Outcomes v Expectations

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The coach’s job is to provide inputs to players and teams with the expectation of achieving certain performance outcomes. Specific techniques, and technical adjustments, will result in improved performance. The same applies to training methods, tactics, personal relationships and so on.

If the expected outcomes are not met, the standard response of the coach (and many others) is to construct a narrative that explains why the expectations were not met. Outside influences are often ‘found’ to be the cause (Julio Velasco on ‘La Cultura degli Alibi’), and work is done to control those influences so that the same work can begin anew, this time with different results. But what if the discrepancy between expected outcomes and outcomes is actually the result of poor, substandard, ineffective inputs?

That is, we work a certain way, normally following conventional wisdom, on technique and tactics expecting a particular outcome and when that outcome is not reached we construct some logic that protects our expectations. We should challenge our expectations.

  • If we focus on footwork in reception and the player doesn’t improve, maybe we shouldn’t focus on footwork.
  • If we expect an opponent to spike a certain way when we use a particular tactic and they don’t, maybe our understanding of how they make decisions is the problem.

The tortured, irrational logic that people invent to defend their expectations is effort that if focused toward innovation would achieve vastly different outcomes.

Tagged Conventional Wisdom, Reception Technique


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