The psychology of training

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Swedish coach Anders Kristiansson talks about the psychology of training. Specifically, he discusses the need to consider the mental impact on players of focusing on things they aren’t doing well or where they have developmental needs.

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.

You can hear further discussion of this concept in Episode 21 of the Podcast. It also features in the Wizard Wisdom book.

Importance of specificity in training

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Tom Tait talks about the importance of making training specific. He uses as an example, hitters who primarily practice attacking without a block struggling to be effective when faced with opposition.

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 indication class to the AVCA Hall of Fame.

This topic is something John & Mark expand upon in Episode 17 of the Podcast, as well as in the Wizard Wisdom book.

Advice for coaching career development

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Mick Haley shares some advice for coaches who are looking to potentially take their careers to the highest levels of coaching.

A 2006 AVCA Hall of Fame Inductee, Mick became the first coach of a non-West Coast team to win an NCAA Division I championship when he led Texas to the title in 1988. That wasn’t even his first national championship, though. Mick won a total of 6 junior college championships at Kellogg Community College between 1973 and 1979, amassing over 300 combined wins and earning himself a spot in the Junior College Coaches Hall of Fame. At Texas he won over 500 matches in 17 seasons during which the team won 13 conference titles and make 15 trips to the NCAA tournament. Mick coached the US Women during the 1997-2000 Olympic cycle, finishing 4th overall in Sydney. He has since been at the helm at the University of Southern California we he’s won 2 national championships and made six semifinals appearances, with well over 300 total wins to run his career tally north of 1000 in NCAA Division I alone.

Initial vs Final ability

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, renowned coach Carl McGown talks about the difficulty in judging final athlete ability based on the level of starting ability. He makes the point that we should coach as many players as we can for as long as we can.

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 adviser 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.

The development of a coaching style

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Simon Loftus shares his views on how coaching styles and philosophies are developed over time.

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 one 6 U.K. university (BUCS) championships and 5 Volleyball England Student Cups. He has also coached professionally in Sweden and has NCAA coaching experience.

Creating game-like situations in training

Training in-context is a key to player development. In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching WIzards interview, Paulo Cunha talks about how to create game-like drills when working with only one or a few players.

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.

Changing training over the season

Stelio DeRocco talks in this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview about how he changes and adapts his team’s training over the different phases of the season.

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).

The concept of the team – another view

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching WIzards interview, Vital Heynen shares his concept of team and how he looks to develop that in the volleyball squads he leads. It is worth comparing his views to those shared by Sue Gozansky.

Vital led the German National Team to a bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships, then Poland to gold in 2018. He won numerous league and cup titles coaching in his native Belgium, and has also coached professionally in Germany, Poland and Turkey.

Managing expectations from above and outside

In this clip excerpted from his interview, Mark addresses the subject of external expectations. He talks about the need to be able to manage the short-term demands for a certain level of performance and success among supporters and management against the longer-term needs of having the team and players optimally ready at the critical time(s) of the season.

Using both self and opponent visualization

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Canadian college and national team coach Garth Pischke shares his view on the value and importance of the use of visualization by players. In particular, he thinks it’s important to do it both from the perspective of personal play and opponent scouting.

Garth Pischke is the winningest coach in men’s college volleyball history with over 1300 victories while leading the program at the University of Manitoba. In his nearly 35 years there, his teams have made 26 trips to the CIS Championships, winning 9 golds, 9 silver, and 5 bronze medals. Garth also was the head coach of the Canadian National Team from 1996 to 2000. During that span the team’s international ranking rose from 21st to 10th.