Keeping non-starters engaged

Keeping players who are not in the starting team happy, or at least not causing problems in the team dynamic, is a key factor in coaching success. In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Paulo Cunha talks about how he manages the psychology of non-starters and how he deals with professional players who find themselves watching things from the bench.

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.

Coaching the team’s best players

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, US college coach Joel Dearing talks about the need to avoid just focusing our coaching on the weaker players on the team. He says we have to make sure we also give the best player sufficient time and attention.

Joel Dearing coached a total of 40 seasons of collegiate volleyball – mainly on the women’s side, and mostly at Springfield College. He recorded over 700 NCAA Division III victories, putting him in the Top 10 all-time. He head to Springfield men to a final #1 ranking in his final season coaching them. He was the AVCA Regional Coach of the Year 5 times. Joel coached 10 All-Americans. He is the author of two volleyball books, is on the board of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, and is a long-time member of the USA Volleyball CAP cadre. In 2019 he was inducted in to the AVCA Hall of Fame.

This topic is one John & Mark take on in more detail in Episode 15 of the Podcast.

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.

The most important skills for a coach

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Australian beach volleyball coach Craig Marshall shares his views on the skills that are most critical for successful coaching.

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.

John & Mark expand on this subject in Episode 25 of the Podcast. It is also a feature section in the Wizard Wisdom book.

Coaching players as they are

In this excerpt from her Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, US college coach Peggy Martin shares her view on adapting yourself as a coach to the personality and motivation of your players rather than expecting them to be like you.

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.

This topic is one John & Mark expand upon in Episode 18 of the Podcast.

Differences in coaching female vs. male athletes

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview, Scottish coach Craig Faill shares his views and experiences with the difference in approach required when work with female vs. male athletes. In particular, he talks about the socialization aspect of team management.

Craig Faill has over 30 years of coaching experience in his native Scotland. His club teams have won multiple national championships. He is currently the Head Coach of the Scottish Women’s National Team. He previously head coached the Scottish Men’s Junior National Team and was an assistant to the Men’s full national squad.

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.

Managing cultural diversity in a team

In this excerpt from his Volleyball Coaching WIzards interview, Vital Heynen talks about how a coach can go about managing a team where the players are of different nationalities and/or are of a different nationality than themselves. His discussion of language use may be of particular interest.

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.

Wizards on the Web: Jim Stone

Wizard Jim Stone has a website you’ll want to check out. You will find it at http://www.acoachingperspective.com/. It’s still relatively new as of this writing, but already it touches on some interesting topics.

Here’s an example.

Jim has a post titled The Man (Coach) in the Arena. It’s based on a quote from Theodore Roosevelt on the subject of critics. This is something that comes up in a video from Brené Brown.

If you’ve read Craig Marshall’s interview in our first book, you’ll know he talks about Brown’s discussion of vulnerability with respect to coaching skills. We used those comments from Craig in our second book as well.

Here’s the TED Talk referred to by Craig.

There’s also a longer presentation on Netflix titled Brené Brown – the Call to Courage. It runs 1 hour 16 minutes, and is a good watch.

From a coaching perspective, there’s an interesting podcast episode worth listening too in conjunction with the stuff above. The podcast is called EconTalk, but don’t be put off by the name. This particular episode specifically links to what Brown talks about with a really interesting twist. It’s one that we need to think about as coaches.

Here’s the link: https://www.econtalk.org/david-deppner-on-leadership-confidence-and-humility/