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!

Volleyball Coaching Wizard Tod Mattox

Coaching with a Subversive Streak

Tod Mattox likes to do things a little differently than other coaches. It seems to be working! He’s one of the most respected high school coaches not just in his local San Diego area volleyball community, but throughout California and beyond.

His resume includes:

  • Over 600 wins in 30 years of high school coaching, including 7 San Diego County Championships
  • USA Volleyball Leadership Award in 2008
  • 2016 Head Coaches Award from the San Diego Hall of Champions
  • AVP beach coach
  • Long-time coaching clinician

Here’s some of what Tod discusses in his interview:

– Challenging assumptions

– Managing team parents

– Coaching evaluations and looking to improve as a coach over the season

– Working with players on college recruiting

Play this excerpt for a taste of the sort of insights and ideas you’ll get from the full interview:

Get access to Tod’s interview now for just a $14 contribution to the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project.

Note: PayPal is used to process the payment, but a PayPal account is not required.


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!

Volleyball Coaching Wizard Craig Marshall

An Aussie on the World Stage

There are others we’ve interviewed who have done some beach coaching. Australian Craig Marshall, though, is the first of our interviewees who does it full-time. Beach volleyball coaching has taken him around the world and to multiple Olympic Games.

His resume includes:

  • Nearly 20 years coaching on the pro beach volleyball World Tour
  • 8 podium finishes and a World Championships medal
  • Multiple medal wins on Continental tours, including a historic clean sweep of medals at the 2016 Asian Championships
  • Coached the Australian men in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics tournaments

Here’s some of what Craig discusses in his interview:

– Staying in one position for so long

– The pressure of coaching where there is a lot of fan support

– Dealing with problem personalities in the team

– Remembering that coaching is about the players, not about the coach

Play this excerpt for a taste of the sort of insights and ideas you’ll get from the full interview:

Get access to Craig’s interview now for just a $14 contribution to the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project.

Note: PayPal is used to process the payment, but a PayPal account is not required.


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. :-)

John Dunning on defining team culture

At the Art of Coaching Volleyball clinic in Fort Worth, TX (held at TCU), John got a chance to sit down with John Dunning, Terry Liskevych, and Russ Rose for a set of interviews. They were not full Wizards style interviews – which generally go 1:30-2:00 hours in length – but they addressed some similar themes. We’ll be releasing clips from those interviews on our YouTube channel over time – five of them this week.

Here’s the first, featuring John Dunning talking about developing and enforcing team culture.

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!