Coaches Journal 5.22.23

Quote of the Week: “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality” ~Ayn Rand, author

Blog Post This Week: Spoiler Alert! This blog is not for coaches of a 12-under team. We get into the weeds by comparing two methods of organizing your offensive system within your offensive system. You can construct your offense, 4-2, 5-1, or 6-2, using a “fixed” or “floating” method for the attackers. Although this content is for advanced levels of play, take a look even if you are coaching a team of 12-year-olds, just out of curiosity. READ MORE

MasterCoach Video of the Week – The MasterCoaches interview Lloy Ball and Tim Falknor, the founders of the Volleyball League of America. Lloy and Tim to discuss their business plan for the league and its vision for the future. How it differs from the Pro Volleyball Federation and Athletes United. View the Interview

Upcoming Blog Content – I will review each position in the upcoming weeks and target critical aspects of hitting footwork and shot selection, blocking footwork and handwork, and defensive techniques. We will start next week with the middle hitter position.

Great Core Workout– All coaches know how important core strength is to skill development. Many coaches rely on “crunches” to develop the core. That’s a good start, but much of the demands of the core are the muscles that improve the rotational movements of the upper body. Here are some exercises that should prove valuable. READ MORE

Preparation Is Everything – I read an interesting article recently that focused on the importance of preparation. One quote jumped out to me.

“After a 2021 touchdown, Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp shared his read of the defense: “They had a little three-deep fire zone. Brought the nickel off the edge, and the safety dropped down. They didn’t look like they were doing a replacement fire zone.” That level of understanding required preparation, memorization, and practice.”

Kupp has put in the preparation time needed to recognize the defensive tactic, then combined this recognition with the skill required to take advantage of what he sees.

There are two levels of preparation. The first and most important is what is done daily in practice. You cannot manufacture great play on game day if you don’t rehearse great play daily. The second level of preparation is a more focused preparation for an imminent event. The video below demonstrates Jack Nicholson’s pre-event preparation for the memorable “Here’s Johnny” scene in the epic movie, The Shining. Unfortunately, too many teams rely on pre-event preparation by getting “fired up” for a match without putting in the daily grind needed to have a good shot at success.

Four Tactics to Cope With Discomfort – Getting to the top of any endeavor will involve periods of discomfort, getting out of one’s comfort zone, etc. Steve Magness is a performance expert who offers tips and science to assist your athletes in dealing with the discomfort of elite training.  

Antoine Lutz and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin found that when put through pain, while the threat detection area of the brain lights up in average Joes, it stays silent in meditators. Not because they are fighting the pain but because they’ve trained their brain to think, “No need to sound the alarm. We’re okay!”

By regularly exposing your athletes to various degrees of stress and then assisting the athlete in handling the stress, they become acclimated to the feeling and can embrace the discomfort in a positive manner. The article offers some good information for both athletes and coaches. I also recommend Magness’ book, “Do Hard Things.”

That’s all for this week! If you like the content, forward it to a colleague. They can sign up for the newsletter on the Jim Stone Consulting Homepage.

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Jim Stone Consulting