Podcast Episode 22: Jump Counts with Ryan Mitchell

In baseball, managers use pitch counts to help them make decisions on when they might need to replace their pitchers. Could we do something similar in volleyball? That’s the subject of this episode of the Volleyball Coaching Wizards Podcast.

Ryan Mitchell has been a head coach at a three different high schools in the greater Dallas area, as well as having coached at the Juniors level for three of the area’s clubs. At the high school level, Ryan won five straight Texas titles, earning himself six Coach of the Year selections in the state. He was also selected National High School Coach of the Year by the NFHS. At the club levels his teams have earned national qualification nearly every year.

Fellow Wizards Ismo Peltoarvo and Redbad Strikwerda were mentioned in this episode. Redbad was featured in Episode 7 of the podcast.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 21: The psychology of training with Anders Kristiansson

Player psychology is an important consideration for coaches at all levels, and in all sports. How much does it factor into how you put together your practice plans and how your address developmental needs in training with your team? Probably not enough. In this episode of the podcast, Anders Kristiansson starts off the conversation with some observations from his interview on the importance of keeping the psychological aspect in mind when developing training plans and talking with players.

Anders Kristiansson, who currently coaches in Japan, is a coach who influenced other top coaches. He coached teams to 26 combined men’s and women’s championships in his native Sweden, then went on to win 15 titles in Belgium and 3 more in Greece. His teams played in four CEV Champions League Final 4s and twice reached the final. Anders also coached the Swedish national team during its strongest period of international performance. He lead the team to a silver medal at the 1989 European Championships, the nation’s best ever tournament finish.

This is the second time Anders has been featured in the podcast. You can hear his thoughts on keeping things simple from Episode 11.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 20: Training A side vs B side with Arnie Ball

Playing 6 v 6 games in practice is something we all do. It’s a fundamental part of preparing our teams to play in competitive matches. The question is how best to make those games as productive as possible, especially when it comes to how we split out the players. In this episode of the podcast we have a discussion about that, starting with comments from Arnie Ball about having A-team vs. B-team scrimmages.

Arnie Ball spent more than 30 years coaching the men’s team at IPFW where he won over 500 matches, reached the NCAA Final 4 six times, and was a national runner-up. He also won over 200 matches as the IPFW women’s team coach in the first few years of his tenure there. Arnie was named conference Coach of the Year three times and the 2007 AVCA National Coach of the Year. He has worked in the USA national program in a number of different coach roles and is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 19: Avoiding being the scapegoat for losing as a coach

This episode of the podcast actually takes a different course than most in that it features a question submitted by a listener. He basically asked the question how as coaches we can avoid having all the responsibility (blame) dumped on us when the team doesn’t perform as expected – whatever that might mean. It’s a really interesting thing to think and talk about.

Mark’s blog post with the quotes from NBA coach Gregg Popovich mentioned in the conversation can be found here.

John’s blog post on the subject of proving ourselves as coaches.

We also mentioned the episode with Tom Turco about post-match talks.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome! As this episode proves, we actually do pay attention to them and you might even make your way into the show. If nothing else, you let us know people actually listen. :-)

Podcast Episode 18: Coaching the players as they are with Peggy Martin

One of the struggles we can face as coaches is having to work with players who have motivations different than our own. In some cases it’s because they are different types of players than we were. In other cases it’s because they are in the sport for different reasons. In this episode of the podcast we start with Peggy Martin sharing her experience of learning to coach players as they are, not as we wished they were.

Peggy Martin has over 40 years of college coaching experience, primarily at the NCAA Division II level. She’s accumulated more than 1200 career victories and has won more than 20 league titles. Her Central Missouri teams made 25 straight trips to the NCAA tournament, reaching six Elite 8s and a national championship match. Peggy has been named Coach of the Year 22 times, including earning NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year honors in 1987. She is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame.

A little discussion of blocked vs. random training came into this discussion, following on the subject of Episode 17.

Vital Heynen’s interview came up again in terms of having a coaching style contrary to his prior experience of coaching as a player. Along the same lines, Stelio DeRocco came up in terms of having prior playing experience being useful in understanding player motivation.

