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Coaching Tips Of The Week

To run with the season, I started posting a weekly coaching tip.  These are lessons that I have learnt over the course of the journey.  Many were hard won lessons, some were observations of mistakes I didn’t have to make myself.  They are not in any particular order as they are mostly inspired by something that happened in my training on the day that I wrote it down.  Thanks to Luke Reynolds who did most of the actual writing down.  I think there is something here for coaches at all levels.

#1 – “Never make any judgements on individual players or the team after the first day or week of training”

#2 – “The more tired the players, the higher the intensity of practice should be”

#3 – “Take time to smell the roses”

#4 – “Coaching is not a theoretical exercise”

#5 – “Everything Is Timing”

#6 – “The first job of the coach is to make the players want to come to practice.”

#7 – “The first time you do anything it is terrible.”

#8 – “First, get the team to play as well as they can.”

#9 – “The quality of practice is directly related to the amount of time you spend thinking about the practice itself, preparation and organization are key.”


For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Coaching Tip Of The Week #12

 “Shout at the one you are angry at”

For some reason in the sporting environment it is considered appropriate, acceptable, and in some cases desirable, for the coach to shout at their players.  In the sporting environment, there can be some moments in which raising one’s voice is actually the best response.  For example, if the coach feels that the emotional state of the team needs to be heightened, shouting can sometimes have that effect.  In addition, there are other moments in an emotional and stressful environment when emotions boil over and the coach expresses their anger verbally.

Whatever the underlying reason, the coach must ensure that the anger is expressed in the right direction.  Too often coaches will have a ‘whipping boy’, a player who is always shouted at regardless of the situation.  Mostly this is a young player, and, not coincidentally, the player least able to defend themselves.  Coaches will shout at the ‘whipping boy’ when they are actually angry at the best player but are too respectful (or scared) to shout at them.

There are many reasons why it is okay not to shout at your best player, even if they ‘deserve’ it.  But is never okay to use another player as a surrogate for the sole purpose of making you feel better.


The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Coaching Tip Of The Week #11 – Bonus Tip

“Shining a light on something creates, not prevents, problems” – Part Two

Coaches are naturally fixated on the weaknesses of their team.  Obviously you improve a team by fixing its weaknesses.  At least that is the normal way of thinking.  I’m not so sure.

Coaches must definitely know the weaknesses of their team and they must definitely consider those weaknesses while preparing their training plans.  But continuously shining a light on those weaknesses, by constantly talking about and training has two effects.  Firstly, it takes time from practicing your strengths.  Improving your weaknesses can help prevent losing matches, but it is your strengths that actually win those matches.  And perhaps more importantly, there can be a big effect on players’ confidence.  For example, if players or the team continuously hear that reception is their weakness, they expect their reception to be poor.  After the first poor reception they can start to think ‘here it goes again’ and the downward spiral begins.

Attending to weaknesses is important, but never forget your strengths and always work to keep confidence high.


The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Trenerska Porada Tygodnia #6

“Pierwszym zadaniem trenera jest sprawienie by zawodnicy chcieli przyjść na trening”

Jest wiele powodów, dla których zawodnicy przychodzą na trening.

Przychodzą, ponieważ ich rodzice tego chcą.

Przychodzą, ponieważ ich przyjaciele idą na trening.

Przychodzą, ponieważ są umownie zobowiązani.

Przychodzą, ponieważ czują się zobowiązani wobec drużyny.

Przychodzą, ponieważ tego chcą.

Ten ostatni powód jest kluczowy. Jeśli zawodnicy chcą przychodzić na trening, będą bardziej zaangażowani, będą w stanie nauczyć się więcej, będą lepiej wykonywać swoje zadanie. Poziom nie ma znaczenia. Jeśli trener chce wyciągnąć z zawodników jak najwiecej, musi stworzyć środowisko, które sprawi, że będą chcieli przychodzić na trening.

To obejmuje wiele dziedzin. Stworzone środowisko powinno bawić, ale powinno być też poważne. Na treningu powinna być dyscyplina, jednak nie zasady dla samego posiadania zasad. Trening powinien mieć przejrzystą strukturę, ale i wolność do eksperymentowania. Zespół powinien być w centrum skupienia, ale nie kosztem indywidualności. Wygrywanie, zaraz obok nauki, musi być ważne. Spraw by twoi zawodnicy chcieli przychodzić na trening, a twoja praca jest w 98% wykonana.


