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!

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!

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. :-)

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!

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!