The Danger of Improper Terminology

This is generally going to be about coaching–really.  It’ll just take a minute to get there.

One of my pet peeves is the improper use of language or terms.  Every time a word or idea is misused, it distorts the truth–and worse, in many instances makes the word unusable for any real purpose.  Need examples?

Look at the evolution of words such as ‘gay’ or ‘queer’.  Do people realize why or how those words came to be associated with sexual orientation?  Left and Right–those go back to the French Revolution.  ‘Liberal’ and ‘Conservative’ don’t actually mean, aren’t supposed to mean, what many Americans use them for.  It’s perfectly possible to have a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal…except in America.  Why, it gets confusing enough that a radical (Jesus) is claimed as a conservative.  Go figure.

We can do this in numerous fields.  That brings us to education and coaching.  There is a constant call for ‘punishment’ as motivation for athletes.  That’s when the chaos starts to come in to the picture–because some realize that the word ‘punishment’ will draw fire, so they say ‘negative reinforcement’ instead to avoid the criticism

This makes it worse–because negative criticism IS ITS OWN THING.  It is completely different than punishment, so what you now have happen is people mis-use a term, use methods of conditioning that are less effective than others–and along the way make it more difficult to apply one of the techniques (negative reinforcement) that IS better than punishment.

It’s enough that I figured–I’ll write a blog post on it, describe it like I did when I was teaching it in high school…and maybe it can shift knowledge enough that people stop using terms improperly (I mean, it’s worked well so far for me with left/right, liberal/conservative….) and can become better educators from this.

What people are referring to with reinforcement is trying to change behaviors in some fashion.  This has been going on for thousands of years, but the guy who made an active study of it was a Russian named Pavlov.  In short, Pavlov rang a bell, gave his dogs food.  They drooled.  After a time, he would ring the bell, didn’t give food, but they continued to drool.  Thus, Pavlov showed how you could create a desired behavior.  There’s more to it, but this isn’t a Psych textbook.  Ultimately, there are three types of conditioning:

  1. Positive Reinforcement  –With this, we are going to add something in order to add to an existing behavior.
  2. Negative Reinforcement  –With this, we will remove something as long as we get the desired behavior.
  3. Punishment  –We will do something the subject doesn’t like to remove an undesired behavior.

The first big thing to note between 1/2 + 3 is that the first two are addressing the behavior desired directly.  With 1 and 2, if I want the person to take a drink of water, my actions relate directly to the act of drinking water. Notice that 3 does not?  With the current water-drinking example, 3 doesn’t address the drinking, it’s going to work to prevent standing in line talking; walking down to the end of the hall; playing with the foot pedal.  These things may all be undesirable, they may get in the way of taking a drink, but they don’t incentivize getting a drink.

That’s another big thing.  A lot of people see ‘positive reinforcement’ and think things are being given away for free. From coaches over the age of 30, you’ll see the term ‘snowflakes’ used to cast scorn on positive reinforcement, that addressing a desired behavior this way makes the player soft, weak, or any number of other words with negative connotations.

The difficulty with ‘negative reinforcement’ is that most people see the word ‘negative’ and take it to mean bad–‘Don’t be such a negative person’.  The word here doesn’t mean that.  It is meant more like plus/minus.  ‘Negative’ means to subtract something from the equation–but I guarantee that 99/100 times when you see a coach (at least 80/100 for teachers) use this term, they are conflating it with ‘punishment’.

So teaching Intro to Psych clued me in–I can sit and give textbook examples and definitions all day, but people still don’t get it.  It takes concrete examples.  The examples below aren’t meant to be specific to any team–I’ve tried to make them generic along with how to fix them…

IMPROVING SERVE-RECEIVE

  • Positive: In practice, athletes GET a high-5 for a perfect pass; when 25 consecutive don’t drop, athletes GET to play 3-on-3 for 15 minutes; when practice is done whoever keeps the most from dropping GETS a Snickers bar.
  • Negative: If we get 15 in a row that don’t drop,  we will NOT do the second ball-handling drill players don’t like; if we get 50 good passes before we have one drop, there will NOT be a curfew at this weekend’s tournament
  • Punishment: For every ball that hits, we’re doing burpees. For every ball that hits, the passers have to stay an extra minute after practice.

