Coaching Conversations Archives - Coaching Volleyball
Coaching Conversations Archives - Coaching Volleyball
John Forman
Sharing volleyball coaching insights and ideas
Podcast  28 – Bigger picture personnel management in pro volleyball
Spend any time in the arena of professional volleyball and you will come to realize pretty quickly that the majority of clubs operate year-to-year. There isn't a lot of longer-term thinking (I'd argue we see much the same at the juniors level in the US, but that's a separate topic). I have two guests join me for a discussion of this and how it might change moving forward. One is Oskar Kaczmarczyk, who recently took on the role of something like General Manager for one of the clubs in the PlugLiga in Poland. I met Oskar during my 2019 European trip. At that time he was in his first year coaching at Näfels in the Swiss men's league. Twice he took part in the original series of Coaching Conversations. Once was about Analyzing the Setter. The other time it was for the Developing the Libero talk. My other guest is Mark Lebedew, who's been a regular of both the original series and the podcast. Mark is heading into his first season at VfB Friedrichshafen in the German Bundesliga, where he previously led Berlin Recycling Volleys to 3 league titles and a 2015 CEV Champions League bronze medal. In between he coached for a couple of Polish clubs and lead the Australian Men's National team. You can follow Mark's writing on his blog. In the conversation the term "Moneyball" comes up multiple times. This, of course, comes from Michael Lewis' famous book, [amazon text=Moneyball&asin=B000RH0C8G]. If you haven't read it already, you definitely should. After we recorded this podcast, Mark actually authored a post discussing what he sees as the most important takeaway from the Moneyball concept. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Jul 25, 2021
59 min
Podcast  27 – Medaille College Men’s Season Roundup
The Medaille College Men's Volleyball team's season for 2021 is over. In this episode of the podcast I recap the campaign. You can also give a read to my Coaching Log for a more detailed examination. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Apr 18, 2021
30 min
Podcast  26 – Targeting greatness with Mark Lebedew
How does a player become not just good, but great? That's the starting point of this conversation with Mark Lebedew. We wander from that topic a bit, but it is the main focus. If you followed the original Coaching Conversations series, you know Mark was a regular feature in those discussions. He and I also did a podcast series for the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project. And, of course, you can follow Mark's writing on his blog. In the conversation Mark and I talked about the idea of risk, which is something he's recently written about here. It ties in with the idea of decision-making that I outline in this post. We also mention Mark's look at the Athletes Unlimited scoring system. There was a Weekly Buzz episode related to this as well. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Apr 11, 2021
53 min
Podcast  25 – Marketing the Volleyball League of American with Will Foley
As part of the Sport Marketing & Promotion class I've been teaching at Medaille College this term I'm including some guest speakers. One of them is Will Foley from Volleyball League of America. He was previously joined by Tim Falknor on the last of the original Coaching Conversations series episodes to talk more generally about starting and running a fledgling pro volleyball league in the US. Will spoke with my class about the marketing efforts of the VLA, and took several interesting questions. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Apr 4, 2021
1 hr 5 min
Podcast  24 – David Gil from VERT continued
This is the second part of my conversation with David Gil, who leads up performance analysis at VERT. We talk about match warm-ups and what he's seeing from the 2021 Spring season for the NCAA women's programs competing. The season variability has definitely created its share of challenges for programs, which David talks about. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Mar 28, 2021
37 min
Podcast  23 – Talking warm-ups and concussions with David Gil from VERT
David Gil has become a frequent conversational partner of mine going back to the Coaching Conversations original series. I had him talk with members of the Medaille women's team about preparing for preseason. He was on with a strength coach from Florida State to talk about building athlete work capacity. And it started with him joining the head coach of James Madison to talk about using performance data in coaching. The foundation of this conversation is the subject of warm-ups, whether pre-match or pre-practice. Because David had recently been looking at (and talking about) some concussion data, that ended up being a thread of our talk as well. In the episode David refers to the work of Dr. Kerry MacDonald - Director of Sports Science & Sports Medicine for Volleyball Canada - with regards to the concussion topic. Although it's not on that subject, here's a conversation David and Kerry had on training periodization challenges. And there's that old blog post that stimulated the "controversy" that motivated David to email me: Are your warm-ups wasting valuable time? David also joked about some conversations we've had before about using the mile run as a fitness test, which i something I've also blogged about in The mile run for volleyball players. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Mar 21, 2021
