The Value of a Serious, Thoughtful Coaching Philosophy

Looking back, I did not realize how unprepared I was for what lay ahead. Despite this relative unpreparedness, I found myself at the University of Wyoming, coaching players who were only a few years younger than me. I’m thankful I was not asked to articulate my coaching philosophy during the job interview. As I began my career, possessing a well-constructed coaching philosophy wasn’t on my radar.

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Controlling the Uncontrollable

Usually, when discussing the factors that might impact winning, the focus becomes a selected metric of importance, such as the number of kills per set or errors per set. These statistical items are undoubtedly significant and do impact winning. However, neither coaches nor players are in total control of on-court success. Here are a few…

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Don’t Assume Playing = Learning

Coaches are, by default, teachers. Their players are, by default, learners. How to best transmit the information the coach may possess and impact learning by the student is a constant subject of debate, as it should be. Teachers and coaches should constantly test and experiment with new and better methods of instruction.

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Core Values and Leadership Are Equally Essential

A true test of one’s philosophy and leadership skills comes when the fire is hot. It’s easy to be a leader during smooth sailing times. However, in times of stress, one needs to implement actions reflective of sound core values. Coaches, by default, are placed in a position where their core values and leadership are tested daily.

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“Not Everything That Can Be Counted, Counts”

Observing your team in action can be a powerful way to evaluate progress. It is important to incorporate statistics into the process. Critical thinking is needed to use all the observational and statistical information appropriately.

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Statistics-One Size Does Not Fit All

I am an information fanatic on many fronts. I especially relish diving into a statistical match analysis, picking up on player or team tendencies, determining strengths and weaknesses, developing game plans, etc. Many software programs provide detailed analysis of a team’s performance. As much as I enjoy detailed information, the most valuable statistic(s) is the…

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Passing Techniques and Systems- One Size Does Not Fit All

Coaches must guard against automatically mirroring other teams’ or coaches’ techniques and tactics. Many factors should influence how the skills are taught and the systems implemented. The game is different at the collegiate or national team levels compared to a 14-under club team. The men’s game at the international level is a beast unto itself—the…

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Nine Pillars of Designing a Team Defense

Last week I detailed the nine items I value when constructing an offensive system. This week, I will focus on the considerations when constructing my defense. There is more to the defensive game than what is listed. These items provide a foundation and roadmap for developing a better defensive team. When looking at the game…

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