Rethinking Timeouts

I loved the timeout format for international matches. You have thirty seconds for the players to get a drink, for the coach to make a quick comment, then the troops return to the competitive fray. In this country, the length of timeouts will vary, but certainly more than 30 seconds. In some televised matches, the…

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Availability Bias, Avoid The Trap

If coaches had their salary tied to the number of decisions made daily, everyone could retire early. Some decisions are easy (or easier), and others are painfully difficult. The sheer number of decisions is, at times, staggering to the point that we tend to make decisions quickly so we can press on to the next…

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Can Volleyball Coaches Learn from the NBA?

I don’t consider myself a fan of the NBA, but I enjoyed watching the recently completed playoffs. The NBA is moving in a different and more exciting direction with how the game is played. The offensive systems of basketball are evolving at the highest level and are already impacting the younger players and teams. For…

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Clayton Kershaw, Tunneling and Developing an Effective Serve Strategy

I am developing an affinity for baseball. Other than the normal Little League play growing up, I’ve never followed the game too closely. This newfound interest is the direct result of listening to the baseball announcers analyze the strategies, offer insights, and make predictions about the events on the field. Their expertise allows a novice…

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Five Coaching Assumptions That Might Not Be Accurate

I don’t believe any coach intentionally coaches with full knowledge that their methods might be inefficient or may not lead to quality learning and consistent improvement on the part of the athletes. Although their heart may be in the right place, it is not unusual for coaches to operate under false assumptions that will negatively…

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Mental Health and “Doing the Next Right Thing”

In recent years, the mental health of athletes has been in the limelight. Gymnast Simone Biles, tennis player Naomi Osaka, swimmer Michael Phelps and countless other athletes have exhibited tremendous leadership in expressing concern about this aspect of athlete development and performance. Athletes and coaches are on the front lines of dealing with stress and…

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Being Balanced More Important Than Being Stopped When Passing

I spent much of my early coaching days preaching to my athletes to be stopped when passing or defending. As with many of my earlier coaching cues, I’ve reshaped what I value in both serve-receive and defense. In recent years, the increased velocity of the serve and attack places a lot of pressure on the…

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Keep the Tips Off the Floor!

It is a challenge for players or teams to excel at all aspects of the game. In many cases, teams that win are good at one or two aspects of the game that might offset a skill or system weakness. Coaches determine how time is spent in practice and the areas of the game they…

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Visual Cues, If/Then, and Skill Development

If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” ~Albert Einstein When using an Excel spreadsheet, the concept of “if/then” is a condition-specific set of instructions that will initiate a response, simply put, “if condition A is met, then B is…

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Some Skills Are More Important Than Others!

In my earlier coaching days, I would spend hours on a box in practice, hitting balls at players to work on their defensive skills. In retrospect, I was spending time in the wrong area of the game. Investing time in defense is not without value. A good defensive team demands the desired qualities of heart,…

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