Notice that the first two create incentives–things players want?  High-fives, playing games, candy…or the removal of a curfew or getting to skip a drill they hate.  Every coach knows the drills players don’t like and hopefully has seen the morale boost when athletes find out “Hey, good job–we’re skipping Evil Drill Four today!”  Punishment doesn’t address that.  Players don’t get a benefit from a perfect pass–all they need to do is keep it from the ground–even if that means it shanks off and hits Grandma and her knitting.

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WORKING ON TEAM CHEMISTRY/COOPERATION

  • Positive: Players permitted to select own teams during practice; Team Hustle Award; direct selection via consensus of team captains
  • Negative: Permitted to supervise own non-practice events (warmups, weightlifting); coach does not select roommates for road trips
  • Punishment: Micro-management by the coach; players directed not to speak/offer suggestions during practice; lack of ‘calling for it’ in a drill leads to physical consequences.

PLAYER’S EFFORT IN PRACTICE

  • Positive: Increased playing time; larger role in crunch-time; named team captain
  • Negative: Coach does not hover over player during certain drills at practice/trusts player is going 100%, moves on to other players who coach is unsure of.
  • Punishment: Run. Pit drills. Dive drills.  95% of overuse/repetitive drills.

BETTER HITTER

  • Positive: Feedback on what the player is doing–which can include what the player is doing wrong, by the way; high-fives; attainable but challenging goals to move on to a different aspect of the skill
  • Negative: Removing certain “handicaps” (for lack of a better word)–we’re going to have you hit off a setter rather than a toss–or have to hit an out-of-system ball rather than a perfect one; we’re going to put live blockers on the other side rather than an empty net.
  • Punishment: Hit it in the net–>burpees.  Hit it out of bounds–>sprints.  All sorts of errors–reset a counting drill ‘back to zero’

Do these examples help?  I hope so.

For me, I try not to use punishment much.  I save it for special occasions–>discipline issues.  My athletes know that if they get punished, they have screwed up in a large way.  This adds to its effectiveness–if we use the exact same stimulus over and over, it’s possible for it to lose effectiveness.  Eventually Pavlov’s dogs realized, “Hey, the bell doesn’t mean steak after all.”

This isn’t in-depth by any means.  Some of it is taking short-cuts to make sure of the high points.  I haven’t even gotten in to the types of punishment (also referred to as positive and negative–which is MOST unhelpful) or extinction.  I’ve also missed one other key thing when it comes to athletes.

They are people–and you have to be aware of their own motivations.  When you try as a coach to impose conditioning on an athlete, you may be messing up their own intrinisic motivations.  Michael Jordan didn’t need to be pushed by the Chicago Bulls to greatness for instance.  The personalities of your athletes has to be kept in mind.  That’s a HUGE challenge–because 15 athletes are going to have 15 different things motivating them and 15 different ‘best’ ways of motivating them..

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Coach

A long time ago, the U.S. was forced into the Second World War by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Not all Americans understood what had happened–or why we were also suddenly fighting in Europe (Hitler/Nazi Germany declared war on the US…ignore prior events like the Reuben James).  To explain, the government got filmmakers together to create propaganda.  The best came from Frank Capra, director of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Last week, I got to go spend time out in Quantico with the Marine Corps in a leadership workshop.  What better time to consider Capra and through him, the question of “Why do I coach?”

