Podcast Episode 30: The roles of a coach with Jan De Brandt

In his interview, Jan De Brandt shared what he thought of as the three roles of a coach. They are the dictator, the creator, and the observer. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about those different roles and how we take each of them on at different times while working with our teams.

During this show we also mention the podcast we did on Craig Marshall’s view of the most important skills of a coach. The topic of post-match team talks came up as well.

Jan De Brandt has coached professionally in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Azerbaijan, and Germany, as well has his native Belgium. He is currently the Women’s National Team Coach for Hungary, having also coached Belgium. Among his coaching accomplishments are winning the European Volleyball League, silver medal in the CEV Champions League, bronze in the CEV Cup, plus league and cup titles in Turkey. Jan started his career coaching men, but switched to women after a few year

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 29: Playing time and expectations with Vital Heynen

In this episode we take a look at playing time and the expectations related to them. Vital Heynen provides a starting point for the discussion. He shares his thoughts on keeping a squad – and management – happy. The conversation carries on from there.

Vital Heynen is the current head coach at German professional team VfB Friedrichshafen. He led the German Men’s National Team team to bronze at the 2014 World Championships. He has coached at the professional level for a number of years, having won a bunch of silverware during his time in his native Belgium. He has also coached clubs in Poland and Turkey. Vital also had a lengthy career as a player in his own right.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 28: Starting a new season with your team

What do you do at the start of a new season? Sometimes you have a lot of returning players and only a few new ones. In other cases you have a lot of turnover, if not a completely new squad. In this episode of the podcast we talk about the things that are important to do at the outset, particularly in the area of leadership. That’s in terms of both it’s identification and recognition.

In this episode we reference the interview with Tom Turco, that features in the Volleyball Coaching Wizards book. Friend of the show, Ruben Wolochin is mentioned. He was with us for both Episode 5 and Episode 6 of the podcast. While Sue Gozansky does not get a specific mention, we do talk about some of what we talked about in Episode 1 of the podcast.

We also talk about this interview excerpt from John Dunning with respect to team culture.

We also mention Kathy DeBoer’s book Gender and Competition. The movie Necessary Roughness is in the discussion as well.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 27: The first Volleyball Coaching Wizards book

The first ever Volleyball Coaching Wizards book was recently released. In this episode of the the podcast we talk about the book, and about the whole Wizards project that has brought about it’s development.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 26: Player-Coach relationships, with Athanasios Papageorgiou

The relationship between player and coach could be the most important aspect of being a successful coach. In this episode of the podcast we explore that idea. It starts off with two excerpts from highly respected German coach and coach educator Athanasios Papageorgiou. They bring up the idea of looking at coaching beyond what you do in practice and how you manage match situations.

Athanasios Papageorgiou is probably best known in his native Germany as a coaching educator as he was Head of Coach Education for the German Volleyball Federation from 1986 to 2014. He remains and FIVB Coach Instructor, which he’s been since 1993. Papa, as he’s known, coached professionally from 1986 to 1992, winning a German championship and a German Cup during that time. Since 1983 he has been head coach for the German National Disabled Volleyball Team (standing), and has also coached the beach version since 2006. He taught volleyball at the German Coaches Academy for many years and has authored five books.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 25: Important Skills for a Coach, with Craig Marshall

What are the most important skills for a coach? Craig Marshall shares his thoughts in this episode. We start our discussion there, and eventually circle back to end there. In between, though, we wander around through a few other subjects. Hopefully, you’ll find them interesting. :-)

Australian coach Craig Marshall is a fixture on the world beach volleyball circuit. He has coached teams on the highly competitive World Tour for nearly two decades, with eight podium finishes and a World Championships medal. He has also coached multiple medal wins on Continental tours, including a historic clean sweep of medals at the 2016 Asian Championships. He coached the Australian men in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics tournaments, and was on-hand in 2012 as well.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 24: 2016 Olympics Review

We’re back!

After a busy Summer full of volleyball, work, and book development, we’re back with a new episode of the podcast. The 2016 Olympics have just ended, so we decided to focus this show’s discussion on that tournament. By the way, we had one current Wizard coaching in Rio. Giovanni Guidetti lead his Netherlands team to a strong 4th place finish, which surprised many.

