Bad Coaching 101

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A week or so ago, I asked on the facebook page how much the rules of the game drive or guide the development of technique.  As always it led to an interesting discussion.  Thanks to everyone who contributed their two cents worth.  However, by framing discussion as I did I masked my true intent.

The question was ‘inspired’ by several experiences I have had in the last couple of months working with and observing coaches in action.  In my observations many coaches, far too many coaches, are conducting their trainings without respecting the most basic rules of volleyball.

The most basic rules of volleyball, in some order, are:

– The ball cannot be caught

– The ball cannot touch the ground

– The ball must go over the net and into the court

– The lines must be respected

It completely staggers me that I can go into a gym watch a practice in which the most basic rules of volleyball are not followed.  I have been watching players catching the ball if it is not in the ‘correct’ position, using a fourth contact because they weren’t satisfied with the first, spiking out and into the antenna with impunity, setters touching the net on every set, every kind of foot fault you can imagine and of course dozens and dozens of uncontested balls landing at players’ feet.

If you are not following the above rules you are not practicing volleyball.  I have heard it said that players were not able to respect the rules because they lack the technical ability to do it.  I do not and can not accept this explanation. The rules of the game must come before technique.  And as I alluded to, in many cases drive technique.

If you do not respect the rules of volleyball in your practice your players are not learning to play volleyball and you are wasting everyone’s time. It really is that simple.


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Cover v2


  1. I’m curious, do teams practice returning the second ball back to their own side of the court outside the antennae after it has gone outside the antenna on the first ball?


    1. We won’t do whole drills for it, but we will have some situations in normal drill situations.
      With young teams I have specifically practiced running under the net to retrieve those balls.


  2. Living in Romania and watching from time to time some games in from the first division I am surprised to see some players lacking basic training technique which we learnt in the high school.


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