So, why do I coach:

  • I like helping young people mature into adults.
  • It’s awesome watching skills improve, sometimes from scratch–watching someone learn to jump serve or (in the case of one middle-hitter) watching her play back-row defense in a game for the first time in her playing career, and eventually watch that player get so jazzed she winds up becoming a coach.
  • I like watching players exceed expectations–having a 5’7 middle lead your team in hitting is amazing to watch. Don’t judge on appearance, judge on results!  (Like Heck She Isn’t a Volleyball Player has an essay on exactly this issue)
  • I get to work with great colleagues–assistant coaches (Steph, Jesse, Joe, Kelly, Laura, Kallie, Will, Tiffany) and within the LLCC athletic department.
  • As a two-year coach, I get to help players move on to schools beyond what they’d hoped for when they first went through the recruiting process, I help them find that dream school–so awesome to watch the excitement when they find it and enjoy their ‘Eureka!’ moment.
  • I like winning. I like competing. If you can’t play, the next best thing is coaching.  99% of the time, the most competitive person in a program is the head coach.
  • I like the camaraderie. I suspect that there is no place that forges relationships like a team except for those created in the crucible of war with sacrifices impossible to duplicate anywhere else regardless of training.
  • Because after (has it really been this long???) 26 years running teams (h.s., club, college) and the four before that as an assistant, the friendships and relationships I have mean more than anything.
  • I am privileged to mentor young people–they will shape the world. If I help them just a little and they all go on to help the world just a little–pretty soon, our world becomes a much better place!  Idealistic?  Absolutely.

 

 

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10 Rules for playing ‘my’ game…

…kinda like 10 rules for dating my daughter, right? Anyways, please consider hitting the ‘FOLLOW’ button.  If you like things like this, you’re welcome to contribute to my retirement fund by purchasing my book…and for under $5….

Also important–nothing below is really directly related to volleyball.  It’s advice for managing players and personalities–and helping young people become great adults.

1: Do it right every time. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Be dependable, be consistent. Don’t be afraid to do new things when asked—simply give 100% at everything you do. People not playing (coaches, fans, etc) notice when players are not giving 100% . As you grow older, it will become more and more obvious who is and isn’t giving 100%. Make people go ‘WOW!’ when they watch you hustle!

2: Speed brings victory.  Hustle on the court in games, in practice.  Hustle to shag balls and the other ‘grunt work’ and the hustle becomes automatic.  You’ll play quicker—more balls in play, more chances to hit.  More hits, more points—more victories.

3: You don’t have to think ‘outside the box’ (shh….I know my blog’s title).  Just be focused on what’s going on ‘in the box!’  During practice and matches, keep your mind on volleyball.  Don’t dwell on why you are mad at Betty and don’t wonder if Jane’s comment was an insult or not. You shouldn’t be worried about Tina talking to your boyfriend. You HAVE to focus on volleyball. Teams that focus win. Teams that bring in irrelevant stuff from ‘outside the box’ lose.

4: Respect your teammates and coaches.  Don’t talk behind a teammate’s back. If you have something to say—good or bad—make sure you are willing to say it to their face or remain silent.  Consider your words before saying something and consider going out of your way to say something if it is positive.

5:  Ask questions!  I will regularly ask you for opinions. It doesn’t mean that what you suggest is what we’ll do, but feedback is ABSOLUTELY important. The reverse is also true—if you have questions, ask. The cliché is true for the most part….there are no stupid questions.

6: Be mellow.  Communicate.  Listen.  Don’t allow for misunderstandings between you and someone else. Don’t turn someone away when they need to talk with you—listen and reflect on what they have to say. If this exists both ways, communication WILL be effective.  Your teammates are your friends.  Always remember that.

7: Keep in mind the big picture.  Remember that there is more going on than one day in practice, one match. No one on the team will play every point.  Starters may change, injuries can happen. The big picture is about growing up. It’s about commitment and work ethic and learning what leads to success.  This is important for the next four, five, or six decades. It’s about your education. Don’t get caught up in petty squabbles, you will be miserable, make others miserable, and you will miss out on everything that will make this season part of a wonderful portrait when you look back years from now.

