How to Coach Volleyball

How to coach volleyball, strategies, and tips to success.

Teach Attitude

A "bad" attitude is simply one that prevents an individual from improving.

Many coaches, even at the higher levels, find they must first teach players what makes a "good" attitude.

Development of a good attitude must begin on the court. For beginner volleyball players, it's important to emphasize both movement and communication skills (talking on the court).

how to coach volleyball

How to Coach Volleyball Democratically

Coach's should share coaching responsibilities with players, this is part of making a true team. All knowledge doesn't reside in the coach's brain. The best teams share all levels of coaching with the players. One technique is to let the players discuss what to do during the timeouts. You'll likely be surprised at the players' insight.

Talk Attention

Many coaches waste precious time talking about what isn't important which merely distracts what needs to be done. Get away from such talk and instead focus all efforts on teaching each individual how to attend to what is important. Better concentration in practice will help speed skill development.

However, no player can concentrate for 100% all practice, all the time. Teach players when to take a break and then refocus.

Ask questions
Learning is best when the athletes must figure out most of the answers. This may be a slower way of teaching, but the result is better players. This is called the Socratic Method of Coaching. Once the skill, idea, or technique is understood, coaches ask questions rather than dictate answers. Volleyball is a game for the players. The coach has very little involvement in the higher levels of the game. Players must learn problem-solving skills and decision-making skills in the game and in practice.

The goal is for the players to have the ability to teach themselves. We want players to not rely on turning to the bench so the coach can give them the answer.

When speaking to players, use "I" and "we" phrases such as, "I see...," and "We need to...," not the "you" that puts them on the defensive. Ask, do not just tell. When questioning them, don't just ask "yes/no" questions, where a simple yes or no answer can be made. Ask questions requiring more than these two monosyllabic responses.

Use "and" instead of "but"
It's a good strategy to use the word "and" instead of "but"... when that word is said, players do not hear or remember what you said before.

Foster the players' ability to ask internal questions so they can make good judgments without the coach's presence. At the same time, coaches should show them why it is desirable to strive in the direction they know is best. "We" also promotes team unity.

There is nothing in volleyball asked by a coach that a player can't do. "I can't" must be changed to something like "How many times out of 10 can I do it?" In the same way, "trying" simply provides an excuse for not doing something, and "I'm trying" must be changed to "I will". Trying doesn't exist on the court...either you do it or you don't. Each and every trial is an opportunity to improve.

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