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Coaching Resources

Giving Good Feedback:

From John Kessel - USAV

  • When you tell someone what to do, thats the worst remembered form of learning. When they figure it out themselves its the best remembered.
  • Socratic questioning is great because it is guided discovery get the players to figure it our themselves creatively
  • Demonstrations are much more valuable than words this cannot be overstated.
  • When your player is getting a bad result, before giving feedback, check for understanding did they really see the same thing the coach saw? What did they perceive about what happened on that play.
  • When a hitter is not hitting at full extension, before you start telling them reach or "high elbow" or "dont drop the elbow",  check for understanding without the ball, show me how you should hit. Are they hitting at full extension without the ball? If so the issue is misjudging or mistiming, not a failure of understandning so now use guided discovery you want to hit the ball up there, do you want to be earlier or later?
  • Did you swing as fast as you could what if you swung faster or slower what would happen?Go show me that
  • In serve receive: if you have players stand 1 meter in front of server and look only at server and not path of serve they can tell where the ball is going without watching they only see  1st 1meter of path how many times can they tell where its going? This will teach the athlete how much info can be gained early in the process. Someone else could be getting the serve receive rep on the other side of the net.
  • Serving ask players to watch and ask questions about the keys are my fingers touching the ball? Is my hand loose or rigid? Where am I contacting the ball?
  • Give them 4-5 trials before you say anyting and in between each of your feedback
  • Summary feedback dont give a new piece of feedback about each contact watch 4-5 and then give summary feedback
  • Players need to buy into summary learning just because it didnt work on one rep, doesnt mean we abandon it.
  • Secret stop saying try when you tell a kid try, you are giving them an excuse not to do it. Set a goals (with a brand new skill) at 1 out of 10 that way when they cant do it a couple times, they still succeed. If 1 out of 10 is the goals and they get 2, they succeed with 2 out of 10. Then they are focusing on the number they did right.
  • Also get rid of the word but it closes off everytying that happened before. Use the word and so the player can still keep the part before
  • Visual feedback same principles. Its best when you get them to tell you what they are seeing. Show them when they did it right and ask them to tell you what they did right.
  • Give that feedback as quickly as possible the closer the feedback is to the reps, the more valuable it is

Basic Volleyball Coaching Principles:

  1. The game teaches the game
    1. doubles, triples and scrimmages are much better practice than traditional drills
    2. get the ball going over the net in practice – minimize partner drills and pepper – no more than a brief warmup
  2. Teach the difference between good errors and bad errors:
    1. Good: passing/digging too far off the net, setting too far off the net, hitting hard but it goes out, serving tough but it goes long, making an error trying to hit an overhand attack out of system instead of a free ball
    2. Bad: not going for a ball, serving into the net, passing into or over the net, setting too tight, wussing out and playing it too safe because you were scared
  3. Use demonstrations and cues instead of long explanations
    1. demonstrate whole skill with focus on a particular cue (short powerful phrase)
    2. then let players attempt whole skill with feedback on that cue
    3. then move on demonstrate skill focused on next cue
  4. Key questions to ask about every drill:
    1. Does this happen in the game?
    2. If my team is the best in the world at this drill, will that help us win games?
    3. Why is this better than triples or scrimmage?
    4. Does it have a goal, a score, a winner, and a reward/consequence
  5. Players run the drills, not coaches
    1. players need more reps, not coaches
    2. players shag, players toss balls, players hit balls to diggers, not coaches
  6. Motor transfer is specific
    1. if you want to get better at something, practice that thing, not a simplified version.
    2. The more your drill resembles what you actually want players to perform in the game, the more that practice success will transfer to the game.
  7. Players must be confident enough to attempt things outside their comfort zone
    1. Players must be comfortable hitting hard and serving tough in pressure situations
    2. Players need to force opponent errors, not fear their own
  8. Serve tough, even with the game on the line
    1. Players should have “Their Serve” which is a serve YOU have taught them and approved for them to use in the match. If you are letting them serve in the match, this is the serve they use. They don’t change their serve after a timeout, at match point, or after 3 other people missed their serve.
    2. Against quality opponents, receiving team wins 66-75% of rallies (excluding aces and service errors), so “just serve it in” is a recipe for losing.
    3. As long as they do Their Serve (which they will miss some non-zero % of the time) you can’t get mad when they miss in a key moment. You CAN give feedback when they do something different than Their Serve because of pressure.