Tag Archives: Coaching

More On Coaching Interventions

The most common misconception about coaching is that the work of the coach is in the stuff he ‘does’ and most specifically the stuff he ‘does’ that other people see. So coaches are judged on the number of timeouts they take in a game because that is what people recognise as ‘coaching’. They are judged on the things they shout at the players in practice or games, because that is what people recognise as coaching.  They are judged on the amount of feedback they give in practice because that is what people recognise as coaching.

I have written before about coaching and these interventions. Simply, coaching is not in the interventions.  This short YouTube addresses the difference between what happens when the coach relies on interventions in practice and when the coach relies on other methods.  It is a great way to spend two and a half minutes if you are a coach. Or a parent for that matter.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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PRAWDA O KORZYSTANIU Z CZASÓW* – CZĘŚĆ TRZECIA

Tak jak już wspomniałem w tym poście, tym poście i wielu innych, jestem zainteresowany przetestowaniem założeń, według których pracujemy na co dzień. Jednym z założeń, według którego pracujemy jest takie, że branie czasów w siatkówce jest użyteczne. Aby przetestować to założenie, wziąłem udział (z czytelnikiem Benem Raymondem, który wykonał prawdziwą „pracę”, czyli statystyki) w badaniu brania czasów w ligach męskiej siatkówki w Polsce i we Włoszech w minionym sezonie. Z sezonu włoskiej ligi 2015/2016 byliśmy w stanie zebrać dane wszystkich meczów z wyjątkiem jednego (131/132). Nasze wyniki są efektywnie takie same jak te z Plusligi, z jedną małą różnicą. Ale nie chcę wybiegać zbyt daleko w przyszłość.

Ogólne obserwacje

Ogólne obserwacje, które zanotowaliśmy w polskiej lidze powtarzają się w lidze włoskiej. Zebrane wspólnie sugerują, że trenerzy przynajmniej domyślnie stosują podobną startegię w używaniu przerw taktycznych.

  • Liczba czasów wziętych przez każdą drużynę sensownie współzależy ze stosunkiem setów wygranych do przegranych.
  • Częstotliwość brania czasów stale rośnie wraz z przebiegiem seta aż do momentu, gdy rywal zdobędzie 21. punkt. We Włoszech jednakże przerwa techniczna jest stosowana przy 12. punkcie.
  • Patrząc na różnicę wyników, w prawie każdej części seta zespoły częściej biorą czas kiedy przegrywają, niż kiedy prowadzą. Ulubionym wynikiem, przy którym brany jest czas to 24-22.
  • Trenerzy najczęściej biorą czas, gdy różnica punktowa wynosi -2, -3 lub -4.

Zagrywka

Jedną z prawd konwencjonalnych, którą opisałem jest taka, że błędy na zagrywce są częściej popełniane po wziętym czasie. Nie znaleźliśmy dowodu na to, by to była prawda. Tak jak w polskiej lidze, wskaźnik błędu w zagrywce po przerwie technicznej jak i taktycznej był taki sam lub mniejszy niż podczas ogólnej części seta. To mogło być spowodowane wskazówkami trenera, doświadczeniem siatkarza lub utraconą koncentracją zagrywającego.

 

Typ zagrywki Ilość zagrywek Błędy Stosunek błędów do ilości zagrywek
Ogólna część gry 20089 3331 0.160
Pierwsza zagrywka w secie 506 51 0.101
Pierwsza zagrywka po wziętym czasie 1478 253 0.162
Pierwsza zagrywka po przerwie technicznej 471 66 0.136

Aby sprawdzić czy zawodnicy naprawdę podchodzą do zagrywki inaczej w różnych momentach meczu, sprawdziliśmy odsetek asów i idealnego przyjęcia. Ogólne wyniki w tych kategoriach różniły się trochę od błędów na zagrywce w polskiej lidze, przy czym asy i idealne przyjęcie były w istocie identynczne w ogólnej części gry i po przerwie taktycznej.

Wydaje się, że włoskiej lidze wzięcie czasu nie wpływa na zagrywkę w żaden sposób.

 

Faza przyjęcia

Tak jak w polskiej lidze, około dwie trzecie wszystkich zagrywek we włoskiej lidze kończą się punktem wygranym przez drużynę przyjmującą. Ta liczba jest podobna w przypadku ogólnej gry, podczas pierwszej piłki seta, po taktycznej i technicznej przerwie. Różnica nie jest statystycznie znacząca.

