How You Really Win

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The process of preparing to win is well documented.  Coaches plan, prepare, scout and motivate and if they do that better than the other team, they will win.  It is pretty obvious and pretty clear that is how things work.  When it works like that, coaches happily accept the accolades that their great work deserves.

Except that is only part of the whole story.  There is another part of winning that is completely out of the hands of coaches, and directly in the hands of the players, or not in anyone’s hands at all.

Individual inspiration, team desire and luck make the difference in far more matches than coaches typically like to acknowledge**.

In this match between Zawiercie and Rzeszow, the score was 6-12 in the 5th set.  The match was over.  The coaches had done their work, either good or bad.  But one player was inspired, one team refused to lose and one team got lucky.  6-12 becomes 15-13 in the most improbable finish I have ever been involved in.

**There is an argument that the coach’s work directly creates an atmosphere that allows individual inspiration and team desire to prosper, or at least doesn’t crush the possibility for it to rise to the surface.  I subscribe to that argument, but it is a conversation for another day.

The initial collection of 50 Coaching Tips can be found here.


  1. This is a very interesting post and I love to see posts like this so thank you!

    So when it comes to winning, and I’m going to speak from experience with professional men’s volleyball, even though I’m not a man, if that is ok…thanks. Simply put the team with the best budget who can buy the best players usually has a winning advantage. However, when the budget and players are evenly matched, the coach can make a big difference (especially if he’s the one choosing the players.) Good coaches understand how to build (the components) of a team, how to motivate, how to create a group dynamic and how to choose leaders.
    But I agree, very much with your statements about individual inspiration, team desire and luck. The truth is that the moment the coach puts the players on the court, there isn’t much they can do to win, because that part is more often than not, determined by the players . All the stats, video, and prep can only take a team so far. When the games starts the players must find what motivates them individually and as a group to be victorious. Individual inspiration comes from a little bit of freedom to create ways to score and the fire/desire in them to win, and for each person that is different. The team desire is the collective effort of the group and what motivates the team to win. Brasil is an excellent example of great team desire. They genuinely love each other and play so well together generation after generation. Team desire is ingrained in them. And of course luck, some times refs steal points or inches in or out can determine the outcome of sets and matches, it happens. And that’s just how it is! Thanks again!


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