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 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 9: Practice plan development with Jan De Brandt

In this episode of the podcast we take a look at the philosophy of developing a good training or practice plan. In his interview, Jan De Brandt expressed his view that coaches should always be looking for ways to reduce the amount of time in training through effective and efficient use of that time.

Jan De Brandt has coached professionally in Italy, Turkey, Spain, Azerbaijan, and Germany, as well has his native Belgium. He is currently the Women’s National Team Coach for Hungary, having also coached Belgium. Among his coaching accomplishments are winning the European Volleyball League, silver medal in the CEV Champions League, bronze in the CEV Cup, plus league and cup titles in Turkey. Jan started his career coaching men, but switched to women after a few years.

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