8: If you saw a little old lady with a flat tire on the highway and no one around, you’d stop and help, or at least wait with them until the Highway Patrol arrived. You wouldn’t think twice about this. You don’t ignore them. You’d certainly stop if the person was your friend.  So why not do this in our gym.  If there is a problem, stop and help fix it. The three big parts of this are:

  • Empathize.  Can you understand the other person’s situation or are you caught up in ‘me, me, me’?
  • If you make a mistake, it’s okay to admit it.  Apologize, then strive not to repeat the mistake.
  • You MUST risk being taken advantage of by others for the sake of the team and the team’s goals.  Help someone get better even if they could be promoted over you, accept responsibility even if you risk temporarily being unpopular.

9: Do you appreciate your teammates? Have you told them that directly? Or are they left wondering what you are thinking as you whisper to someone else? Never, ever, discount the value of positive comments to teammates.  You may find your comment comes at the prefect moment to help a downcast teammate—you may never know you helped or that help was necessary

10: This is the tough one. Tattoo this somewhere on your body (not really):KNOW YOURSELF. On top of that, make sure others see the real you. If your teammates know you struggle with confidence on your hitting, they will be more likely to offer encouragement. If you are having relationship issues, if they know, they will be less likely to make jokes and avoid unintentional hurt, leading to drama and poisoned personal relationships.

Mother’s Day, Coaching, and Passion

So it is Mother’s Day in the United States today.  Most people will be celebrating.  On a personal level, that’s rough and has been going back to my mom’s unexpected death eight years ago.  Dwelling on what can’t be changed isn’t usually productive; still, reflection can lead to insights (and maybe someday I’ll pick up enough of those to be considered wise…).

(Most of this is a bit rambling–welcome to first drafts and blogs, right?)

My mom didn’t care much for sports.  Wrong generation, so she didn’t really have the opportunities.  My dad didn’t care either (ditto my step-father later), but being a child of the 60s/70s, my mom was the primary caregiver, so her views were the important ones.

I liked sports even when really young, especially baseball…as you can see here or here.  I liked watching football, the Olympics, whatever.  I liked playing them, too, even the ones I sucked at.  Now there’s the thing–I’m not from a sports family.  What’s the reaction going to be of my mom?

Awesome.  She bought herself a glove so we could play catch.  Eventually, we picked up cable TV mainly so I could watch the Cubs every day.  At home, I still have most of the books of my childhood–books on sports, sports biographies.  Baseball cards? Yup–those, too.  Sports games?  Oh, *hell* yes.  My friends would tell you I don’t need the boards for APBA baseball and long ago, I wound up national champion in a Strat-o-Matic tournament.   I. Love. Sports.

My mom encouraged that even though she had nearly no interest (her interest was simply because I, her son, was interested).  She wanted me to follow my passions–whether that was sports, theater, mechanics, programming, whatever a child/teenage/young adult could find appealing.

That’s the real lesson for parenting, teaching, or coaching.  I’m an adult now, much closer to retirement than being a pre-teen.  I get the wisdom now.  As a coach of young people, teaching skills is a secondary consideration for my job.  Winning should be even less of a priority.  Instead, my goal should be for those kids to have fun, to help them find their passion.  You can run with passion, run with it for a lifetime.

There’s a catch coaches forget all the time (and you can see it in various coaching forums)–>a coach’s passion is not necessarily the athlete’s.  A baseball coach may find his athlete has theater as a #1 priority; the basketball coach may need to realize her best player is more interested in pageantry.  When we try and force that athlete to work even harder in the thought that will spark intensity/passion/whatever, we then lose our chance to help kids explore multiple possibilities.  Why do we make kids make a binary choice?

Why can we only have one passion?  I know a professional coach who is a total stud at online Madden football.  I know one college coach who spends as much time fishing as coaching volleyball.  I know a high school coach who doesn’t have kids do anything in the summer so he can go to teacher training sessions across the country and another who winds up taking his players (and other students) to Europe–because few of his school’s students would travel otherwise.  Me?  I like writing, developing games, thinking about baseball–and the time I get to spend with Mrs. Dietz and our kids.

So as a coach–worry less about the serve-receive platform or the launch angle.  Ask “What can I do to help this young person find a spark somewhere, anywhere?”  If we do that as coaches, we make the world a better place.  *THAT* is what youth and amateur sports is supposed to be about.

