Tag Archives: Volleyball

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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Hugh McCutcheon Quotes

I don’t think it is a secret that Hugh McCutcheon is one of the most successful and well known coaches in the world.  As someone who thinks a lot about the game, and has had success at every level, a lot of the things he says turn out to be pretty wise.  Here is a collection of quotes and thoughts of his that have appeared on this blog, and elsewhere, over the last few years.

On practice

“Practice is the battle you must win.”

On setting your goals

“We don’t have to be great.  We had to play good volleyball for extended periods of time”

On the ups and downs of high performance sport

“It’s not all rainbows and ponies.”

On the ‘USA System’

“I would hate for people to think there is some kind of coaching algorithm that we just throw out there (that) everyone walks in one end and walks out the other and we’ve got it all grooved in.  There’s a lot of art and science that goes into the coaching deal.  They’re learning, we’re learning, we’re all trying to figure it out.”

“(There is nothing trademarkable about the ‘system.’)  Coaching is about finding a system that works for your players.  There are some underlying principles which are applied in any coaching situation but it’s about picking the lock to get this group of players to play the best volleyball they’re capable of playing for a long period of time.”

On switching from coaching men to coaching women

“It’s a really interesting change that’s really forcing me to evolve as a coach, to keep growing and developing and trying to keep getting better.”

On the possibility of working both in Europe during the club season and with the National Team during the international season

“There are pros and cons to working the European season and the national team season.  In Europe you get better at coaching in matches.  But the advantage we’ve found by having a group of players year round, is that we get better at teaching, which is a critical component of the job.  It is about teaching and coaching and if you have a choice you’d rather be a better teacher than coach.  If you teach them the right way, they can get out and play just fine on their own and hope you don’t get in the way.  Ideally you’re good at both.”

On the US program being primarily a ‘teaching’ program

“There are phases for both (teaching and coaching).  We want to get better every day.  And the way you do that is put the athletes in an environment that work on their volleyball skills and give them feedback appropriate to that.  It’s not a complex formula.  It just takes a lot of time and energy and a lot of conviction.  You need to have a system that you believe in and a technical foundation that you want to establish.”

On perfectionism

“It’s a pretty self indulgent habit.  And I think ultimately it is very selfish. ‘My performance has to be perfect for me to be happy on this team right now.’  So what you’ve got to talk to them about is that nobody’s played the perfect game of volleyball yet and it’s sure as hell not going to happen today.  So let’s just take that off the table.  What we need to talk about is process.  How about you cover every ball.  How about you call every time.  How about you go and support your teammates every time.  How about you get your approach footwork right, your double arm lift, and get loaded and work on the things you are supposed to work on to get better at this game.  So you can have perfect process.  You can demand that.  You should demand that.  But perfectionism is a selfish and kind of pretentious thing that players use to kind of protect themselves, preventing themselves from actually engaging in the process.”

On yelling

“If you yell all the time, how do they know if you’re really angry?”

On satisfaction

“As head coaches, we are perpetually dissatisfied.”


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Coaching Tip Of The Week #7

“The first time you do anything it is terrible”

When you start a weight training program, you have a period at the beginning that during which improvement is very fast.  Sadly this is not due to improved strength, but due to learning the how to perform the movement correctly.  It is known as the Learning Effect.  Only after the Learning Effect has taken place do you start to see the improvements that are caused by muscle adaptation through the weights program.

That same concept can be seen in other areas in the training environment.  For example, any new drill that the coach tries in practice has a period in which the players and team are learning how the drill works.  At some point performance off the drill improves significantly.  This is not actual skill development, but a Learning Effect.  And it is important to note that before the Learning Effect performance is terrible.  The same applies with warm up or small sided games.  Any time the coach introduces a new game, before the Learning Effect takes place performance is terrible.

The lesson is, the first time you do anything in practice, don’t expect performance to be excellent.  Relax and let the players work out how to do the drill.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Suggested Rule Change 

In 2015 FIVB changed the rules of the game, specifically the size of the playing area.  The free space behind the court was reduced from 7m to 5m.  The stated reason was to allow more space for spectators. 

