I wrote once before that coaching is a people activity and at different times I said during presentations that all technical information is available on the internet (for example here). What I am trying to say is that knowledge is (relatively) easy to gather and that there are no excuses in the internet age for a lack of technical knowledge about volleyball and what I am trying to imply is that the skill in coaching (the art, if you will) lies in what you do with the knowledge, the ability to analyse and to deal with people. But is it really so easy to accumulate technical knowledge. A couple of conversations I have had over the last few days have reminded of the many contradictory tales I have heard over the years.
I have been lucky enough to work in five different countries (including Australia), with coaches of at least five different nationalites and players of over 20 nationalities, as well as my own research and observations. Different countries/coaches/leagues have their own philosophies and methods, many of which have been successful. Normally a measure of success is can indicate the validity of a philosophy or method. But what if they are contradictory? Some of my favourites…
“We believe there is one way to do things that is better than all other ways” – Luckily I didn’t turn off at this point, because I learnt many valuable things even after this statement. One of them was NOT that there is only one way to do things, as you will read.
‘The legs are the most important factor in reception’; ‘The arms are the most important factor in reception’. Both of those coaches won World Championships.
‘It is impossible to rotate around a single point in the core’; ‘Power is maximised only through rotation through the core’. Only the second coach had actual international success, but the first had enormous domestic success and developed a large number of players.
About Training Defence
One team NEVER trained defence from spikers standing on boxes. One team paid ex players to spike at their players from boxes. Both won Olympic Gold Medals, and incidently played each in the final.
‘You can’t play until you know the techniques’; ‘You can’t learn the techniques unless you play’. Both systems won Olympic Gold Medals.
‘Stretching before practice is at best useless and at worst negatively affects performance’; ‘You can’t begin practice until you have stretched for at least 20 minutes’. 3 Olympic Gold medals v. 3 World Championships Gold medals
‘The hurdler stretch is absolutely forbidden’; ‘The hurdler stretch is very important’
About Weight Training
‘Receivers should never do bench press’; ‘Bench press is a core exercise’
Cleans should be done from above the knee/below the knee/the ground
‘Hamstring curls is a key prevention exercise for knees’; ‘Hamstring curls do nothing to prevent knee pain/injury’
Here there are far, far too many to mention. Although an honourable mention should go to the coach who insisted that trying to block a spiker’s best shot was not a valid tactic, at least if you have a ‘system’.
So, I’m confused… Which is the ‘right’ way?