Why I Don’t Teach Calling – The Sequel

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I don’t teach players to call for the ball.  I try to teach players who should play the ball in each situation for the best possible team outcome, in the short and long term.  Sometimes it is better for a ball to bounce and players to learn a lesson than the wrong player to play the ball and nobody learn anything.  But I digress.   The point is that I wrote a post about it a while ago that had some resonance (and was even translated into German).  At a course I conducted a little later the same topic created quite a spirited and enjoyable discussion.  Huy, who both read the original post and participated in the discussion has written something on his experiences on the subject which I greatly enjoyed.  You can read it here.


  1. G’day Mark,
    I have just left a comment on Huy’s post as I was also coaching at the same tournament – against him in a very exciting Preliminary Final. I used your original post as a helping hand to overcome the difficulties of getting a a team of 12 year old girls to work together. As a player it was something that happened organically and I didn’t really think about it much. Since I have been off the court the psychological side of the game has become much more obvious (and mysterious) to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris
      I’m glad the original post was helpful. It is a big topic for me. The pecking order stuff goes to the very highest levels, although not in good teams. My personal opinion is that many coaches who really push calling for the ball use that in the absence of a system. But that is just an opinion.
      The psychological / team stuff is the most interesting stuff. As Hugh writes in the column below the game is played by people with all of the attendant joys and annoyances that brings.


  2. Cheers Mark. Glad you liked the post! For me this is of particular existentialist interest.

    What i have always liked about volleyball is it can be an “abstraction” of existence and doesn’t need to follow the illusion of life. But then again, it’s played by people. The perfect system will only ever go so far 😦


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