A review two-fer

Both Volleyball Coaching Wizards and the Wizard Wisdom books appear on a list of The 16 Best Volleyball Books for Coaches and Players by the Volleyball Expert website.

There’s a bit off a goof on that they flipped the descriptions of the two book on the page. We don’t mind, though. After all, they said this about Wizard Wisdom:

“…this book should be treasured by volleyball coaches of all levels and categories.”

We totally agree, of course. :-)

Oh, and the list includes some other pretty good titles. One of them is by Wizard Joel Dearing. Yup. Top coaches can be authors.

More big news – Pioneer Wizards

Last week we posted about looking to expand our base of interviewers to help us move this Wizards project forward. We’re still looking to hear from people who are interested in taking that on. In the meanwhile, though, we’ve had a noteworthy hand raised in response. Wizard Mick Haley has expressed interest and we’ve talked about what that could look like. It’s starting to take shape.

Pioneer Wizards

An idea dating back to the early days of the Wizards concept was to help share with people some of the sport’s history. It’s something we’ve certainly accomplished to a degree with the interviews we’ve done so far. We can take it much further, though.

The Pioneer Wizards concept is about focusing on coaches who are largely out of coaching now after lengthy careers. They might not be in position to talk much from a current coaching perspective. What they certainly can do, though, is tell us the tale of how we got to where we are today. And they can share with us their own career and personal development paths.

In other words, they can be for volleyball what the likes of John Wooden and Phil Jackson are for Basketball, or Bill Walsh and Vince Lombardi are for football. That is sources of long-lasting wisdom and insight.

We look forward to this branch of Wizards interviews developing in parallel with the Wizard Women ones already underway. Now is definitely a great time to join us on Patreon. There will be a lot of great content coming your way!

Wizards at Work: MasterCoaches

Because Wizards Mick Haley and Ruth Nelson have nothing better to do with their time (haha!), they’ve joined up with fellow coaching legends Bob Bertucci and Brian Gimmillaro to create MasterCoaches. It’s a project where they travel the country providing coaching clinics.

Here’s how they describe the project.

Our philosophy at MasterCoaches is to instruct coaches in the technical aspects of the game, develop the best methodology of instruction for individual skills, how to correct and implement these skills in practice and in competition.

These are 1-day clinics for coaches. A sample schedule is available here. It definitely looks like a fast-moving, jam-packed day!

Volleyball Coaching Wizards at the 2019 AVCA Convention

Volleyball Coaching Wizards made it’s first public appearance at the 2016 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Convention – in a manner of speaking. We’re back again for 2019!

For those of you who will be attending this year’s convention, John is presenting a session titled Wisdom from Some of the World’s Best Coaches. It’s scheduled for Friday the 20th at 11:45 in DLCC 303–305.

John’s presentation will be based on material from our second book, Volleyball Coaching Wizards – Wizard Wisdom. That’s the one where we share the views of the Wizards on a variety of coaching topics.

Special Convention Time Offer

While John’s at the convention (December 17th to 21st) you can get the print version of Volleyball Coaching Wizards – Wizard Wisdom for just $9.99 on Amazon (or the equivalent in your local Amazon store). This is only good during the convention, though!

If you see John at the convention, definitely feel free to say hello. Connecting with new people – and old friends, of course – is a big part of what theses events are all about.

If you can’t be at the convention, make sure to follow John’s updates about the event on his blog.

Milestone: 1000 books sold on Amazon

According to the reporting from Amazon, at some point in October 2019 we surpassed 1000 total books sold on their global platform.

This includes all three of the books we currently have available. It doesn’t include sales from other platforms, though, so in reality we actually reached 1000 books sold a bit earlier.

Still, a pretty cool achievement.

Not surprisingly, the first book leads the way. It’s been out quite a bit longer than the others, after all. The second book – Wizard Wisdom – has been steadily gaining ground, though. There’s a good chance it will eventually take over the lead.

Of course we wouldn’t have reached the 1000 unit mark yet without the Spanish translation of the 2nd book – Magos del Entrenamiento de Voleibol – Sabidurías de los Magos. It’s done very well in Spain. Curiously, though, we haven’t yet sold any through Amazon’s Brazil or Mexico sites. In fact, we need to find a way to get the book in front of Latin American coaches generally. That’s an on-going challenge, and suggestions are most welcome.

Look forward to updates on new books in development soon. We have some ideas in the works. More information on that as things firm up.

Meanwhile, if you’ve read both Wizards books so far and are looking for more good stuff to read, check out our Recommended Reading List. It’s titles the Wizards suggested.

In Memorial of Carl McGown

Carl McGown

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.


New volleyball coaching podcast coming!

Volleyball Coaching Wizards podcastFrom the early days of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project it was the plan to find as many avenues and mechanisms as we could to share the insights and perspectives of all these highly experienced and successful coaches. A big part of that is developing a volleyball coaching podcast.

To that end, we’re glad to announced that the Volleyball Coaching Wizards podcast will shortly be coming your way!

We already have some episodes recorded. It’s just a question of doing the final touches on the editing and production and making sure all the technical elements are sorted out. Look for the first episode to hit in a couple of weeks.

We realize we’re not exactly breaking new territory here introducing a volleyball coaching podcast. Others are out there. We like to think, though, that we are able to provide a broader perspective thanks to the diversity of the coaches we’re able to bring together for the Wizards project.

The current plan is for each episode to run about 30 minutes. We figure that’s a good duration for listening during a commute, while exercising, etc. Most episodes are likely to be centered around something which gets discussed in on of the Wizards interviews. No doubt we’ll mix in some other things as well based on developments in the game, coaching experiences, attending events, and the like.

We’re really looking forward to this new dimension to Volleyball Coaching Wizards. Hope you are too!

Building a whole new coaching literature

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had the opportunity to connect with a number of coaches and talk about Volleyball Coaching Wizards. Those who’ve heard about it tell us they are super excited and think it’s an amazing thing for the sport. The excitement is clear. Even the those we’re interviewing for the project are really pumped up. Just the other day, Mike Lingenfelter, who helps run the highly successful Munciana Juniors club program in the States said, “To say that I am jacked to chat would be an understatement.”

To this point we’ve completed seven interviews, with more getting scheduled all the time (Carl McGown is booked for this week). We’re already starting to accumulate some really great nuggets of wisdom, insight, and experience. This is, of course, the most obvious expectation for the project. There’s more to it, though.

The other day Mark wrote a blog post in which he talked about his motivation for developing Volleyball Coaching Wizards and his hopes and expectations for the project. One of the things that has come up in our discussions with both the coaches we’re seeking to interview and coaches who are eager to learn from them is the lack of a strong coaching literature for our sport. In English there is a ton of material, primarily from the States, but the main focus is technical and tactical (drills, offensive and defensive systems, etc.). There isn’t much at what could be called the more macro level – the philosophical and structural framework in which the technical and tactical stuff is employed. We’re looking to change that.

Further, as Mark notes, there are language divisions in the sport which keep good material from being universally available. Our long-term hope for Wizards is to be able to overcome those language boundaries by making the content available in translations.

It’s not just about volleyball, though.

One of the things that’s become apparent from the early interviews already is the universality of some of the coaching subjects being discussed. Yes, there is obviously a focus on volleyball. There is much, though, which can be viewed in a general coaching context. This excerpt from the interview with former Australian and Canadian National Team Coach Stelio DeRocco on the importance of being consistent as a coach is a perfect example.

Up to now, volleyball coaches have drawn from the insights of the great coaches in other sports. With the Wizards project we may finally start to see coaches in other sports looking to volleyball for coaching wisdom.