To be a great volleyball coach, you have to know what well-played volleyball looks like.
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
While that idea may not seem particularly groundbreaking, Giuseppe Vinci cannot understate its importance. The founder of VolleyMetrics and consultant coach for the U.S. National Teams implores coaches of all levels to watch as many college, national and international matches as possible. The more a coach sees top-level volleyball played, the more he or she has to go on when teaching a team how to develop the same skills.
“If you have a DVR, then DVR a game and watch it,” Vinci said. “Try to understand what good looks like. That is just super important at all levels of play. You can do that by watching good volleyball. That’s how you want to execute. That’s what you want to teach your players to do.”
Watching top teams and discussing with mentors gives coaches an innate feeling of when things have the correct execution and when they don’t. Give your brain more data to work with and it will become quicker and more accurate at recognizing errors.
“As you see and start recognizing good volleyball on TV or video, when you’re in practice, you notice when somebody is not executing right,” Vinci said. “Experienced coaches are not there exclusively looking at the angles or at everything from a biomechanical perspective. At a certain point, their brain becomes so well trained that things just pop out and stand out. Computers cannot beat the brain yet because we’re just so good once we have a certain number of reps of seeing things done right.
“Our brain is very good at seeing differences. Then it’s up to us to know how to fix those differences, but first I need to create that database of good volleyball reps in my mind. Then my brain can make this comparison and help me realize, ‘That’s not a good execution.’”
Once you know what excellent volleyball looks like, you can more effectively train and develop your players. Your athletes probably won’t have the same size, athleticism or experience as elite players, but you can still translate the fundamentals you see into their games.
“They will not have a 35-in. vertical, but it doesn’t matter,” Vinci said. “The mechanics are pretty much the same. You want to teach good volleyball and good mechanics, and your learning curve becomes way less steep by watching good volleyball and recognizing good executions."
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