The volleyball world has lost one of it’s leading lights.
Carl McGown is without doubt one of the most influential individuals the sport has ever known. In terms of his philosophy of coaching, there are those who agree and those who don’t. No one, though, can deny his impact on coaching.
Carl was a leading force in introducing and spreading the idea of specificity of training in volleyball. Those efforts have been instrumental in shifting the training in many gyms from primarily block in focus to the adaptation of more game-like activities. The concept of “the game teaches the game” so often mentioned these day comes straight out of Carl’s teachings.
We could write a whole article on Carl’s history in the game and all the different coaches he influenced along the way. There are plenty of others much better positioned to do so, however. He left a mark on a great many. We leave it to them to share their memories.
What we can do, though, is share Carl’s own thoughts and sense of history. He was one of our early interviews, and his is the first in the initial Volleyball Coaching Wizards book. We posted a trio of excerpts from the interview audio on YouTube as well.
In memorial to Carl’s life and impact, though, we want to share the full text of his interview. Get your PDF version of it here. The document runs 24 pages in total.
Enjoy, and feel free to share it with your coaching friends and colleagues.
Last week, in conjunction with the NCAA Division I semifinals and final, was the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) annual Convention. It was an important event for the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project on multiple levels.
First, several Wizards attended the event. Tom Turco and Ruth Nelson – both featured in the first Wizard book – were convention attendees. Mick Haley and Tod Mattox were also there. Among the folks presenting sessions were Wizards Terry Pettit, John Corbelli, Bill Neville, and Sue Gozansky.
Giovanni Guidetti, whose interview is also in the first Wizard book, was a prominent presenter. He was part of the pre-convention program, which focused on takeaways from the 2016 Olympics. Unfortunately, his travel schedule forced his contribution to be done two days after the others. That was Friday. Giovanni gave a 15-minute talk about why he coaches to start the day. He then did his pre-convention session.
Things got a little crazy after that!
Flight schedules for his return trip to his club team in Turkey were fluid. Giovanni was scheduled to start back Friday afternoon, but the first leg of the trip got moved up for some reason. That saw the AVCA organizers say they needed to get him to the airport, This meant he could not do his last schedule session – and on-court one about blocking and defense training. Giovanni nixed that plan, though. He told them he would push his return trip back to Saturday. He wanted to get that last session in. That’s exactly what happened.
This, of course, caused confusion. The organizers had sent out a message to attendees already saying the session was cancelled. Despite that, it ended up being standing room only around the court as he presented.
It should be noted that his trip to the Convention forced Giovanni to miss coaching his Vakifbank team in the CEV Champions League. That was not the original plan, but apparently the match was moved for TV.
The Convention was also the first time Volleyball Coaching Wizards was presented. John did a Friday session titled “Lessons Learned from Volleyball’s Wizard Coaches”. Mark was not available as he had a full coaching schedule, including a Polish league match that same evening.
The main focus of the session was to share some of the areas of overlap among the Wizard interviews, as well as some places where they disagree. As you can see, it was a pretty good audience. As usual, folks avoided the first few rows. :-)
The AVCA volunteer running the room gave John an estimate of 233 attendees. That is not too bad considering the All-American awards luncheon happened at the same time. And no one left until the Q&A section started. Even then, it was only a couple of people. They must have thought it was pretty good stuff!
At the start of the session John asked how many people knew about Volleyball Coaching Wizards and/or had read the book. Only a handful of hands went up. That was surprising from the perspective of thinking that people who knew about the project would seem to have been more likely to attend. It was great, though, that we could expose a whole big bunch of folks to what we’re doing.
Book Wizards Tom Turco and Ruth Nelson were in the crowd. So too was Tod Mattox. Tod actually helped answer one of the questions asked.
In one of the more interesting developments, the AVCA volunteer told John after the session that he was making the book required reading for the management class he taught. He thought the thinking of the Wizards about leading people and organizations would be very useful. Cool! We hadn’t really thought about things that way.
The AVCA said the recording of the session will be available on its website about 3-4 weeks after the event.