A review of the Wizards book from Down Under

An Australian reader of the first Volleyball Coaching Wizards book sent us an email to share his thoughts.

I’ve read both of Jack Schwager’s books, and so immediately related to the concept.

I’m only two chapters into it, but I absolutely love it so far, particularly the chapter with Giovanni Guidetti. I especially like the section about Jamie Morrison (former assistant coach to Karch Kiraly), where Giovanni deliberately runs a drill he knows he will disagree with to start a healthy debate. I work in the completely opposite environment in my day job, I would love to have a boss like that.

As a young graduate engineer, one of my first managers told me that I was very “black and white” and that the world is in fact many shades of grey. The older I’ve gotten, the more I relate to this statement, and that’s why Giovanni’s acceptance of this concept resonated with me so much.

I also personally appreciated the point you made about using punishments in training, and how it stifles creativity and focuses the player only on avoiding errors. I was torn over the concept of punishments at the start of last season, however my wife, who is a neuropsychologist, was dead against them, with the psychological research heavily supporting reward rather than punishment. I adopted a philosophy of patience and rewarding positive behaviours and thoroughly enjoyed the performance and culture that arose from it.

I look forward to the insights that I will find in the remaining chapters. I commend you for getting this book out there. I’ve written a short kindle book, and I appreciate that it’s a passion more so than a means to make a living.

The Jack Schwager books he mentioned are Market Wizards and The New Market Wizards. They were a big part of the inspiration for the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project. Glad to hear the volleyball version does indeed follow along with the Schwager version’s concept.

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 $4.99 contribution to the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project.

Additionally, Craig’s interview is featured in the first Volleyball Coaching Wizards book.

Volleyball Coaching Wizard Mark Lebedew

From the Professional Coaching Trenches

Australian Mark Lebedew currently coaches in Poland after a successful five years in Germany leading the Berlin Recycling Volleys club to new heights. He is also the author of the At Home on the Court blog.

His resume includes:

  • Coaching Australia in World Championships, Olympic Qualifications, Volleyball Nations League, and Asian Championships
  • Winning the German championship 3 times in a row
  • A CEV Champions League bronze medal
  • Experience coaching in Italy, Poland, Germany, and Belgium
  • Teaching around the world as an FIVB Coaching instructor

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

– His philosophy on training
– How he prepares a team for a match
– The life of a professional volleyball coach
– How he uses video and statistics
– His philosophy on goal setting
– Advice for developing coaches

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

Mark’s interview is included in the The Volleyball Nations League 2019 Bundle with Giovanni Guidetti, Vital Heynen, and Glenn Hoag.

Volleyball Coaching Wizard Stelio DeRocco

Pro and National Team Player to Pro and National Team Coach

Similar to Vital Heynen, Canadian Stelio DeRocco became a coach following a career playing volleyball professionally in Italy and for Canada (fellow Wizard Jefferson Williams was a Junior National teammate). He has gone on to have a career at both the club and international coaching levels and has as a coach mentor.

His resume includes:

  • Coached the Australian National Team during the 2000 Olympic cycle.
  • Coached the Canadian National Team from 2001 to 2006, which includes coaching in the 2003 World Cup
  • Won 2 Euro Cups with Montichiari (Italy)
  • Won 2 leagues and 3 cups with Constanta (Romania)
  • Won 4 cup titles coaching in Dubai

Here’s some of what Stelio share discusses in his interview:

– Transitioning from player to coach
– The importance of being consistent as a coach
– Developing a team philosophy and approach
– Training focus over the course of a season

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

Get access to Stelio’s interview now for just a $4.99 contribution to the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project.

You can also get Stelio’s interview as part of The Champions League Coaches Bundle 2018-19 with Giovanni Guidetti, Vital Heynen, and Glenn Hoag.

The initial group of confirmed interviewees

We are starting to lock in our Volleyball Coaching Wizards nominees for interviews. Requests have begun to go out, with positive responses already coming back from some of those we’ve contacted so far. Here’s the beginnings of the list.

Iradge Ahrabi-Fard
A member of the original AVCA Hall of Fame induction class in 2003, Iradge coached for 19 years at the University of Northern Iowa. During that time he compiled a record of 503-142 (.780) and recorded at least 20 victories in 17 of 19 years. After guiding the Panthers to a 31-1 record in 1999, and eventually reaching the NCAA Division I Tournament Sweet 16, he was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year and received the inaugural AVCA Excellence in Education Award. In 1997, he took a leave of absence to serve as a consultant for USA Volleyball and the development of its teams.

Mark Lebedew (Australia)
Yes, he’s one of the principles on the project. He has also, however, been nominated for inclusion by multiple coaches outside the project. One notably said, “…there are 3 coaches I’ve never met who I feel I’ve learned more from than any coach I HAVE met. Mark is one of them.” Mark’s coaching bio is listed here.

Jenny McDowell (USA)
As head coach at Emory University (NCAA Division III) since 1996, Jenny has amassed over 600 wins and her players have earned over 40 All-American selections, including two National Player of the Year awards. Her teams have reached the NCAA tournament 18 years in a row, making the round of 16 on 15 occasions, with four trips to the Final Four resulting in a national championship and a runner-up.

Tom Turco (USA)
As head coach of Barnstable High School for 27 seasons, Tom has won 16 Massachusetts Division 1 state titles. From 2003 to 2007 his teams won a record 110 consecutive matches. Since 1995, Barnstable has had 10 undefeated seasons and amassed a 455-18 overall record. Tom’s players have included 4 Prepvolleyball.com All Americans, 1 AVCA All American, and 7 Massachusetts Gatorade Players of the Year. He was selected as 2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year and the 2012 NHSCA National Volleyball Coach of the Year.

Simon Loftus (Scotland)
As the head coach and director of volleyball at Leeds Met University, Simon was at the core of the dominant UK university program. From 2007 to 2012 his men’s and women’s teams combined for six BUCS (the UK equivalent to the NCAA) national championships and five Volleyball England Student Cup titles. His women’s team had a three year undefeated run during that span. Overlapping with his time at Leeds Met, Simon was also the head coach of the Scottish Men’s National Team, leading them to the 2012 Novotel Cup which was the nation’s first-ever international championship.