How many times do I have to try to tell you
One of many vivid memories I have from my IMPACT trainer’s course with John Kessel in 1994 was this story, paraphrased;
“Coaches are sitting together in the stands, watching a volleyball match. As soon as the serve happens, a few of them say, ‘Here comes a tip.’ Sure enough, the tip happens, and any one of the coaches could have walked out there to make the dig, yet it landed in the middle of the campfire. How did the coaches know?”
Often as coaches, we fall into the trap of teaching a technique (in this case, a run through), while forgetting to teach why the technique is important within the whole skill (reading and playing the tip.)
From Ridgecrest Starlings Club Director David Cordes, with support from John Kessel regarding the 2008 US Men’s Olympic stats;
Time in contact with the ball:
Hitting 0.01 – 0.08 seconds
Setting 0.1 seconds
Passing 0.05 seconds
On average a player touches a ball about 17 times per game. So total contact with the ball time per game is between 0.17 and 1.7 seconds.
Most volleyball games last around 20 minutes.
How much of your practice do you spend teaching players how to play the 1.7 seconds of each game that they are touching the ball?
How much time do you spend teaching them what to do during the 19 minutes and 58.3 seconds of every game that they are NOT touching the volleyball?
Two great questions to ask about everything you do in the gym;
- Why are we doing this?
- How do we know it works?
Explaining or showing “why” you use a specific technique or strategy will inspire a player to learn and think on his/her own. This leads to better retention, and also helps build the next great generation of coaches.