Every eight year old knows that even the simplest concepts can be distorted beyond all reasonable comprehension through repetition (and yet we mindlessly accept oral traditions). So it with some trepidation that I pass on observations that another person made of something a further person said. The USA Volleyball Federation recently held a High Performance seminar where all national team coaches were present and presented. John Kessel wrote some notes about it here. By reading my comments you can hopefully guess the original context, or you can read the ‘original’ review and try to guess the original context from there.
A couple of my points that stood out for me.
– The comment about coaches not playing the ball over the net themselves, but playing it to a player to play the ball over the net. Among other things, players then learn where they must play a free ball to gain an advantage. This is a type of drill I do sometimes that in many cases seems to lift the competitiveness of the practice, as well as obviously being more specific. Having said that, I also throw the ball in at various other parts of the chain to practice different situations.
– Using string above the net when practicing serving creates new ways for players to understand. I like this point especially because I have had some really good success in the last month with using elastic for both serving and blocking. There is something I really, really love about float serve aces. It’s by far the best 2 euros I’ve spent this season.
– “Feedback is the most important factor in learning and changing behaviour”. But two extra points from me. The drill/game provides feedback. Be sure that it is the feedback you want to provide and be sure that the feedback you are giving is consistent with the feedback given by the drill. And the absence of verbal feedback is actually feedback in itself. What you don’t say can be just as important as what you do say.
– I like the idea of the radar gun for serving that costs less than $100. The only problem is that the one I bought only works from a distance of less than 10m and from directly in front of the server, preferably from the direct trajectory. That is okay for serving drills if you have an assistant who can hold it above his head, but I am not convinced that serving drills, even with speed measurement, are all that they are cracked up to be. I would much prefer to be able to use a gun in scrimmages.
Anyway, a few more points to consider.