We also referenced the characteristics of a great setter episode with respect to showing a lack of doubt to the team.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 17: Better results from random training with Tom Tait

The benefits to be had from incorporating more random or distributed (game-like) training in your practices as opposed to the old-school block style of training (basic repetitive skill execution) are often discussed in coaching circles these days. In this episode of the podcast Tom Tait, who knows a thing or two about skill acquisition, talks about how you can still do skill coaching in a game-like environment and how we need to allow our players to develop their athleticism in that way.

Tom Tait is basically the father of Penn State Volleyball. He was the first coach for both the men’s and women’s teams, having handed the latter off to Russ Rose. He developed the men’s program into a consistent NCAA championship contender before eventually also handing that off. Since then he’s been focused on coaching education, working with the US national team program, and continuing his work as a professor at Penn State.

In the discussion a graph is mentioned which shows why random training is superior to the block alternative, based on scientific research. Here it is:

This was presented at the USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches Clinic in 2015. John was there and shared what was discussed in Going beyond maximizing reps.

We also referenced the desirability of being as efficient as possible in our practice planning and implementation. That was talked about in the Jan De Brandt episode.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 16: The characteristics of great setters with Bill Neville

When it comes to the history of the game, few can beat Bill Neville’s experience and knowledge. In this episode of the podcast he shares his favorite setter of all time, Katsutoshi Nekoda, and what characteristics made him so good. Nekoda was the setter of the Japanese team which in the 1960s revolutionized the sport by introducing multi-tempo sets.

Bill Neville has been a fixture for USA Volleyball for decades. He was on the coaching staff when the men won Olympic gold in 1984, has been Technical Director, and National Commissioner of Coaching Education. In the latter role he lead the development of the Coaches Accreditation Program (CAP). Bill coached the Canadian national team in the 1976 Olympics, and also spent over 15 years coaching NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. He authored the book Coaching Volleyball Successfully.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 15: Coaching your best players with Joel Dearing

It is often the case that we, as coaches (and teachers), either coach to the middle of our squad or focus more attention on the weaker players to try to bring them up to everyone else’s level. From the perspective of maximizing gains, this can make sense. As Wizard Joel Dearing points out, though, we cannot ignore the best players in the team along the way. That is the focus of this episode.

Joel Dearing coached at NCAA Division III Springfield College for 30 years and accumulated over 700 wins. That’s good enough for a Top-10 standing in the record books. He mainly coached the women at Springfield, but also coached the men for seven seasons, and in his last had the team end the year ranked #1. Joel was five times selected AVCA Regional Coach of the Year and coached 10 All-Americans. He is a member of the board at the Volleyball Hall of Fame, a long-time part of the USA Volleyball Coaches Accreditation Program (CAP) cadre, and author of the books Volleyball Fundamentals and The Untold Story of William G. Morgan – Inventor of Volleyball.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 14: Talking to the team after the match with Tom Turco

Pre- and post-match team talks have long been the subject of interest and attention, both by those involved in them (players and coaches) and those observing from outside. In this episode our conversation focuses on post-match talks, especially following a loss. It begin with the thoughts of Wizard Tom Turco.

Tom Turco has won 17 state high school championships in Massachusetts, where he has coached for over 30 years. His teams won a record 110 straight matches between 2003 and 2007. Tom was selected as the AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2008 and the NHSCA National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2012.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!

Podcast Episode 13: Breaking the game in to parts, with Mike Lingenfelter

In volleyball, as in life, it is often beneficial to break things down in to smaller, more manageable chunks. Mike Lingenfelter talked about this in his Wizards interview, sharing his “High 5” concept of providing his team with five progressive objectives for each set. That idea is the focus of this episode of the podcast.

Mike Lingenfelter is the co-director of the Munciana Juniors volleyball club and coach of its 18s Samurai team. After his own playing career, he started his coaching at the college level, but eventually found his niche in the juniors age group where his teams have won four national championships, were national runner-ups an additional four times, and earned three third place finishes. His high school teams won three Indiana state championships and he was selected Indiana state high school Coach of the Year three times. Mike is a regular coaching presenter and clinician.

Feedback, questions, comments, etc. are always welcome!