So, I’m thankful every Mother’s Day for my mom, the room she gave me to find my passions.  She was nothing but encouraging even as I turned 20, 30, or 40.  That’s the greatest gift I ever received.

Coaching and Sherman: “War is war….”

Back in the summer of 1864 just before the Union turned the tide against the Southern traitors (at last), there was doubt who would win (they lacked the 20/20 vision of history).  Grant was losing troops quickly in the trenches at Petersburg and the battles around the Wilderness, fast enough that many were criticizing him as army commander.

In the west, Joe Johnston had kept William Sherman’s army away from Atlanta, the final Rebel industrial center.  If Atlanta held through the U.S. presidential election, Lincoln would lose and a negotiated peace would ensue, but Johnston was replaced by J.B. Hood who was a horrible army commander and within a couple weeks, Sherman was at the gates of Atlanta.

City-fighting is brutal and the Rebels intended to make life rough for Sherman’s men, sniping at them from the protection of the city, effectively using civilians as shields, believing Sherman and the U.S. forces wouldn’t risk killing innocent people.  Well, the Rebels were wrong.  Sherman opened fire on Atlanta with his artillery.

A delegation came out, outraged at Sherman’s actions.  At which point Sherman responded, “War is war, not popularity-seeking.”  He again bombarded the town at which point (unlike in Gone with the Wind) the Traitors set fire to the city and fled.  Sherman then got serious about war, following Atlanta with the ‘March to the Sea’ and then his (rightful) devastation of South Carolina as he headed north to join the Army of the Potomac…but that’s history and this is ACTUALLY a coaching blog post.    Really….so time to make the transition.

World War One and Coaching Theory: HERE.
Napoleon, World War Two, and Coaching?: HERE.

Sports is symbolic war.  Societies have used sports to hone physical skills, competition, teach leadership–all means of improving an army’s ability to fight.  This goes back beyond recorded history.   In any event, Sherman could just as easily have said, “Coaching is coaching, not popularity seeking.”  So is Coach Sherman, right?

Absolutely.  It’s one of the faults many coaches have–and to be clear, it’s not a personal flaw, just something that can negatively affect coaching, because we ALL want to be liked, to be popular.  That’s not a coach’s job though.  A head coach has to make tough decisions–things like playing time (which will upset some players who think they should be starting or playing a bigger role) or how hard to push a team in practice (all but the truly special individuals/team players choose the easier path rather than put in extra work).  A coach who demands much in practice is often disliked by team members who resent having to put in real work.  The thing is, on game days, the coach’s job is to capture Atlanta–wind up leading on the scoreboard.  Failing to do so can mean dismissal from command/Lincoln losing the election (the coach getting fired).  To win, a coach may have to bench a player who is having an off-day, bruising his ego, or perhaps offer direct, pointed criticism to a player when she is lacking focus.   For Sherman, this worked well.  He commanded volunteers and over two years turned them into a well-disciplined, elite military force.

Does a coach have to be tough or hardened in similar fashion to achieve the twin goals of excellence in performance and victory on the scoreboard?  Does that fit with the goals of amateur athletics?  Youth sports are for developing character, providing structure, creating challenges–and helping young boys and girls overcome them, all things aimed at creating outstanding adults (kids will fight you all the way on these things…as you no doubt know….).

A coach does need to be strong though, strong enough to know she needs to make unpopular decisions, strong enough to brace himself for trying to teach helicopter moms and dads how to be better parents, strong enough to get over a loss on the scoreboard quickly, returning focus to the primary goals of youth sports–developing better adults.

This ain’t easy to do.  It’s why there’s so much turnover in coaching.  It leads to Sherman’s other famous quote: “War is Hell.”   Without the right mental mindset, we can just as easily say, “Coaching is Hell.”

