More Platonov Wisdom

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There are many books that can teach you about tactics and techniques. There are very few books that can teach you about coaching. My Profession: The Game by Russian coaching legend Vyacheslav Platonov is one of those very few. I could not recommend it more highly. To purchase this wonderful coaching resource, click here. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite.

I hardly ever worked with novices. Players under my wing were usually boys aged sixteen to eighteen years. However I never attempted to retrain them, break their technique, although I regard many elements of technique different from other coaches. I tried to guide their techniques into optimal, rational courses. Volleyball technique is very individual; nevertheless it has common aspects which must be mastered by all players. To instil technique into a player is like carrying out a jeweller’s task on a gem.

Always learn, perfect, invent. It is the law of sport, the law of the game, the law of life. For players, always set goals which are high but within their capabilities. Where there is a goal, there is a way to reach it. A correct path to that goal is the context of the cooperative process between coach and player.

Players of average class and average possibilities are used to striving for success that is reached by prolonged, persistent effort, and beginning a coaching career they bank on success through painstaking work.

The depth of a coach’s skill lies in his ability when dealing with the team, to select the right approach, depending on the individual characteristics of the players.

Admitting that you were wrong will not undermine the coach’s authority; on the contrary it will strengthen that authority. Only strong people, professionals who are confident in their mastery and knowledge, acknowledge their mistakes.

The first commandment of substitutions is: “Do not harm the team.” This refers not only to the coach but also to the player who enters the court. If the team is floundering then it is time for you, the coach, to enter the fray and start your ‘coach’s games’ with substitutions and timeouts. However before you commence, analyse the causes of the poor performance by your team and whether your changes can alter the course of play. Maybe it will lead to a collapse? Maybe it is better to let the team find its own rhythm again? Perhaps you need to find some strong, rousing words, that is, exert a psychological influence. A substitution must not be a lottery; it must always have real, solid reasoning behind it. If the substitution does not work, reject it immediately and return the subbed players to the court. Do not be stubborn or obstinate. In theory you may be one hundred percent correct, but at that moment there are no winners, only losers.

Always remember that players on the court have a tough job and from you they expect help, not curses and criticism, although the latter may help in very rare cases. Love your players during the match, have pity for them, understand their problems then the tone and content of your instructions will be of benefit to the game.

The game is the crowning glory of all the labours suffered at training.

However in the course of combat, no matter how emotional and angry you may become, you are obliged to harness your negative emotions and act like a gentleman. Anger and fury are one thing, lack of discipline, hate and unfair tricks are completely different.

Yes, you need to search for weak spots in your opponents’ game; this demonstrates the mastery of a coach that is to show the team the most rational way to victory. But, in destroying you must create.

For the players to put their minds and strength into the game is not enough for victory. They must also put in their souls. The team that gives up to the game all its strengths and puts into it its mind and soul cannot leave the court defeated.

During the game you should only set tasks that had been executed successfully at training that morning, otherwise the team may lose confidence or think that the coach is convinced of victory and is introducing some incomprehensible experiments in a match against serious opponents.

Shouting and swearing are always signs of weakness in a coach, rather than indicators of his power and righteousness

To purchase this wonderful coaching resource, click here.

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