I wrote about it at the time as it is in every way a ridiculous idea.  Firstly, a smaller playing area reduces the space in which players have to chase down the ball and therefore decreases the length of rallies.  Increasing the length of rallies has been the major goal of FIVB for at least as long as I have been alive (hint: think if a number greater than 49).  Secondly, anyone who has ever been in a big stadium knows that space will never, ever be filled by spectators.  As you can see in the photo above, the space between the edge of the playing area and the start of spectators seating is flat. Any seating that is set up in the space will have a terrible view and no-one will want to sit there*.  In short the change is nonsensical and the reason illogical.

So this is my proposal.  If you want to make rallies longer, the obvious solution is to make the playing area BIGGER.  The more room the players have to run, the balls are playable and the longer the rallies will be.  And don’t legislate the maximum size if the playing area.  If you play in Krakow in the Tauron Arena (as a above) have 10 metres in all directions. If the stadium is smaller then you have less space, but still the maximum available.  Crowds love it when players run a long way.  Give them what they want.

*Thirdly (but don’t tell anyone), these huge stadiums are beautiful and impressive but hardly ever full for volleyball matches anyway.  

Foot Defence Is Alright

I am sure that there are some people who have read this blog, or heard me talk, or been in my gym who think that I hate all defensive actions with the feet. Those people are misguided.  I have no issues at all with players using their feet to play the ball. I do however have issues with players not being ready to play the ball and using their feet to mask their laziness.  I have an issue with coaches who don’t recognise those actions for what they are and let their players get away with it.  And I have issues with people who highlight that laziness as something all players should aspire to.

Sometimes, just sometimes, using the feet to play the ball is the required action. And sometimes those players are rewarded.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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Ayak Bileği Yaralanmalarını Önleme

My recent post on preventing ankle injuries has been translated into Turkish by Serdar Mengi from the volleyball portal voleybolaktuel.com.  The translation appears here.

Ayak bileği burkulması, her düzeyde voleybolda en sık görülen akut yaralanmalardır. Yayınlanan bu makaleye göre, yaralanma nedeniyle kaybedilen süre, toplam sürenin % 30’unu oluşturuyor. Bu nedenle, teknik direktör mantıksal olarak, ekibindeki ayak bileği burkulmalarının sayısını ve şiddetini azaltması gerektiğinin farkında olmalıdır. Burkulmayı önlemek için, mantıksal olarak oyuncuların ayak bileklerini bantladığını ve / veya birkaç farklı ayak bileği koruyucusu kullandığı görülüyor. Ancak belki de bu tür bir yaralanmayı önlemek için daha fazla şey yapmamız gerekiyor. Sorunu biraz inceleyecek olursak.

Göz önüne alınması gereken ilk şey, ayak bileğindeki burkulmaların yaygın olması. Biz en yaygın voleybol yaralanmalarının bu olduğunu biliyoruz, fakat aslında bu gerçek mi?  2014 Dünya Şampiyona’sında, her 420 maçtan birinde, tek bir voleybalcu için bir ayak bileği burkulma ihtimalinin çok yüksek olduğu hesaplandı. Farklı bir bakış açısıyla baktığımızda, son iki sezonda bir ayak bileği burkulması yaşadım. Her oyuncunun sezon başına 50 net eylemi geçekleştirdiği var sayılırsa (hücum + blok gibi), bu 17.500 potansiyel yaralanmaya denk gelir. Pasörleri  ve liberoları çıkartacak olursanız, takımda on oyuncu kalır ve  iki sezon boyunca 175,000 potansiyel yaralanma, 1 gerçek sakatlık gerçekleşti. Bilinen ayak bileği burkulmaları yaygın bir voleybol yaralanması olduğudur, aslında bu kadar yaygın değildir. Aslında, bu miktar şaşırtıcı derecede nadirdirler.