* Artykuł przetłumaczony na język polski przez Zuzannę Dulnik.

Po Angielsku


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Coaching Tip Of The Week #10

 

“Shining a light on something creates, not prevents, problems” – Part One

One of my least favourite coaching axioms says that the coach must swiftly address all issues in the team before they have a chance to fester.  This seems like sound advice, but in practice it can actually create more problems than it solves.  When it comes to interactions within the group there are many situations that could indicate a problem, but not necessarily.  There are many things that could cause a player to act out at their teammates and / or coaches.  Players can be stressed or tired or under pressure or having personal issues, or even just having a bad day.  In these cases, a player who kicks a ball, or swears at a teammate, or answers back to the coach is not revealing conflict or disrespect, they are revealing that they are tired or stressed or under pressure or having problems at home or having a bad day.

The coach who instantly responds to these moments can often provoke problems that didn’t previously exist.  It is always better to wait a day (or two) and see how a situation evolves.  Most of the time there was no situation, just people being people.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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French Reception Technique – Part 2 Scott Touzinsky

I had the (mostly 😉 ) pleasure of coaching Scott Touzinsky for the best part of seven seasons in three different clubs and countries.  Scott’s best volleyball skill was his mastery of the backcourt, encompassing both reception and defence.  His preparation, positioning and control in both phases were exceptional.  For the last season we were together, I knew that it would be his last season and I promised myself that before the season finished I would take some close up video during practice that I could use.  Sadly, injury meant that Scott didn’t finish the season and I hadn’t got around to taking the video that I had planned to.

But… going through my old folders, I did happen to find a bit of footage that I could edit into about one minute of Scott Touzinsky reception.  The key points for me are:

  1. Very early preparation
  2. Minimal movement before contact
  3. Great platform control
  4. Balanced at the point of contact, with any movements after contact instead of before, including a cross step

This last point is a very interesting point.  I wrote a while ago about the reception technique espoused by French National Team coach Laurent Tillie.  When I originally posted his description there was a lot of consternation on the VCT Facebook page, as there was during the clinic when Tillie made his explanation.  A particular point of debate / discussion / anger was the cross step taken by the receiver after contact.  The only thing I can say to add to the conversation is that Scott Touzinsky is the best receiver I have worked with, and copying his technique would seem to be an excellent place to start being a great receiver.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Trenerska Porada Tygodnia #5

“Wszystko jest wyczuciem czasu”

To nie chodzi o to ile punktów zdobywasz, chodzi o to kiedy je zdobywasz.

To nie chodzi o to ile błędów popełniasz, chodzi o to kiedy je popełniasz.

To nie chodzi o to jak mocno lub wysoko lub szybko uderzasz, chodzi o to kiedy uderzasz.

To nie chodzi o to jak szybki jesteś, chodzi o to kiedy docierasz tam, gdzie chcesz być.

To nie chodzi o to iloma opiniami możesz się podzielić, chodzi o to by wyrazić swoją opinię w odpowiednim momencie.

To nie chodzi o to ile treningu siłowego wykonujesz, chodzi o to kiedy planujesz treningi.

Wszystko jest wyczuciem czasu.


* Artykuł przetłumaczony na język polski przez Zuzannę Dulnik.

Po Angielsku


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Coaching Tip Of The Week #9

“The quality of practice is directly related to the amount of time you spend thinking about the practice itself, preparation and organization are key.”

There is an old coaching axiom that you should spend twice as much time preparing training as the training itself takes.  So for a two hour training session you should spend four hours preparing.  Sadly the effect of this and most coaching axioms (and popularly shared quotes by famous coaches) is mostly to make coaches feel inadequate, but the principle is sound.

To spend twice as much time preparing as you do training is impractical.  For most coaches, there are simply not enough hours in the day.  But planning each training session is essential.  In addition to that planning time, it is equally important to spend some time reviewing and reflecting on what the goals for the session are, what will be the key feedback points, where the drills will mostly likely break down, and how exactly to manage those and other situations that will likely come up in practice.

By going through this process, the coach will prepare the best possible practice and prepare themselves for the task of making the team better.