Don’t Blame The Rules… (Part Two)

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I have had and heard several discussions in recent years about the current ball handling rules that allow ‘double hits’ on the first contact.  What I often hear is that the game has become less skillful and ‘dumbed down’.  I find these statements to be utterly at odds with my personal experience.  Volleyball players are far more skilled than they have ever been in the past.  Twenty years ago it was easy to produce an aesthetically pleasing underarm pass in very large part because the serve took several seconds to arrive at its target.  In 2014 serving is many degrees more difficult, especially the jump float serve.  When I watch women’s volleyball I am constantly astounded at how they can receive at all.  I would contend that the technical proficiency required to receive those serves is extremely high, although it doesn’t seem to meet the aesthetic requirements of some.

Just because a particular technique becomes legal it does not mean it is automatically better and it definitely does not mean that coaches are required to use it.  The reality is that at the highest level the ability to successfully perform an underarm pass continues to be an essential requirement.   All players should learn and be proficient at it.  However, I understand that many coaches teach their young players to receive serve in the first instance with an overhand pass, leading to the ‘unskillful’ and ‘dumbed down’ comments of appointed judges… er, spectators. As I wrote in my last post, it is vital to remember that the coach controls his own training environment.  It is the coach who decides which techniques to teach his players and at what stage in the development.

So if you are unhappy with the technical (and aesthetic) level of the players, don’t blame the rules…

… blame the coaches.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

Cover v2


  1. After watching my first high school tournament, immediately post club, it was amazing to see how many points were lost by players not instructed on how to maintain their body position or had limited awareness at the net…it was worse to see multiple players go down to injury for the same reason – being unnecessarily placed in the high-risk position of contact with untrained players. While you may purport a responsibility of the individual coach I contend that the governing body has and equal if not greater obligation to its sport and its participants. It is the coaches’ responsibility to train players; however to be subjected to a need to train players to avoid ‘untrained’ players becomes a competitive disadvantage with the need to spend time/repetition doing so.
    So, blame the rule makers…blame them for their limited foresight, lack of comprehensive training materials to address the unintended consequences, and money-grabbing tactics (a separate issue altogether)


    1. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
      It is interesting that you relate this to competitive advantage. You clearly state the players are ‘not instructed’ and are ‘untrained’. Both of those are coaching issues not rules issues. Furthermore you state that they are losing points because of it. Which is obviously a competitive disadvantage.
      Coaches are neither instructing nor training their players and therefore placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
      Not rules: Coaches.
      Teaching players correct techniques and holding them to high standards, including respecting the net and centre line, gives teams / coaches / players a very clear competitive advantage. If coaches are not doing that, that is a failing of coach education.
      Not rules: Coaches.


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