“Bad outcome ≠ Bad decision”
One of the greatest myths of the universe is that all things follow a simple cause and effect; if x happens, then y happens. Conversely, if y happened, after x happened, then x was the cause. As most coaches know, this is certainly how decisions are viewed from the outside, by press / management / fans / parents. And as coaches also know, it is very easy to fall into that very trap as an individual, to think that if the match was dependent on one or two simple decisions made along the way.
In reality, this is nonsense. For one thing, there is no simple cause and effect. For another thing, there are as many correct decisions that do not work as there wrong decisions that miraculously lead to success. For the coach it is important to sort through these decisions and try to work out which was which, including (especially) the wrong decisions that ‘worked’.
When judging decisions the most important thing is to use the information that was available at the time. After the fact, there is always new information, not least of which is the outcome. If the decision was sound based on the available information, but unsound based on other information, you need to work out how to be better informed in the first place. If the information was sound, then you need to through the steps you made and work out where the fault was.
Whatever the outcome of your review, don’t forget that there are millions of actions created by millions of decisions by tens of people during the course of a volleyball match. The chance that any one of your actions (or anyone else’s) was decisive to the outcome is minuscule, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
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