44 min
Podcast  22 – Two coaches talking, with Ruben Wolochin
The core concept of Coaching Conversations has always been coaches simply getting together to talk. This episode is really just that - a recording of a pair of coaches talking about what's going on and what they're thinking about. In this case, it's myself and my friend Ruben Wolochin, who you may remember from Episode 20. Since it didn't have a specific unified focus, I was tempted to call this "The show about nothing". :-) Not surprisingly, the conversation wanders around, touching on NCAA scheduling, covid vaccinations, Athletes Unlimited, and several other topics. In the episode, I mentioned the new women's league former Hawaii coach Dave Shoji is involved with. You can learn more about it from this episode of the MasterCoaches Weekly Buzz show. We also referenced the Volleyball League of America. I had a couple of guys from the VLA on during the original Conversations series. I referenced some changes to the management structure of the German volleyball league. Here's a story (in German) about that. I also mentioned Benfica playing in the Portuguese Cup. I had a bunch of focus from that club on for an interesting Conversation about different staff roles and support functions at a pro club. As Ruben noted, Benfica beat Mamede in the quarterfinals the day we recorded this discussion. The next day they beat A.J.F. Bastardo in the semis, to set up a final against Sporting CP. Unfortunately, they lost in 4. I brought up the back-to-back nature of play in the men's Big West Conference, which features Long Beach and Hawaii. It's a structure we've seen a number of conferences adapt for the women's season this year. And for the record, the longest trip for Medaille in the men's AMCC - at least currently - is to Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA) at 4+ hours. Our two other away trips for the 2021 season are Penn State - Behrend (Erie, PA), and Geneva (Beaver Falls, PA). Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Mar 14, 2021
56 min
Podcast  21 – Medaille staff conversation leading up to our first match
On February 24, 2021 the Medaille College men's team played it's first match of the season - an away fixture at cross-town rival D'Youville College. Ahead of that match the staff - who were in Episode 6 - jumped on Zoom to talk preparations for that match. The discussion covered in-match duties, preparations, line-ups, and more. In the episode, one of the things that came up is the DataVolley training we did with Jeff Liu featured in Episode 10. You can see my discussion of the Medaille men's season in my log entries. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Mar 7, 2021
44 min
Podcast  20 – A future in professional volleyball with a college player and a pro coach
One of the guys on the Medaille College Men's team wants to continue his career after college. I thought it would be good for him to speak to my friend Ruben Wolochin about that. Ruben has coached in several European countries, plus his native Argentina. He's also had several Americans in his teams over the years. As a result, he knows what that transition is like. You may recall Ruben from a pair of the Coaching Conversations series talks. He helped out with the Building a Consistent Club Philosophy. I later had him on to talk about Maximizing Performance from Limited Resources. In the intro I mention some prior talks with University of Essex coach Alex Porter. One was an episode of this podcast about recruiting when you can't watch players in-person. The other one was a Conversations talk with Alex and two of his former players on playing for a university in the UK. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Feb 28, 2021
39 min
Podcast  19 – Thinking about growing the sport
Back in March 2020 one of the early Coaching Conversations was with Chuck Waddington from Angelo State on the topic of marketing. If you're in the college volleyball arena (or want to be), give it a listen. Chuck offers up some good info. Lately, I've been thinking about marketing in volleyball from a broader sense - perhaps a more global sense. How could a dedicated volleyball marketing effort, with good funding, move the sport forward? I ponder that question in this episode. In the episode I mentioned my Coaching Conversation with the guys from the Volleyball League of American (VLA), and the MasterCoaches Weekly Buzz episode featuring Dave Shoji talking about a new women's pro league in the US. I also mentioned a blog post about setters motivated by a Bob Griese comment. Support the podcast by becoming a patron. You can find a complete list of the initial series of Coaching Conversations here.
Feb 21, 2021
34 min