By the way, John’s discussion of making subs when losing big in a set can be found here.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Amazon has no respect for Volleyball!

Did you know Volleyball doesn’t have its own individual listing in the Sports category at Amazon?

Seriously! Check it out. When you do you’ll see that Volleyball is put under the Other Team Sports sub-category.


Come on! Mountaineering and Rodeos get their own category, but not volleyball?

Then, on top of that, quite often the top-selling books in the Volleyball category on Amazon aren’t even volleyball books! Have a look:


These sorts of thing are an indication that volleyball isn’t doing a good job on the business side of things, particularly in terms of marketing the sport and presenting it in a legitimate way. That needs to change.

This is part of what we seek to accomplish with Volleyball Coaching Wizards. We want the series of books we develop based on all the interviews we’re doing to help take our sport out of the shadows and provide for it a literature comparable to what you see in other sports. It will be a chance for volleyball coaches all over the world to read about, and be inspired and educated by, great coaches in our sport – just like basketball and baseball and football coaches can in their own sport.

Not that we in volleyball can learn from what coaches in other sports do. We certainly can. Just take a look at our Recommended Reading list as an example. We think, though, that coaches in other sports should also be looking to learn from what we’re doing.

So much of what comes out of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards interviews isn’t sport-specific. It’s about coaching philosophy and style. It’s about dealing with people. It’s about managing time and expectations. All coaches have these things in common.

Getting attention beyond our sport – and in some cases even within it – takes something special, though.

That’s exactly what we’re planning for the launch of the first Wizards book. Click here to find out more about the book and how you can stay updated on our release plans.

High school coaches can’t be among the world’s best?

Volleyball Coaching WizardsSorry if this seems like a rant. We need to respond to a comment that speaks to the very heart of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project, though. Someone who rated the first 8 cover design options under consideration left it anonymously.

For the cover shown at left they said:

“how does high school .. and world’s greatest coaches make sense – only in usa perhaps”

Firstly, the “High School Greats” bit is just a sample bit of text offered off the top of the head as a placeholder. You can see the “developing the team concept” alternative used in some of the designs. Actual book topics are not decided yet.

Second, and more importantly, why can’t high school coaches be among the world’s best?

Is it because most of the world doesn’t have high school volleyball? Or is it because high school coaches are youth coaches, and youth coaches can’t be considered great?

The whole point of Volleyball Coaching Wizards is to bring to light coaches who excel, regardless of level. This doesn’t just mean those at the very highest level.

We cannot make the assumption that just because a coach spends their career at the high school or youth level they couldn’t be just as successful if they coached college, professional, or international level players. Similarly, we can’t assume high level coaches are just as effective coaching younger, less experienced players.

Certainly, there are Wizard coaches who started their careers in the youth or high school ranks and moved up to higher levels. There are also, however, many coaches out there who either through choice or circumstance found themselves in a niche where they thrived and achieved well above average success.

There are WAY more coaches at the lower levels of the game than there are at the top level. Some will work their way up the ladder. Most won’t. Everyone along the spectrum deserves to not only get to understand what those coaching at higher levels than theirs think and do, but also the actions and thoughts of those with great success at their own level.

That is a major point of Volleyball Coaching Wizards.

P.S.: This same person also made the comment “who knows or cares about the authors names – you are not Grisham – yet … keep it small” for one of the other designs. Seems like someone perhaps got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. :-)

Podcast Episode 23: The qualities of a good assistant coach with John Corbelli

What are the qualities and characteristics of a good assistant coach? In this episode of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards Podcast we get the views from long-time NCAA Division I assistant John Corbelli and share our own perspectives from both sides.

John Corbelli is one of the most respected trainers of volleyball players around. This is perhaps no surprise given that he assistant for the USA Women’s National Team under legendary coach Arie Sellinger during the 1984 Olympics. John is probably best known for being the lead assistant to his wife Laurie at Texas A&M where the two have spent more than 20 years together. During that time they’ve won nearly 500 matches, made almost 20 trips to the NCAA tournament (including 2 Final Fours), and have had players earn 30 All-American selections.

Fellow Wizards Vital Heynen, Bill Neville, and Jim Stone were mentioned in this episode. Vital was featured in Episode 2 and Bill was part of Episode 16.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!