Quote of the Week: “Belief in yourself is overrated. Generate evidence” ~ Ryan Holiday, author
Blog Post This Week: Coaches of all sports rush to specialize their athletes by sport and position. In this post, I propose a new paradigm for the young athlete that makes a case for developing a broad skill set by participating in multiple sports and making a concerted effort to allow volleyball athletes to develop a well-rounded skill set. READ MORE
New Instructional Video on the Homepage – I placed a video for both your setters and middle hitters on the keys for running an effective “1” and “31” set. WATCH VIDEO
High School Coaches- Practice Priority! With the high school season beginning soon, I want to make a passionate recommendation for all the coaches, regardless of level. Coaches spend the majority of their time focusing on skill and team development. Rightly so! Physical training probably won’t be the most important reason that high school teams win matches. However, I would emphasize one component of physical training that impacts skill development. That one component is developing strength in the core, specifically core rotational strength. A strong core is a great stabilizer allowing the athlete to execute skills with balance and strength. I would spend time on core strength in general, but I would focus on the rotational aspects of core strength. Serving, attacking, and blocking all incorporate core rotation. You can get lots of core development exercises with a simple YouTube search. It is worth devoting five minutes of daily practice time to this strength training component. In my last newsletter, we detailed how implementing functional fitness exercises into a warmup can reduce the rate of ACL injuries. If a coach can address these items in advance of the time your practice time actually starts, you can save valuable on-court time while addressing important components of keeping athletes healthy and prepared for skill development.
NCAA Conference Alignment – What a week! The PAC-12 is officially decimated. There are now three conferences; some might say two, that will gobble up television revenues. The others will fight for scraps. I want to corner a university president and ask them if the problems they are solving with conference changes will offset the problems they will be creating. Here is my prediction. Within five years, athletic scholarships in their current format will not exist. At least in revenue-producing programs, the athletes will be salaried and taxed. For those schools outside the power conferences, the athletic scholarships will be a need-based program the government or the school administers. The current model is broken and unsustainable. I’m sad to make these predictions. It all started with former UCLA basketball player, Ed O’Bannon, wanting to be reimbursed for companies that were using his image on their product. A reasonable request. But, at this point, college athletics is like Thelma and Louise driving off a cliff.
Steph Curry Credits His Success to Playing at the Mid-Major Level – Most athletes want to play at the most prestigious collegiate level possible. However, NBA star and future Hall of Famer player Steph Curry credits much of his success to playing at a mid-major program (Davidson College). In a recent interview, Curry believes he worked in a system and was given repetitions that may not have been available if he had attended a Power Five conference school. The same concept can undoubtedly apply to volleyball athletes. Perhaps instead of being a three-rotation player at a Power Five program, one can be a six-rotation player at a mid-major and develop abilities that will serve them well in a potential post-graduate career.
Is There One Stat That High School Coaches Should Keep? – Stats can serve a variety of purposes. The statistics that might be relevant to a middle school team are, or should be, different from what is relevant to collegiate programs. I wrote an article recently that focused on Goodhart’s Law and some things to remember when working with statistics and your team.
As the high school season is underway, I would focus on one aspect of the game that a coach can easily track. The one statistic essential to winning against good teams is how many points per set your team is scoring. I’m not talking about the points your opponent gives you, but how many kills, aces, and blocks are you scoring? Good teams will only make around seven errors per set. If your opponent falls into this category, your team must score around eighteen points per set. The best blocking collegiate team in the country only blocks 2-3 points per set. So, I recommend you budget significant practice time on sideout offense, attacking proficiency, and serving. Those are the two remaining point-scoring areas. I’ll detail more in an upcoming blog.
Articles of Interest
In a recent journal, I discussed the concerning trend of universities and athletic departments entering into business deals with online gambling companies. It occurred to me that these institutions knowingly put their athletes in a potentially harmful situation. An online gambling company that offers a toll-free number to address issues arising from using their product should be approached cautiously. Silly me! The NCAA is anxious to become a partner with these gambling companies. READ MORE
I wish middle and high school coaches starting fall practices the best!! Let me know if I can be of assistance.
Feel free to forward this journal to your coaching colleagues. They can sign up to receive future journals on my homepage. If you’re interested in my book, click on the cover picture for ordering information.