The Keith Richards memoir is an interesting and entertaining read. The passage that most grabbed my attention today was about the generosity and the spirit of sharing amongst musicians. “Mostly there are no secrets; everybody swaps ideas.” Which got me thinking about the different between music and volleyball. In volleyball there are no secrets either. All coaching methods, techniques and tactics are readily available through the internet or a hundred other places, either directly or indirectly. And yet there are many who think they’ve discovered some special secret, which gives them such an advantage that they cannot possibly share it with anyone else. I’ve encountered one or two of those in my time. There was one who said straight out that he had spent a lot of his own money to gather his knowledge so why should he share it with anyone. However, the one that stands out most in my mind is a coach I worked with created a reputation for himself as something of an expert on setting. He may have been but I don’t know. We worked at a couple of National Junior Team camps together but he steadfastly refused to divulge any information about setting and at one point actually refused to let me help him with a drill so I wouldn’t even be able observe. And we were actually supposed to be working for the same team. I can only presume he imparted at least some of his ‘wisdom’ on the actual setters, although nothing would surprise me. What these coaches tend to do in a frantic attempt to maintain their secret is stop actually learning anything, I mean why would they, they already know the secret. Like everything, volleyball suffers in the end.
I’ve experienced this in many places, but my experience with Italians is different. They seem to understand things a little differently. Among Italian coaches there seems to be a much greater sense of community and they are always willing to learn. At one clinic I went to in Italy a couple of years ago, there were World and European champions and various league champions and National Team coaches sitting amongst the local school coaches, all learning and sharing. It seems to me that these coaches understand that what is good for volleyball is ultimately good for all of them. The stronger the sport and the league are, the more employment opportunities available for everyone. And they further understand that information is NOT the secret. The secret is what you do with the information, and in this each coach is individual and can’t be replicated.
As Keith Richards implicitly knew: It doesn’t matter how many people knew his techniques, there is only one Keith Richards.