Julio Velasco on Playing Well

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velasco hpp


In 2015, Julio Velasco presented to the USA High Performance Coaches Conference in 2015. I saw a bootleg video of his presentation. Here are my notes.


  • We used to coach volleyball as a a closed skill, it was only ‘technique, technique’. This has changed in the last 20-25 years.
  • Why do we say athletes and not players?
  • A lot of coaches know about technique, but do not a lot know about the game. When they talk about the game, they talk about how it should be, and not how it is.
  • As coaches, we need a movie in our heads of how the game should be played. It should be a match of our own team, playing at its own level, playing well. (NB he returned to this idea several times in the presentation.)
  • The first thing players must do is to interpret the situation.
    • Players who don’t solve the situation NOT because of poor technique but because of poor understanding, or because they are expecting a standard situation and don’t see it.
  • The second thing is to find the solution to the problem that exists, not the problem the player expects.
    • As coaches we focus too much on the fault, and not enough on the solution.
    • The real team experience is not good personal relationships, it is on game relationships.
  • The third thing is to carry out the solution. This is a technical plus physical problem.
  • As coaches we have to know is the error a lack of skill or the wrong choice?
    • In practice when you use an error correction drill format, there is a technical component and a decision making component. That is, if the error is technical, repeat the technique. If the error is decision making, repeat the choice.
    • As I coach I need to understand the game. Watching matches is what I use to teach myself understanding
  • In coaching, make videos of specific situations and how other players solve problems.
    • When talking the players, don’t tell them about specific solutions, but tell them ‘do it like player x’.
  • Train game like and specific situations.
  • Why don’t players identify situations correctly?
    • Knowledge.
    • Attention.
    • That is not ‘tell them what to do’. The coach should not ‘be their brains’.
    • Teach them to know volleyball.
  • What is the major and secondary problem, i.e. timing v technique.
  • Defence is reading, but not solely reading. It is the interpretation of our structure.

Tagged Julio Velasco

The total of 82 practical Coaching Tips can be found here and here.

Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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