reasonable skills and physicality for this level. Most of the other I’ve never seen play before.

Had we not had 4 would-be returners drop out, the situation would be different. These unknowns would have gone through tryouts. Given our low numbers, though, I decided to just bring them in straight away. I don’t know how many of them will stick it out once things get rolling. They all know the season schedule, but that’s not the same as understanding the expectations of college volleyball. I’m not going to intentionally try to run anyone off, but I’m also not going to lower the standards either. That wouldn’t be fair to the rest. I’ll give them every opportunity to develop and find a role for themselves in the team.


I have two paid assistants and a couple of student helpers for the season. Because we don’t have much of a budget for coaching stipends, I couldn’t find anyone who could be fully available. Hopefully, we have enough coverage cobbled together to make things work, though. One of the paid assistants won’t spend much time at all with the team. She’s a former Medaille player herself, but is due to have her first child in early October. She’s mainly going to help breaking down video, for which she’s learning DataVolley. The other paid assistant is very inexperienced (just a bit of boys’ club work), but that’s fine. It’s a good chance for him to learn and see the game from a new perspective.

There’s a more experienced coach that wanted to also help out, but he and his wife expect their second child in a couple of weeks. He will join us for the men’s season.


Last week the NCAA finally offered up their covid guidance for the upcoming season. Pleasantly, they are not recommending masking during training or competition. Masks are advised during team travel and in other indoor settings (e.g. team meetings), though.

For vaccinated folks, life is pretty easy. No testing unless you’re symptomatic or have close contact with someone infected. If you do have close contact: “Masking in public indoor settings for 14 days with discontinuation if a COVID-19 test is performed three to five days after exposure and is negative, or if assessment does not reveal high risk.”

If you’re not vaccinated – and this applies players, coaches, and anyone else with regular direct contact with the team – life is less fun. Testing is required 3 times per week. If you have close contact: “Quarantine in accordance with local public health authority guidance for close contact with another individual with confirmed positive COVID-19.”

Of course, if anyone tests positive “Isolation for 10 days and at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved.”

Upcoming Schedule

The players report on the 20th in the early afternoon. Everyone will get an initial covid test and go through all the usual compliance and admin stuff. We’ll do our initial team meeting in the evening. Training begins the next day, with preseason running through the 28th. Most days we’ll have morning and afternoon sessions. The exception is the 28th when we’ll only go in the morning because there will be orientation/convocation stuff happening that afternoon. School starts the 30th.

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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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