Make sure your trial matches and trainings at the moment are as close to what you will get in Melbourne. I even had a tape playing the Melbourne background noise I had recorded one year to make the trial match/training experience as real as possible during some trainings and trial matches.
Meet with your team now and discuss expectations of team behaviour and team rules on player court time in Melbourne.
Remember, they have all paid the same money.
Also discuss a number of what if’s.
What if we win the 1st 2 matches?
What if we lose the 1st 2 matches?
What if Mary gets injured?
What are your team aims and expectations for the week?
What are your aims and expectations as a coach for the week?
Let us hope these are reasonably congruent or it will be a tough week for you both.
My job as head coach at Heathfield was to marry the teams and the team coaches aims as close as possible as early as possible. Sometimes I would have to negotiate some clear common ground.
Always let your players get their drink bottle before you talk to them during a time out. If you try to catch them on the way to the drink bottles you may get run over and they will not be listening to you anyway. It will also give you time to lose any negativity that may have made you call the time out, and prepare a positive attitude for your team to see so they can go back into the match with positives, not negatives. This will give your team a chance to improve from your time out and not continue to spiral down as they may have been before your time out.
Use the word “WE” in time outs, not the word “YOU”. Frame your comments as positives not as negatives. Three points maximum with the most important point last.
Players, even senior players, do not process information well during time outs. Some of the complicated stuff I have heard in junior volleyball time outs is ridiculous. Explaining stack blocking to year 9 girls during a time out is a complete waste of time.
(And I saw it last year in an Under 15 Division 2 girls match.)
Use your two time outs if you are losing the set. Remember statistics show you have a 60% chance of the opposition making a service error after you call a time out. If you lose a set without calling time outs, YOUR BAD.
Calling your second time out at 22-12 is a waste of time. You are way, way, too late.
Don’t make silly unenforceable rules about kid’s diets during the week, e.g. no soft drinks, no chips etc. Your best attack is encouraging sensible behaviours that are going to help your team achieve the team aims. As soon as you say no chips, that means you as well.
Catch the kids doing good things both on and off the court. Highlight these behaviours every time you see them. If you are just starting off, get your teams to watch the “best practice” behaviours of the elite teams in the tournament.
Make your other school team’s matches special and memorable by both you and your team being there and, actively supporting your other teams. It always makes it exciting to be both supporting and supported in Melbourne.
Ensure all your kids on the team have “their moment/s”. These may be on the court or off the court. You will need these moments to encourage them to train hard next year and come back.
See our new fantastic Elson Volley scoreboard