The Plot Thickens (Coaching and Literature)

So, while I was busy recently editing a different post on volleyball and before that this one and how, as coaches, we should take outside interests and use them to improve our coaching, I was procrastinating in relation to another project I’m working on–because I write novels and stuff, too, and…of course my thoughts turned to combining the two….

I realized that the parts of a story’s structure can also be used to analyze a volleyball match.  To be clear–it’s not a perfect match, but even within literature, it’s all just a guideline. Keep that in mind.  So do you remember diagramming stories from back in high school lit classes–or were you passing notes and dreaming of things like prom?  No matter, the five primary sections of a story are:

  1. EXPOSITION: This is the introduction.  It’s the set-up, it’s the context we need to understand what comes next.
  2. RISING ACTION: This is where events take place and start building in importance.
  3. CLIMAX: This is the key moment, the point you look at and go, “A-HA!”
  4. FALLING ACTION: This is the remainder of the story and the loose ends start coming together.  By this time, a reader should sense how it will all end.
  5. RESOLUTION: The story concludes with all loose ends tied.

 

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How do we fit this into volleyball?  First, why not think of it in terms of a drill?

  1. EXPOSITION: The coach explains the drill
  2. RISING ACTION: The drill starts, players get into a rhythm while the coach makes sure athletes are doing  things properly.  The athletes ask questions, make sure they’ve got things straight.
  3. CLIMAX: This is that point in the drill where they are going at full-speed and you can see them ‘get it’ and synthesizing the brain/body sides of the drill.
  4. FALLING ACTION: Is this the point where the drill is going too long, where the players start losing that edge–or else need a break because Stage 3 (Climax) has gone on for a good 5 or 10 minutes?
  5. RESOLUTION: The coach reaffirms why the drill was important, what it does to help the individual and the team–for the next drill, tomorrow’s opponent, or down the line.

Could you take one of your favorite drills and diagram it using this five-section framework?

We can take this and think of a set in similar fashion:

  1. EXPOSITION: Lineups are turned in, coaches use their 1 or 3 minutes to go over tactics and points of emphasis.  Once on the court, coaches get to see how the opponent’s rotation lines up with her own.  
  2. RISING ACTION: For the first 6 rotations or so, you get to see how the match-ups play out.  Can you see who seems hot or is struggling?  What problems do you have, where are your opponent’s weaknesses?  By the time we go around the first six rotations, we get to the middle of the game…
  3. CLIMAX: The key points.  Who will get to 20 first?  Is one team low on substitutions? Has there been a way to use a hot player even more?  Can you get the advantage of a point or two lead and hold it? (It’s possible–especially in the great sets–that the CLIMAX is timed perfectly and we don’t have the FALLING ACTION at all, we just go to EXPOSITION all over again.
  4. FALLING ACTION: There are games where the victor is clear, but things aren’t over.  Can you use the last points in a fashion to get off to a better start in the next set?  Are you able to get playing time/experience for a bench player?
  5. RESOLUTION: One team wins, the teams switch sides, and new lineups are created while players get feedback from each other and coaches in preparation for the next set.

Does it work for a match framework?  Perhaps this is a way for players to do journals or help them scout in some fashion?

  1. EXPOSITION:  This is the day before a match, the time you spend reviewing a scouting report, explaining what’s important about the practice, etc.  This would also be the necessary and boring administrative work–what time is the bus leaving, hotel rooming assignments, and such.  It would go up to the match’s start when you see the opponent warming up on the opposite side of the net and can size one another up like boxers.
  2. RISING ACTION:  This comes with the match’s start.  This could last one to four sets depending on the opponent.  This is the build-up to the key point in the match.  Obviously, just like analyzing literature, this is easier to do in the past-tense than see it in the moment.  It’s easy to gauge the rising action and moment of climax incorrectly.
  3. CLIMAX: This is the key moment of the match.  Invariably, this is a stretch of a few points where things hinge.  Against a weaker team, this could be near the start where you see your team stop coasting and assert their killer instinct.  Against a balanced team, this could be when it is 17-17 in the 5th set and no one has time outs or substitutions remaining.
  4. FALLING ACTION:  There are points where you know its over, then it is just playing out the string.  I see this a lot in the post-season if a team falls behind 2 sets to 0–you can see the “Let’s just go home” thought clouding their thoughts, eating away at their competitive nature.  For the winning team–it means being consistent, bearing down.  When you’re on the losing end, it means evaluating what went wrong for the next practice…not to mention what to say post-game to the team or individual players.
  5. RESOLUTION: The team huddle or locker room meeting followed by talking with parents, friends, the meal, and if needed, the bus trip home.  For scouting–this part doesn’t really matter, does it?  Then again, once the boy+girl are together or the bad guy is thwarted, do you ever doubt the end anyways?

