Avoiding specializing players early

In this excerpt from her Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Ruth Nelson talks about the disadvantages of early specialization in players. In particular, she brings up not just developing a more well-rounded sense of the game, but also suggests it increases one’s enjoyment of the sport.

Ruth Nelson is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame. She won over 500 matches in 16 years coaching NCAA Division I volleyball. She was an assistant coach for the USA Women’s National team under legendary coach Arie Selinger and was head coach for the US Junior National Team. Ruth also coached professional volleyball and ran volleyball for the Special Olympics for many years. She currently runs a youth volleyball program called Bring Your Own Parent (BYOP).

Adapting what you learn

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Iradge Ahrabi-Fard shares his views on coaching education and development. In particular, he talks about the need to adapt what we learn to our own teams and our own unique circumstances.

Iradge Ahrabi-Fard is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class. He won over 500 NCAA Division I matches in his 19 years at Northern Iowa. In 1997 he was earned the Excellence in Education award from the AVCA, and then in 1999 was the Division I Coach of the Year. Iradge has consulted and coached with USA Volleyball for a number of years.

John & Mark expand on this subject in Episode 3 of the Podcast.

Learning from the gurus

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Tom Tait talks about the importance of considering the source when looking to learn from other coaches. This is especially true when thinking to adopt the same methods and strategies as coaches who have a high profile because of recent success.

Tom Tait is essentially the father of the Penn State volleyball programs – both men and women. He led them both from their early days as club programs to their promotion to full varsity status. He eventually handed off the women’s team to Russ Rose, but kept coaching the men for several more years. In that time he reached 6 NCAA tournaments and reach the finals in 1982. Tom was the 1986 Volleyball Monthly National Coach of the Year. He is a member of the inaugural induction class to the AVCA Hall of Fame.

This topic is something John & Mark expand upon in Episode 3 of the Podcast.

Developing the team concept

In this excerpt from her Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Sue Gozansky discusses the development of the team concept.

An AVCA Hall of Fame inductee, Sue Gozansky won nearly 700 matches during a 39 year career coaching at UC Riverside. That tenure includes 3 national championships and a record 20 straight NCAA tournament trips. She is author of the books Championship Volleyball Techniques and Drills and Volleyball Coach’s Survival Guide. Sue travels the world as a coaching instructor for both the FIVB and USA Volleyball.

This topic is something John & Mark expand on further in Episode 1 of the Podcast, and is also a topic featured in the Wizard Wisdom book.

Being authentic as coaches

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Giovanni Guidetti looks at how different nations have their own approaches to training, each resulting in considerable success on the international stage. He concludes by suggesting that at the end of the day each coach must be authentic in how they decide to coach their teams and players.

Giovanni is currently the Turkish women’s national team coach. He previously coached the Dutch national team to 4th in the 2016 Olympics. He previously also coached the German and Bulgarian national squads. He coaches professionally in Turkey and has won multiple CEV Champions League titles and FIVB World Club Championships.

Additional thoughts from Giovanni’s interview can be found in Episode 8 of the Podcast, as well as in the Wizard Wisdom book.

Advice for developing coaches

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Jefferson Williams offers a bit of advice for new and developing coaches from the perspective of someone who has been very involved in coaching education.

When it comes to UK coaching success, it’s hard to beat Jefferson. As a player-coach with Mallory Eagles VC his teams won 20 national titles between 1987 and 2010, including 10 in a row and a 96 match unbeaten run. Throw in 15 cup titles to boot. Now, on top of that add 12 league championships and 11 cups between 1989 and 2006 coaching the women. This is alongside being the England Senior men’s head coach from 1987 to 2003, assistant coach for the Great Britain squad from 1990 to 1997, interim GB Women’s coach from 2005 to 2007, and head coach of the England Women’s Developmental Squad from 2007 to 2012. He’s been Volleyball England, England, and UK Coach of the Year. Jefferson also coached for a time in Sweden.

Specificity and Long-Term Athletic Development

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, renowned coach Carl McGown talks about the concept of sports specificity and how that ties in with the concept of long-term athletic development.

A 2010 AVCA Hall of Fame inductee, McGown is widely considered one of the world’s best volleyball coaches and a key proponent of motor learning in volleyball. His coaching experience dates back to being assistant coach for the US team at the 1970 World Championships. He was head coach for the US men from 1973 to 1976 and technical advisor to the program in 1980. Since then, McGown has mentored teams in seven different Olympic Games and has also coached the National Team in seven different World Championships, including 1974, ’82, ’86, ’90, ’94, ’98 and ’02. Carl was the first coach in Brigham Young University men’s volleyball history and over 13 seasons he compiled a career record of 225-137, with two NCAA titles – twice garnering Tachikara/AVCA National Coach of the Year honors. Carl’s most recent upper level head coaching experience was in the 2007-08 Swiss A League, where he led LUC to the regular season title, the Coppe Suisse Championship and the Swiss League Championship.

Respect and playing weaker teams

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Simon Loftus talks about the value of respecting the opposition and having objectives for matches against weaker opposition other than simply winning.

Simon became the first coach of a Scottish national volleyball team to win a championship when he led the Scotland men to the 2012 Novatel Cup title. As coach of the men’s and women’s program at Leeds Met University in England, his teams won 6 U.K. university (BUCS) championships and 5 Volleyball England Student Cups. He has also coached professionally in Sweden and has NCAA coaching experience.

The problem with coaching education

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Paulo Cunha discusses what he sees as the biggest problem in coaching education.

From 1987 to 2007 Paulo was a coaching education lecturer and course director for the Portuguese Volleyball Association and Portuguese Volleyball Federation. He coached his nation’s Junior National Team from 1986-1992. His club teams in Portugal’s 1st Division won 8 national titles, 7 Portuguese Cups, and 6 Super Cups. Paulo’s coached in 12 European Cups and in 1998 became the first Portuguese coach to reach a European cup final four. Three times he was awarded Coach of the Year by the Portuguese Association of Volleyball Coaches.

The importance of consistency

Stelio DeRocco talks in this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards project about how important it is for the coach as leader to be consistent in their demeanor, attitude, effort, and character.

Stelio was the Australian National Team coach during the 2000 Olympic cycle. He later lead the Canadian National team to a NORCECA championship and coached in a World Cup. As a professional coach, he won 2 Euro Cups with Montichiari (Italy) and 2 leagues and 3 cups with Constanta (Romania).

Note: This discussion of consistency is something John & Mark expand on in Episode 4 of the Podcast. It is also a feature topic in the Wizard Wisdom book.