I’ve played basketball since as far back as I can recall. I don’t remember my father ever not coaching basketball – he was an exceptional and much-lauded varsity basketball coach for over 35 years, and so from the moment I was reasonably steady on my feet I would follow after my father to the gym for practices, sit at the end of the bench at games, and generally tag along and make myself a nuisance whenever I could.
Later I played, for my father as well as for other coaches, and then eventually it became my turn to coach. I’ve been coaching basketball at the varsity level now for over 15 years, in various schools and in several countries. I’ve played the game, watched the game, studied the game and of course, coached the game. I’ve made my fair share (and more) of mistakes and learned from them. I know how to coach the game of basketball.
But I didn’t know much about coaching volleyball when my school asked me to take the reins a few years ago. They needed a coach or otherwise they wouldn’t have had a team. Volleyball season didn’t clash with basketball season (other than a couple of weeks overlap), and since many of the volleyball players would become my basketball players, I thought “why not?”
That’s when I discovered how limited the amount of information on the web was on how to coach volleyball. I struggled. The first outing of the volleyball team saw us slaughtered by the eventual league champions. It was discouraging, to say the least. But we pushed through and worked hard and improved. Our team that year was voted “Most Improved” in the league, and I credit that success to the players I had and the work they did to improve their skills.
Anyway, after that coaching foray into volleyball, I thought about how difficult it had been to find resources to help me coach volleyball. And then I thought how there must be plenty of coaches out there, first timers or coaches that are looking to change up how they’ve been doing things, trying to find information on coaching basketball – a topic I knew something about – and so Better Basketball Coaching was born!
There are other sites dealing with coaching basketball, of course. But they tend to be page after page of drills and plays with no real discussion of how to do things and why they are done.
When I was searching for material on how to coach volleyball, I wasn’t just searching for plays or drills to fill up practice time. I was searching for focus, for a coaching plan. I knew from my experience of coaching basketball for so many years that you choose drills that focus on developing the specific skills you want your players to improve, and you use plays that you feel will work with the type of players you have and style of play you like.
I knew how to plan the season and carry out the plan in basketball, but couldn’t find that same information for volleyball. I wanted to understand the game I was trying to coach, not just to be able to show up at practice with enough drills to distract my players long enough to get through the practice. I wanted to improve my skills as a coach as well as my players’ skills as athletes.
So I created Better Basketball Coaching with this end in mind – to help basketball coaches understand how to coach the game. Not that I’m trying to pass myself off as the font of all knowledge. While I have only had one losing season as a coach, that losing season came with an exceptionally bad record. And I’m pretty certain there are other coaches out there with more experience and insight than me.
But I know the game, and I know it well. And I want to help others who are in the same position I was in when I was looking for information on coaching volleyball. So yes, you will find all kinds of drills and plays on this site. But my focus is really on how to use them, how to organize the season and incorporate drills and plays appropriately. This is how I intend to develop this site, in the hope that it will serve as a resource to help coaches better understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.
Of course, if you feel you already know the what and why, feel free to skip directly to the drills and plays and so forth for the how.
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I hope the site helps, and I hope you have a successful season!