 

A lot of coaches are trained as educators–no matter if the field is History, Literature, or Physics.  In most cases with school coaches, that training is far more in-depth than what you get for coaching a sport (and it’s not like many travel-ball coaches have a good grounding in educational theory, either).  Use what you know to your advantage!  If you are comfortable with physics–use that.  Be in your comfort zone and you’ll get players comfortable with it, too.  All of those teaching skills work in a gym–it’s the same as your classroom, just without desks and chairs or a blackboard.

And if you don’t teach? Think about what you are doing for a living.  How can you bring your expertise in to the gym that way?  And DO NOT belittle yourself with “I’m only a grocery clerk” or crap like that. That’s a job that requires people skills.  Ditto being a barista.  Work construction?–think of the natural way that’s building muscle…you may be able to do some great conditioning with your team.

Think! Think! THINK!

 

 

 

The Story So Far… (31 VB blog links)

I’m a sucker for certain types of TV shows.  I liked the X-Files, so no surprise, I like what the creators did afterwards–> Supernatural.  Part of the shtick there is that every year in the first episode, they do a montage of ‘The Story So Far” set to good rock tunes…and they inevitably use Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” a bunch, too.  I thought of all this while figuring–I’ve been doing the blog about eight months now and have quite a few pieces on volleyball.  Rather than presuming people will go search for what they want, why not put all the links here?

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while–it helps out on this end if you click that “FOLLOW” button.  The government won’t track you or anything–but it gives me an idea how long people linger on articles and stuff and where I should let my wander for future writings.

Also, consider investing $4.99 in my book, Like Heck She Isn’t a Volleyball Player.  27 essays on coaching for less than a Starbucks kopi luwak latte or just a single McDonald’s trip.  It’s readable and nowhere near as obnoxious as I am in real life.

THE POLITICS OF VOLLEYBALL:
USAV HP and Me (too)
A Philosophical Conundrum regarding a 20-year Issue in Volleyball
The Big Difference between Men’s and Women’s Volleyball
‘Participation Trophies’ are a good thing
Bureaucracy will kill you…
A Pro VB League in the US should be Easy

CLUB AND SCHOOL BALL:
Offensive Systems
The Cost of Club
Travel Ball or High School?
A Bittersweet 15th Anniversary, 1/21
“Coaches” guiding young athletes / This is how you rant

NITTY-GRITTY STUFF:
Team Rules (adaptable to all sports)
A Game-Like Practice Plan

STUFF RELYING ON NUMBERS/RESEARCH:
The Folly of Blocking
The Importance of Streaking
They Call it a Streak, Part II
Re-arranging history to suit our own needs
A Proper Evaluation of Serve-Receive
Pass Quality and Hitting Efficiency
I Hate John Kessel (but not really)
NJCAA Tournament seeding
Doodlin’ with Deciding Set Data

COACHING PHILOSOPHY:
La Victoria trova cento padri…
Applying JFC Fuller’s Military Theory to Coaching

RELATABLE TO VOLLEYBALL:
Brady Anderson, steroids, small sample sizes, and the American Way

LESSONS I’VE LEARNED/STORY TIME:
Opening Day!
Don’t. Get. Cute.
Dance with the One who Brung Ya
One of my favorite volleyball memories
Anatomy of a Disaster (Mind of a Coach)
A History of Bad Behavior…