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

Considering we’re three weekends into the conference season, it’s kind of strange to see that some teams have only played two matches thus far. I think by the end of this week, though, everyone was due to be up to at least 4. That’s halfway, with basically two weeks left. Here’s how things sat to start the week.

Probably the most noteworthy result last week was Penn State-Behrend easily beating Pitt-Bradford. No other unexpected results.


After talking about our last match, and about the one coming up, we worked on a couple of things. Some of it related to serving (seams) and blocking (positioning). Most of the rest was working on some new elements for our attack. That was mainly adjusting some lines of approach.


We played Alfred State as the final match of our 3-match home stand. Statistically, they came into the match as one of the top teams in the league in both offense and serving. We were down to just 7 able bodies, as our main libero came away from last weekend with a hip issue. That definitely made the lineup simple!

This was a pretty fun match. Our energy and intensity were good, and we battled well. Despite definitely struggling with their service pressure, we were right there with them most of the match. Unfortunately, our serving let us down in a few places (e.g. missing 3 straight in the latter stage of Set 2), and we needed to make a couple more plays when it counted, so we ended up losing 20, 22, 17.


Since I would normally have given the team Monday off for the holiday, but couldn’t because of our Tuesday match, I gave them this day off instead.


We started the session with a look at our sideout and point scoring rates by rotation. In the case of the former, we looked at how we set up in a couple of specific rotations where we’re getting aced much too often. After some discussion, we came up with a couple of changes we can try in the weekend matches.


Found out before practice that our injured player won’t be returning for the remainder of the year. So we’re on 7 (hopefully) for the remaining matches. Makes the line-up decisions super easy! In the session we worked on a couple of our problem reception rotations, the positional change we’re going to play with in defense, and our offensive timing and connections.


We had a non-conference tri-match this day. The first match was against Nazareth, a member of the conference we’ll be joining next season. They are a team that would probably rank in the upper half of our current conference and are currently tied for second in theirs. We had a decent first set. Our attack was hit or miss, but we played good defense. Ultimately, they pulled ahead and won 25-20. Our attack improved from there, but so did theirs, and a common pattern developed. That’s one where we can’t keep up our good performances once a few mistakes creep in. They crack our confidence and cohesiveness. Results from there are predictable (25-16, 25-15).

The second team is the same one we played in our initial match of the season – RIT. The score line suggests we did better this time as we tallied 49 points vs. only 44 the first time. Our offense was much worse this time, as we hit negative. Defense was a lot better, though, as RIT hit about 120 points lower this time than in the first instance. I should note that RIT is – according to the various rankings – at this point the strongest team on our schedule.


Last week we had our first 2022 recruit commitment. This week we got our second. It’s a good start, especially relative to last year (first commit wasn’t until around New Years), but there’s plenty of work yet to be done.

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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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