 

Typ zagrywki Zagrywka przeciwnika Przyjęcie Stosunek przyjęcia do zagrywki przeciwnika
Ogólna część gry 20089 13428 0.668
Pierwsza zagrywka w secie 506 322 0.636
Pierwsza zagrywka po wziętym czasie 1478 1008 0.682
Pierwsza zagrywka po przerwie technicznej 471 294 0.624

Tak jak w polskiej lidze, nie ma znaczącego efektu brania czasu podczas jakiejkolwiek części seta. Tak samo jest w przypadku różnicy punktów.

Serie zagrywek

Ostatnią strefą, którą wzieliśmy pod uwagę w tym projekcie było to, jak te parametry zmieniały się podczas serii zagrywek. W przeciwieństwie do polskiej ligi okazało się, że prawdopodobieństwo błędów na zagrywce zmienia się ZNACZĄCO podczas serii zagrywek. Wskaźnik błędu na zagrywce jest znacząco mniejszy przy pierwszym serwisie w serii niż przy kolejnych. Podobnie jak w polskiej lidze procent przyjęcia zmienia się na gorsze. Po trzeciej zagrywce z serii odsetek przyjęcia spada, ale nie znacząco. W tej części analizy znaleźliśmy jedną specyficzną sytuację, w której wzięty czas wpłynął pozytywne na poziom przyjęcia przy kolejnej akcji. Taka sytuacja zdarza się kiedy czas jest wzięty przed tym, kiedy żadne punkty przy fazie zagrywki nie zostały jeszcze zdobyte. To znaczy PRZED rozpoczęciem serii zagrywek. Mój typ jest taki, że wszystkie te czasy były wzięte pod koniec seta, kiedy wynik był równy.

 

Wniosek

Odkryciem tego badania jest to, że branie czasu jest tak samo efektywne jak nie branie czasu. To oznacza, że taktyczne przerwy maja nieistotny wpływ na grę. Jednym wyjątkiem jest czas wzięty zanim seria zagrywek się rozpocznie. Najczęściej takie czasy byłyby wzięte pod koniec seta. Biorąc pod uwagę to, że inne czasy są nieefektywne, odkrycie tego badania sugeruje, że trzymanie czasów w rezerwie aż do końca seta może być wartościowym zagraniem taktycznym.

 

Kolejne posty z tej serii znajdziecie tutaj.

Pełne dane z ligi włoskiej znajdziecie tutaj.

Timeout Studies – Loose Ends

The four posts on the timeout studies conducting by Ben Raymond and I (here, here, here and here) unsurprisingly created some discussion points.  Many readers remain convinced that timeouts they call impact the game positively for their team.  The logic used was sometimes convoluted and difficult to follow.  Some readers had the honesty to admit that there was no evidence that could be provided that would change their minds.  I did wonder why those people would choose to participate in coaching forums, but that is just an aside.

The most common point was that since the study showed that sideout percentage returned to normal after a timeout it proved the effectiveness of timeouts.  This factually correct statement neatly sidestepped the also factually correct statement that in the absence of a timeout the sideout percentage also returned to normal.  So whatever the study ‘proved’ it was that taking a timeout and not taking a timeout were EQUALLY effective in their short term impact on sideout percentage.  If your personal bias is toward action, then you will use that information to take timeouts.  If your personal bias is somewhat neutral between action and inaction, they probably you won’t.

A second common point was that it was not the coach’s sole aim to win a single sideout so it would be more accurate to analyse a series of points before and after the timeout.  I think this is a reasonable point.  I would propose that coaches take timeouts to win a single sideout, and for some longer term objective.  I am certain that this analysis would show that the sideout percentage for the three or four points before the timeout is lower than the three or four points after the timeout.  That would be entirely consistent with the data we have, and also entirely consistent with the findings we have.  That is, there would be a statistically insignificant difference between taking a timeout and not taking a timeout.  (*See my calculations below.)

Strangely, nobody brought up other situations that happen in the game that might influence the impact of timeouts.  Substitutions take up almost as much time as timeouts, and in the Polish and Italian leagues at least, Video Challenges take up even more.  In each set, there can be up to twenty official breaks in play, of which we looked at only five or six.  We have no clue what happens with the rest of them.  And how the different breaks in play interact with each other.  Ultimately, maybe the sheer volume of all of the breaks in play negates the effect of any single break.  Maybe volleyball is so intermittent none of the breaks make any difference anyway.

