A while back Mark Lebedew presented a quote by the Duke of Wellington. He used it to make the case that no matter the situation we never fully remember all the events of a match. In fact, we aren’t even aware of all the events of a match (or any other event, for that matter). No one else does either. As a result, it’s important to gather information from as many different perspectives as possible. And they should come from objective sources like video and stats (keeping in mind that they too have their limits).

Think of this from the perspective of your role as coach. We volleyball coaches are largely external viewers of events. Yes, we are active participants in some ways, but our influence on actual play once the whistle blows is relatively limited. That means we are mainly in the role of supposed objective examiners who are there to provide feedback and guidance to the athletes. A big part of that is to provide our players with information from outside their scope of view and recall. We can do that by sharing what we see, showing them video, providing them with the relevant stats, etc.

An important part of this process is understanding each individual. They all have their own scope of vision, primary methods of information acquisition, and filters. For example, some players fixate on their errors. One of our coaching roles in that kind of situation is the make sure they also acknowledge their successes. You could say we help them with awareness of their blind spots and the important information they may not be either collecting or weighting properly.

We need think about things for ourselves along a similar line. Unfortunately, coaches often don’t have coaches of their own to help in the process.

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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.

    2 replies to "You help fill in perception gaps, but you also have them"

    • Rita Fernandes

      I have added something that has been a concern. The information transmission method must be assessed individually. Players have different ways to perceive and absorb the information.

      • John Forman

        This is very true Rita.

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