Coaching Tip #80

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80 - do no harm

Tagged Player Development, Team Development

The Hippocratic Oath is famously the oath of ethics made by doctors as part of their education.  The most famous part of the oath is the line “First, do no harm”.  This seems like a good place to start for any profession, even coaches.  There are three areas that a coach could potentially harm their players.

Technically – One will often hear coaches talking about ‘fixing’ their players.  Technique is important in volleyball, but too often coaches will fixate on a particular version of a technique.  They will attempt to force players to change perfectly acceptable techniques actually making the player worse.  There is no reason to ‘fix’ something that isn’t broken.

Physically – Many coaches live by the mantra that every minute / hour / session is absolutely vital for the player.  They will go on to insist that small injuries are ‘part of the game’ and playing on ‘a sign of toughness’.  Missing one session today, is many times better than missing one week next month, or dropping out of a sport due to chronic injury.

Psychologically – Coaches often get a free pass on all sorts of antisocial behavior because they are coaches.  If it is abuse or bullying when done by a teacher or colleague, it is abuse or bullying when done by a coach.  End of story.

Do no harm.


A collection of more Coaching Tips can be found here.


For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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