Coaches Journal 7.12.23

Quote for the Week: “Chance favors only the prepared mind” — Louis Pasteur

Xu Yunli (CHN) spikes against Araki and Kimura (JPN)

Blog Post This Week – When formulating your offense, it is important that there are attackers at both antennas. If you don’t have this threat, the blockers have the freedom to move along the net to focus on available attackers. Consequently, the chances for three blockers defending two attackers are increased. Your offense should be designed to spread the block to defend the entirety of the net, from antenna to antenna. One of the ways to accomplish this tactic is when in two-hitter rotations, developing the ability of your middle attacker to run an effective slide attack behind the setter. In this article, we look at the mechanics of the slide, along with the tactics to make this attack an essential component of your offense. READ MORE

End-of-Season Evaluations for Players and Teams – As soon as one club season is complete, club coaches hold tryouts for the following season. Without question, the club calendar, intertwined with the high school calendar, is a challenge for both the coach and the player. I encourage coaches to take the time to evaluate the past season before moving on to the next challenge. The evaluation should be for both the team and the individual players. If you thoroughly review the season, you may arrive at some conclusions that will impact your coaching next season, along with who you select for your team.

One of the tools I’ve found valuable is The 5 Why’s.” Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique in the 1930s. Car maker Toyota still implements the 5 Whys to search for the root cause of any problem. It is not unusual for the most visible problem to be the result of other problems. The coach must search for the root cause of the problem. One way to search for the root cause is to ask “why” five times.

For example,

Define the Problem – our passing numbers in serve-receive were not very good

  • Why? – We made too many reception errors.
  • Why? – The passers were late in moving to the ball.
  • Why? – Footwork was poor, and the passers were often off-balanced when passing.
  • Why? – The passers were not using the visual cues needed to anticipate the serve’s trajectory and speed.
  • Why? – Lack of emphasis on delineating and reinforcing the visual cues in training. ROOT CAUSE

Too often, coaches will assume that they were cursed with bad passers instead of searching for the root cause of the problem that might be addressed with a different training routine, increased education of players, more practice time allocated to address skill weaknesses, etc.

Articles of Interest

More Name, Image, and Likeness Madness – Last week, the Texas legislature passed legislation that allows in-state institutions to interact with NIL Collectives. The NCAA has rules which prohibit such contact. The state of Texas is basically telling the NCAA to “go pound sand.” A clause in the legislation seemingly undermined the NCAA’s reach, saying that “no athletic conference or group can prohibit Texas colleges from participating in sports or penalize them for engaging in activities the new law authorizes.”

“It’s basically become like a game of chicken,” said Winter (AD at North Texas State University). “The NCAA keeps putting out these reactive statements to things they hear people are going to do, and then people kind of continue on with their plans, and the NCAA puts out another memo. I think the big question is: Is the NCAA really ever going to try and penalize a school that is doing something contrary to NCAA rules, but is allowed under state law?” READ MORE

Getting Better is Easy; Just Change the Standards! – The graduation rate in the New York City public schools has improved. The graduation rate from the last academic year jumped 2.5% from the previous academic year. That is quite an improvement. How did it happen? It was easy; the requirements for graduation were changed. Students must typically earn a 65 to pass a Regents exam (required to graduate), but officials allowed students to challenge scores as low as 50 if they successfully completed the related course. In 2021, the state of Oregon removed Math and Reading proficiency scores for high school graduation. Just think, if you have a bad passing team, just change how you evaluate your passing, and you’ll become a good passing team overnight.  READ MORE

A Question For Which I Don’t Have an Answer – The collection and use of data is the frontier of the future. Technology is expanding to monitor all facets of the daily life of everyday Americans. The same is true with athletes. Data obtained by coaches, performance staff, or athletic departments can be used to impact the competitive future of an athlete. A clause of the contract between Nike and the University of Michigan allows “Nike to harvest personal data from Michigan athletes through the use of wearable technology such as heart-rate monitors, GPS trackers and other devices that log a myriad of biological activities. The range of devices could eventually collect data including “speed, distance, vertical leap height, maximum time aloft, shot attempts, ball possession, heart rate, running routes.”

As debates about athletes’ rights intensify in big-time college sports, the next frontier, independent experts say, could be privacy issues related to wearable tech. Should the athletes have the ability to restrict who sees their personal biometric or performance data, along with how this data is used? A college scholarship or a professional contract might be riding on the answer to this question. READ MORE

Self-Improvement Goal for the Summer – I highly recommend that coaches of all levels pick out one area of the game and work hard to educate themselves on how they might improve in this area in the upcoming season. You can venture a phone call to a coach with expertise in your area of interest or attend a clinic, read a book, observe a college coach in action, etc. There is a myriad of paths to self-improvement. Pick one with the goal of being a better coach next season.

In the spirit of self-improvement, check out my book. The reviews that I’ve received have been very positive. The feedback is much appreciated!!

I hope the summer is going well for everyone. The fall season will be upon us soon. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Jim Stone Consulting