Dear Coaches…

I love having conversations with my coach over here. He’s around the same age as my dad and for some reason that generation loves to talk (and talk and talk some more). I’m not complaining! It’s very entertaining as well as very informative! The stories range from Serbian mafia to different president/player relationships he has had to deal with in the past.

The most recent conversation that we had was about the history of volleyball. When he played, there were a lot more rules than that of today. He was a setter and he talked about all of the famous players he’s gotten to play with and against. We actually ended up talking about Karch (he pronounced his last name as if he was speaking Hungarian and if he hadn’t of said “Karch,” I’m not sure I would’ve known who Keer-a-lee was) and how he was the most selfless and best all-around player he’s ever played against. Coach told me stories of when they were playing against each other in Italy and how he made just one mistake the entire match! I laughed and said that there aren’t any players this day in age who are anywhere close to being like him. And I believe that wholeheartedly. Realistically, there won’t be another player for a long time to even come close in comparison with Karch.

However, with all of that being said, what has happened to the all-around players? Has the game evolved that dramatically? Players who had everything: the ball control to be an outside, the strength and power to be an opposite, the intelligence to be a setter, (the cardio to be a middle)…in a world of specialization, have we managed to get players to underperform? Have we created rules to make the game easier to understand or to make the game uglier? With the increase in athleticism over the years, have we covered up their true potential with the increase of substitutions?

For all of the lovely coaches around the globe reading this, I would be honored if you would answer this simple question: Do you think that the game of volleyball has improved/progressed and why? (ok that’s two questions). If you need the definition of progression, it is a movement or development toward a destination or a more advanced state. I know the sport has changed, that’s obvious, but has it gotten better? Anyone can point out a problem (if there even is a problem)…that’s not my goal here.  I want to know what people are thinking. Consider this a research project that a future coach (me) is conducting that could possibly help to grow the sport that we love.  Any and all comments, concerns, and suggestions are welcomed! Leave them below or email me your thoughts at knc5088@gmail.com. Please share this with any of your coaching friends! Thank you 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Dear Coaches…

  1. You’re too smart woman….and no the game has not progressed significantly. Watching Cacciamani bounce pipes in the 1999 national championship is a perfect example. What middle now a days can play back row for an entire game without being a liability. And better yet what middle has the armswing control to swing from the back row as a legitimate option? What middle can consistently and confidently get thrown into the serve receive pattern in a national championship match? It’s unreal to think that players were capable of this only 15 years ago and now recruiting an all around player has become a rarity. Even post college finding a player that can play competitively all the way around is rare because the process gets started so late for almost all American players.

    The athleticism has increased significantly in the last 15 years but are we truly utilizing that athleticism to the fullest extent possible and producing the most competitive players in the world. Not necessarily. But lucky for us that’s all at our fingertips and disposal here in the states.

    LOVE YOU and miss you woman!

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  2. Love the video posted in the comments!
    I never got to coach during the sideout scoring era, but I played my high school career through it. I miss that the most. I know rally scoring made volleyball games faster and more reliable in a TV time slot, but the knock-down drag-out sideout scoring battles were awesome. One would think that with the advent of rally scoring, play would have become cleaner because every mistake is a point for the other team. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I don’t think rally scoring has created a cleaner game at all – and eliminating the bulk of double contact calls hasn’t helped that either.
    In answer to your question, I would say that volleyball has progressed for fans and officials, but it has not advanced for coaches and players – and in some ways, it has regressed in our allowed double contacts, serves and players that can touch the net, and tons of substitutions (in the USA rules) so “everyone can play.”
    Side note: you’re really lucky to have a foreign coach who enjoys talking shop with you! It’s not always so easy to find coaches who speak enough English, let alone are secure enough to exchange ideas.

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