My personal takeaway is simple.  We coaches overestimate our individual impact.  Perhaps in more areas than just this one.


*Scenario – Team loses 2 break points in a row then takes a timeout.  What is the change in sideout percentage for three points before and after the timeout? (Figures from Polish League)

SO rate before the timeout – 1 sideout from 3 attempts = 0.33

SO rate after the timeout (expected) – 0.668 + 0.666 + 0.666 = 0.666

Therefore, the timeout was effective in the medium term.

BUT…

if there were no timeout taken the expected SO rate after the initial series is 0.666 + 0.666 + 0.666 = 0.666

Therefore, the medium term sideout rate is also exactly the same with and without a timeout.

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Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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The Truth About Timeouts* – Part Three

As I have already mentioned in this post, this post and in many others, I am interested in testing the assumptions with which we carry out our daily work.  One of the assumptions that we work on, is that timeouts are useful.  To test this assumption, I participated (with reader Ben Raymond, who did the actual statistics parts, i.e. the ‘work’) in a study of timeouts in the Polish and Italian men’s leagues from the last season.  For the 2015/2016 Italian League, we were able to obtain data all matches except one (ie 131/132).  Our results are effectively the same as the results for the Polish Plus Liga, with one tiny difference.  But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

General Observations

The basic observations we noted for the Polish League are replicated in Italy.  Taken together this suggests that coaches at least implicitly follow a similar strategy in their usage of timeouts.

  • The number of timeouts taken by each team reasonably correlates to the set win / loss ratio of the teams.
  • The frequency of timeouts taken steadily increases over the course of a set until the opponent has a score of 21. In Italy, however the technical timeout is taken at 12.
  • Looking at score differential, at nearly all periods of the set, teams are more likely to call a timeout while trailing than while leading. The favourite score to take a timeout is 24-22.
  • Coaches most often take timeouts with a point differential of -2, -3 and -4.

Serving

One assumption, or conventional wisdom, that I have written about is that there are more service errors after timeouts.  We did not find that to be true. As in the case with the Polish League the error rate after tactical and technical timeouts was the same or less than in general play.  This could be due to coach’s instructions, or player experience, or the server’s concentration being broken. Continue reading

The Truth About Timeouts* – Part Two

As I have already mentioned in my last post and in many others, I am interested in testing the assumptions with which we carry out our daily work.  One of the assumptions that we work on, is that timeouts are useful.  To test this assumption, I participated (with reader Ben Raymond, who did the actual statistics parts, i.e. the ‘work’) in a study of timeouts in the Polish and Italian men’s leagues from the last season.  For the 2015/2016 Polish Plus Liga, we were able to obtain data for over 70% of the matches (143/181).  We found out some interesting things.

As an explanatory note, in this post I am trying to summarise and simplify the findings and not add too much in the way of tables and figures that impact the flow of the post.  Therefore there are a couple of footnotes with extra information.  All use of the world ‘significant’ is in its statistical sense. The final paper with all notes, discussion, tables and figures will be linked later.

Serving

One assumption, or conventional wisdom, that I have written about is that there are more service errors after timeouts.  We did not find that to be true.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The first serve of the set and serves after both tactical and technical timeouts produce lower error rates than serves in general play.  This result could be explained in two ways.  Either the conventional wisdom that is confirmed by years and years of confirmation bias is not actually true.  Or professional players, instructed by their coaches, or through years of training, approach serving at these moments differently which leads to different outcomes. Continue reading

The Truth About Timeouts*

The conventional wisdom is that using timeouts are an important coaching skill.  A very good coach is able to positively influence the outcome of sets and matches by the correct timing and use of the available timeouts.  Conversely a less skilled coach loses opportunities that his team would otherwise have to had.  My opinion on conventional wisdom is, I hope, by this point in time fairly clear, as is my leaning on timeouts.  To summarise, conventional wisdom must be ruthlessly challenged and there is no actual evidence that timeouts influence the game.

