How to Choose a Club Volleyball Coach

When it comes to high school volleyball, you most likely do not have much choice when it comes to your coach. For club volleyball, however, you usually will have some degree of choice. Choosing a coach that you are going to spend a good deal of time with in the coming six or so months can be a hard decision. This article is meant to help you decide what is most important to you.

  • Get a private lesson with a potential coach before you decide to play on their team. This might give you a chance to evaluate their coaching style and see if it is compatible with you.
  • Watch the coach coaching a game. How does he/she act? Does he/she yell and scream or prefer to sit quietly on the bench? What are you looking for in a coach? Remember that you are going to be playing for a coach for around six months.
  • Search online for how teams in the past have done under that coach. Did they consistently place at the top of the regional volleyball rankings? Or perhaps in the middle, or even at the bottom? Is this even a factor for you?
  • Ask friends who have played for the coach about him/her. Be sure to inquire about the factors that are important to you such as ability to teach, whether they play just the best girls or they play everybody, and most importantly, if your friend would like to be coached again by that person.

Do What Your Coach Said

Misconceptions about Choosing a Coach
There are many also misconceptions about coaches and coaching.

  • One gender is better at coaching than another. Everyone is different, and this comes to coaches as well. Both genders can be great coaches or terrible coaches. It is best not to have a bias when it comes to the gender of your coach as you may experience a self-fulfilling bias (only seeing what you want to see). Be as objective as possible when evaluating your coach.
  • Only those with a lot of accolades make good coaches. The same way that all PhDs do not make good professors, all athletes do not make good coaches. Often times there is a misconception that only highly decorated athletes make good coaches. While some of those athletes are good coaches, some are not. Athletes with less merits can also make excellent coaches.
  • You only learn from a certain type of coach. The only way to know yourself is to branch out and try new things. If you have only had screamers in the past, you might want to try mixing it up and see if a different coaching style can work for you. Conversely, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you are benefiting and improving your skills a lot with one type of coach, there is not much reason to change.

Additional Questions to Ask About a Coach
Some additional questions to ask people or the coach themselves before selecting a coach:

  • Is the coach too demanding, or too laid-back?  This is not to say that either of these coaching styles are bad, but you need to know what works for you personally. If you crack when getting yelled at, having a more laid-back coach might be better for you. If you will slack off without a coach talking to you every play, you might need a more-involved coach.
  • Did the coach play the same position as you (ie. setter, libero)? Often times a coach who played your position will be more knowledgeable about that position and therefore more helpful in improving your game.
  • How many years have they coached? Although this is not always an indicator of a good coach, there is no substitute for experience.
  • Where have they coached?
  • Does the coach play everyone or do they play to win? What type of team do you want to be on? Think about this carefully before you make your decision.
  • Where did the coach play for high school/college? If the coach played at a Division I university versus a low-level high school, it might be a good indicator of how much volleyball knowledge this coach has.

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