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The book is filled with illuminating insights like:
- The first 5 volleyball movements every coach should teach.
- How to create a “cheat sheet” with different lineup possibilities in all six rotations so you don’t become frazzled during a match.
- What defensive system you should use if your players aren’t physically capable of blocking, and how to transition toward a system that includes blocking.
- How to prioritize your practices and tweak drills to improve what you need.
- Keys to teaching the skills and ways to give feedback that will help it all stick.
- How to establish standards of behavior and reinforce them in practice.
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What level of coach is this book meant for?
Tod answers this on page 2 of the book: “Though my primary audience for this book is inexperienced coaches who generally work with less experienced players, I’m hopeful that even grizzled veterans coaching the most talented groups can glean some value from these pages. Each of the 62 tips has been useful for me in almost 40 years of coaching. For the majority of my career, I have coached both a beginners’ group of middle school girls and high school girls’ and boys’ varsity teams with several aspiring collegiate players. The tips are applicable from the beginning level to the more advanced. Feel free to read the book cover to cover, or poke around to the tips that most interest you. Each one is crafted to stand alone as well as be integral to the whole text.”
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Preview the 62 critical tips:
Part 1: Where Do I Begin?
Tip 1: Put First Things First
Tip 2: Build a Strong Foundation, Part I – Purpose and Vision
Tip 3: Build a Strong Foundation, Part II – Values and Culture
Tip 4: Learn the Fundamentals of Coaching (Basic Maxims)
Tip 5: Expand Your Volleyball Vocabulary
Tip 6: Know the Rules
Part 2: How Do I Start My Team?
Tip 7: Determine Your Team’s Level
Tip 8: Tryouts, Part I – Align Your Team Size With Your Goals
Tip 9: Tryouts, Part II – Make Your First Impression a Great One
Tip 10: Establish Standards of Behavior
Tip 11: Hone Your Communication Skills (Part I) – Employ the Rules of 3, 10 and 30
Tip 12: Hone Your Communication Skills (Part 2) – Praise in Public and Correct in Public
Tip 13: Hone Your Communication Skills (Part 3) – Use Guided Discovery
Tip 14: Coach Parents, Too
Tip 15: Use Captains to Reinforce Your Culture
Part 3: How Do I Teach the Skills?
Tip 16: Use Key Words to Chunk Information
Tip 17: Start With Movement
Tip 18: Integrate Reading Into Every Skill You Teach
Tip 19: Teach Attacking First
Tip 20: Become a Topspin Expert
Tip 21: Know the Key to Teaching Attacker Timing
Tip 22: Combine Passing and Serve-Receive Training
Tip 23: Teach Serve-Receive Passing With K-I-S-S
Tip 24: For Serving, Remember to Teach Tempo
Tip 25: Teach the Jump Float, Early and Often
Tip 26: When Teaching Setting, Assign Homework
Tip 27: Teach Passing and Platform (Bump) Setting as Two Distinct Skills
Tip 28: Combine Forearm and Overhead Digging
Tip 29: Don’t Teach Blocking
Tip 30: Once You’re Ready, Teach Blocking as a Defensive Progression
Part 4: How Do I Design an Effective Practice?
Tip 31: Begin With Big Picture Planning
Tip 32: Establish Appropriate Priorities for Your Level
Tip 33: Wisely Use Your Warm-up Time
Tip 34: Communicate a Clear End to Each Activity
Tip 35: Balance Routine With Variety
Tip 36: When Possible, Turn Drills Into Games
Tip 37: Become an MC (Master of Constraints)
Tip 38: Use Half-and-Half Drills to Set High Standards
Tip 39: Put Your Assistant(S) to Work
Tip 40: Remember the F-Words
Part 5: What’s a System, and How Many Do I Need?
Tip 41: Remember Robin Sharma
Tip 42: Choose System Evolution Over Plug and Play
Tip 43: Delay Specialization
Tip 44: Begin at the Beginning – Serve and Serve-Receive
Tip 45: Find Some Setters and Put Them in Middle Front
Tip 46: Detour – Teach Your Players About Attacking Efficiency
Tip 47: Detour #2 – Also Teach Them About the Fallacy of Statistics
Tip 48: On Offense, Set Your Most Efficient Attackers
Tip 49: Use Common Sense to Position Your Defenders
Tip 50: Don’t Forget About Coverage
Tip 51: Steal My Favorite System for Developing Teams
Part 6: What Do I Do During a Match?
Tip 52: Plan Ahead
Tip 53: Know Your Greatest Challenge
Tip 54: Sub for Success
Tip 55: Determine What’s Important and Stat It
Tip 56: Stay Out of the Past
Tip 57: Be a Gracious Winner and a Grateful Loser
Tip 58: Learn From My Post-Match Debacle
Tip 59: Find a Couple Of Idiots
Tip 60: Sharpen Your Eavesdropping Skills
Tip 61: Keep Your Eye off the Ball
Tip 62: Stay Curious
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About the Author
Tod Mattox has been coaching volleyball in San Diego since 1982, working extensively with high school and club girls’ programs. In addition, he has coached boys’ high school, AVP women and a bit of men’s college. Tod recently retired from his “real job” – teaching English at The Bishop’s and recently completed his 25th year heading the girls’ varsity team. Until 2019, Tod was the owner/director/head coach of a small local volleyball club that served inexperienced 12- and 14-unders. After selling the club, he began his current work in coaches’ education with The Art of Coaching Volleyball and Coast Volleyball Club. Tod is a current board member and long-time supporter of Starlings Volleyball, US, a non-profit that serves at-risk girls.
Eric Brewer (verified owner) –
I read this book this fall and refer back to it regularly for my girls JV team. As a relatively new coach, I’ve found Tod’s no-nonsense approach to resonate with me. I would rather learn from his mistakes than wait to learn them myself. Sometimes it feels like cheating, but it has made a huge difference for me and my team this season.