Wednesday, 22 May 2024

So You Want To Be A Volleyball Coach

Congratulations on embarking on your coaching journey! Becoming a volleyball coach is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you start this new chapter. In this article, I’ll share some valuable insights to help you navigate the challenges of coaching and set yourself up for success.

It’s Not About You

As a coach, it’s crucial to remember that your players don’t care about your personal achievements as a player. What matters most is their development and success on the court. So, check your ego at the door and approach coaching as a continuous learning experience.

Get Organized

Being organized is key to running a successful team. Make sure you have rosters, lineup sheets, insurance papers, and “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) cards for your athletes. Additionally, create a list of any special medical needs and establish protocols for medical situations. Being prepared will ensure the well-being of your players and the smooth operation of your team.

Plan Ahead

Start your season by planning out your practice sessions and setting goals for your team. Consider what skills you want to work on each week and how far you want to take your team. Striking the right balance between teaching new material and reviewing old concepts is crucial for their development. Also, be prepared for matches and tournaments by writing out rotations, substitutions, and taking notes on areas that need improvement.

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Involve Parents and Set Expectations

Hold a detailed parent/team meeting at the beginning of the year to establish clear expectations. Cover topics such as practice attendance, behavior expectations, playing time, and communication channels. Make sure your expectations are firm and clearly communicated to avoid any misunderstandings throughout the season.

Lead by Example

As a coach, it’s essential to lead by example and follow the rules you set for your team. If you expect your athletes to be punctual, be on time yourself. By being consistent and holding everyone accountable, you create a culture of discipline and respect.

Continuously Educate Yourself

Coaching is a profession that requires continual learning and development. Take advantage of resources like John Kessel’s blogs, the “Train Ugly” website, and the “Coach Your Brains Out” podcast. Consider getting certified through programs like CAP I and CAP II, IMPACT, and SafeSport. By investing in your own growth, you set a positive example for your athletes and stay up to date with the latest coaching methodologies.

Attendance Matters

Coaching is a job, and attendance is mandatory. Be clear with your families about acceptable reasons to miss practices or tournaments, and make sure to hold yourself to that same standard. Demonstrating commitment to your team sets the tone for their dedication.

Embrace Emotional Control

Coaching comes with its fair share of highs and lows. It’s essential to manage your emotions, both in triumph and defeat. Find a balance between motivation and constructive criticism, and remember that athletes are not robots. Your patience will be tested, and challenges will arise, but maintaining emotional control is crucial to your effectiveness as a coach.

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Think Constructively

Avoid limiting your athletes’ potential by making negative judgments or predictions about their abilities. Instead of dismissing a player, identify specific areas for improvement and provide guidance. Coaching should be about opening doors for athletes and helping them reach their full potential.

Set Realistic Expectations

Understand that progress takes time. Your team will make mistakes, and some players may struggle to learn new skills. It’s important to be patient and focus on incremental growth. Celebrate small victories and remember that building strong athletes is a gradual process.

Coach the Person, Not Just the Player

Ultimately, your role as a coach extends beyond the volleyball court. The lessons you teach your athletes about teamwork, character, and resilience will shape their lives beyond the game. Remember that you are coaching people, not just volleyballs. Keep this perspective in mind as you guide and inspire your team.


Q: How can I improve as a volleyball coach?
A: Continuously educate yourself through resources, certifications, and networking with other coaches. Stay open to new ideas and embrace a growth mindset.

Q: How can I manage difficult parents?
A: Establish clear expectations from the beginning and communicate openly. Develop a thick skin and handle challenging situations professionally and responsibly.

Q: How do I handle setbacks or a disappointing season?
A: Stay positive and remember that every season is an opportunity for growth. Reflect on what went well and what can be improved, and approach the next season with enthusiasm and determination.


Coaching volleyball is a fulfilling journey that requires dedication, organization, and continuous learning. By focusing on the development of your players, setting clear expectations, and leading by example, you can create a positive and successful coaching experience. Keep these principles in mind as you navigate the challenges and triumphs of being a volleyball coach. Good luck!

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