To test the effects of timeouts I participated (with reader Ben Raymond, who did the actual statistics parts, ie the ‘work’) in a study of timeouts in the Polish and Italian men’s leagues from the last season.  For the 2015/2016 Polish Plus Liga, we were able to obtain data for over 70% of the matches (143/181).  We found out some interesting things. Some of those things are obvious.  But because they have never (to our knowledge) actually been tested before, the results are still important.  Some of those things are strange. But we’ll get to those later.

Some basic observations…

  • The number of timeouts taken by each team reasonably correlates to the set win / loss ratio of the teams. Teams that win more sets take less timeouts.  Teams that lose more take more timeouts.  This suggests that at least implicitly all coaches follow a similar timeout strategy.  For the record, because I know you want to know, I am a slight outlier.  I take fewer timeouts than my win / loss record suggests I need / needed.  I will leave you to interpret that however you would like.
  • The frequency of timeouts taken steadily increases over the course of a set until the opponent has a score of 21. However, there are exceptions.  Coaches take less timeouts just before a technical timeout which occurs in the Plus Liga at 8 and 16.  It seems that after a score of 21, teams losing have likely already used their timeouts, although this isn’t explicit in the data.
  • Looking at score differential, at nearly all periods of the set, teams are more likely to call a timeout while trailing than while leading. The exception is a between 22 and 24.  23 – 21 is a particularly popular moment to call a timeout.  It is also common to take timeouts early in a set, i.e. before 5 if the opponent has gone out to a quick lead.

timeouts by score and differential

  • Coaches most likely take timeouts with a point differential of -2, -3 and -4. These three cases account for about 50% of all timeouts.  About 25% of timeouts are taken by the team leading at the time.

timeouts by differential

In the next post, we will look at how timeouts effect sideout percentage and serve efficiency.

All comments are welcomed.  Further parts of this series can be found here, here and here.

* Truth in this context means the truth about timeouts in one league and in one season.

Win Forever™, Quietly

ancelotti

The central thesis of the Carlo Ancelotti‘s book ‘Quiet Leadership’ is that effective leadership does not necessarily require stereotypical ‘loud’ skills.  In Ancelotti’s words,

“The kind of quiet I am talking about is a strength. There is power and authority in being calm and measured, in building trust and making decisions coolly, in using influence and persuasion and being professional in your approach.”

The book is a good read with many testimonials from the great players he has coached (Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Beckham, Maldini).  Interestingly, all the testimonials include some version of the statement ‘Of course his tactics and training were good, but what was most important was to his success was his personality.’  A major recurring theme of his book is that a coach must work within the range of his own personality.  A coach must be genuine.  If he is not, then the players will not follow him.pete carroll

The central thesis of Pete Carroll‘s book ‘Win Forever’ is win forever.  The introduction to the book is one of the most inspiring chapters of any coach’s book I have ever read.  He describes the moment of reaching a crossroad in his career.  Using the time to reflect on his personal philosophy and values, he realised that his coaching until that point had not been true to those philosophies and values.  By deliberately taking the time to develop a training system that was true to those values and philosophies he was then able to do a much better job in his next two coaching jobs and became the Pete Carroll we know today.

After reading the introduction, I was excited to read the rest of the book.  Jose Mourinho also talked of taking the time to create his personal ‘manifesto’ (although at the beginning of his career, perhaps explaining why he has had no crossroads), so I expected that the book would go through that process as he did it and provide some valuable new insights.  As is the way of the world, hopes prematurely raised they are inevitably crushed.  The rest of the book was an explanation of his coaching methods, with numerous mentions of how I too could tap into these methods through his company and website, not coincidently entitled ‘Win Forever™’.  If I followed the ‘Win Forever™’ formula, I too could win forever.  The methods themselves are interesting, moreso if you haven’t read any of the great coaches from previous generations (Lombardi, Walsh, Landry).  If you have read those coaches, all you need from this book you can read the introduction on amazon.com’s ‘Look Inside’.

So what is really the central thesis of ‘Win Forever’?  Carroll explains that his coaching career didn’t not reach its potential until he took the time to understand himself and create a process that was uniquely his.  Therein lies the fundamental disconnect in the book.  The main portion of the book then tells the reader (over and over again) that the way to success is to buy his methods.  The methods that work because they are uniquely fit in with his philosophies and values.

So Pete, should I develop a coaching process that is uniquely mine and fits with my personality?  Or should I buy the process that fits with your personality?  Carlo knows the answer.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.Cover v2