Şimdi bir ayak bileği burkulmasının gerçekleşmesini düşünelim. En basit haliyle, iki (veya daha fazla) kişi aynı zemini kullanmaya çalıştığında bir ayak bileği burkulması oluşur. Ayak bileği burkulmalarını önlemenin en belirgin yolu, iki oyuncunun aynı zemini kullanmaya çalışmamasını sağlamaktır. Bunların daha az bir kısmı ise, koçun uygun sistem ve yapıları yerine getirmediğinden kaynaklanmaktadır. Her durumda sistem ve yapılar net olmalıdır.  Bu aynı zamanda taktiksel olarak mantıklıdır, çünkü aynı bölgede yer alan iki oyuncu karışıklığa neden olur ve diğer alanları açık bırakır. Oyuncu yerleşiminde ve aynı yerde yer almalarının önemli bir nedeni de olan vesilelerin çoğunluğu konsantrasyon eksikliğinden kaynaklanmaktadır. Son on yılda, konsantrasyon eksikliğinden kaynaklanmayan, içinde bulunduğum herhangi bir uygulamada tek bir ayak bileği burkulması hatırlamıyorum. Bu, genel olarak odaklanma eksikliği veya yorulmadan kaynaklanabilir. Tecrübelerime dayanarak söyleyebilirim ki, oyuncuların sıklıkla yorgun düştükleri ve en az odaklandıkları sezonun son ayında ayak bileği burkulmalarının% 80’i ortaya çıkıyor.

Özetlemek gerekirse, ayak bileği burkulması inanılmaz derecede nadirdir. Ve bu nadir sakatlığı önlemenin en iyi yolları ; iyi bir yerleşim sistemi, Eğitim ve antremanları iyi yönetmek, tamamen odaklanmaya yönelik bir ortam oluşturmaktır.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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National Team Preparation

This week we started with the Australian National Team, Volleyroos if you will, in Jastrzebie Zdroj. We chose Jastrzebie Zdroj, the home of my club team Jastrzebski Wegiel, rather than AIS mostly for logistical reasons.  The players are mostly based in Europe and our first World League round is in Slovakia, a two hour drive from here.  In Jastrzebie we are able to optimise the acclimatisation process and my club has been able to host us in their wonderful facility.

For the first week I invited well known ex-players and current coaches Andrea Anastasi and Stefen Hubner to work with particular position groups. The three mornings Andrea spent with the receivers and Stefan with the middle blockers imparting their hard earned knowledge will stand us in good stead for the upcoming season.  In addition to those two, many coaches from around the region (and the world) dropped by the sessions to see us work out.

Right now the guys are enjoying a sunny, spring weekend in Poland, except for the guys here in the gym doing extra reps on their day off. 🙂 🙂 Next week we travel to Czech Republic for some scrimmages.  Further friendly matches are coming up against Iran, Poland and Canada.

Scroll down for a full team and staff list.

Hubner one of the best Middle Blocker work over BLOCK with @ausvolley #pallavolo #volleyball #siatkówka #AA

A post shared by AA 🇮🇹 (@anastasi60) on

 

PLAYERS

Setters

Harry Peacock

Arash Dosanjh

Carsten Moeller

Opposites

Paul Carroll

Lincoln Williams

Mitch Tulley

Outside Hitters

Nathan Roberts

Paul Sanderson

Sam Walker

Tom Douglas-Powell

Luke Smith

Jordan Richards

Max Staples

Middle Blockers

Travis Passier

Beau Graham

Trent O’Dea

Simon Hone

Nehemiah Mote

Liberos

Luke Perry

Gerrard Lipscombe

 

STAFF

National Team

Mark Lebedew

Luke Reynolds

Lauren Bertolacci

Liam Sketcher

Leszek Dejewski

Bogdan Szczebak

Darren Austin

Pawel Baryla

Giorgio Poetto

John Boultbee

Paulina Pawliczek

Guests

Andrea Anastasi

Stefan Hubner

Visiting

Wojciech Serafin

John Forman

Dimar Skoryy