January 7, 2016

Volleyball Coaching Suggestions

Hi coach,

I am a long time player of the game both in high school, college, and beach, who has four daughters who all play.

This year is my first year coaching and I am trying to learn all I can.

I have a 15 u team of novice girls who are having a tough time communicating , calling the ball, etc.

Do you have any suggestions as to how to get them to call their ball and just communicate better overall?



Thanks for the help.

Coach Jorge

You are experiencing the same transition I went through - How to move from being a player to being a coach.  What I suffered from, early in my coaching career, was trying to translate what I had organically learned through years of playing volleyball at a very high level, into coaching my players.

The biggest thing I learned was consistently:
  • Determine how you want the skills performed.
  • Establish how the players need to communicate.
  • Establish your offensive and defensive systems.
  • Express what attitude your team will play with.
Once that you have communicated how your program will operate, then you must consistently enforce what you have established.  Players will be lazy, players will be stubborn and players will be disrespectful. Players will be a myriad of challenges, but the coach absolutely must be consistent in their program parameters.  If a player does not do what you want them to do (which you have previously communicated/illustrated to them), then there needs to be a consequence - Sit ups, push ups, sprints and in extreme situations, suspensions from practice/matches.  

Early in my collegiate career, I was watching a Penn State practice (I was the assistant at Iowa, and Russ knew me from college, so he let me watch the PSU pre-match serve and pass).  What struck me, was Penn State was #1 in the country and was going to beat us at Iowa with ease, and this was just the pre-match serve and pass, but the players were reprimanded by the staff if they did not do what they were expected to do.  I saw the assistants making the players do sit-ups and pushups for not diving after balls or communicating before playing the ball.

When I have had team/player issues, and when I have seen fractured teams/programs, it is the result of the coach not being consistent.  When coaches get lazy or tired, or they are distracted by off court issues, or they play favorites among the team, it is not a consistent facade which the team needs.

I was fortunate to play for Al Scates, long, long time head men's volleyball coach at UCLA.  And looking back, from a coach perspective, Al was always the same.  What I was supposed to do as a Freshman was the same thing I was supposed to do as a Senior.  How I was treated as a Freshman was how I was treated as a Senior.  I knew exactly what the parameters where, because my coach communicated these parameters and then consistently enforced these parameters.

To be consistent or reprimand players, a coach does not have to be a jerk or negative; I have seen many good coaches hold their team/players accountable without ever being negative or raising their voice.

To close - Communicate and be consistent in how your enforce what you communicated to you team.


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