I woke up Saturday morning at 6:00am. Its almost winter so the sky was still dark and the air was freezing. I took a few minutes to muster the courage to leave the warmth of my bed. A deep breath, exhale, one quick motion and WHOOSH the blanket is off. Cold air invades the space between my clothing and skin. My bare feet hit the frigid hardwood floor. Soon I will be on the road with the team I coach, Northeastern Women's Club Volleyball, to compete for a first place finish. If all goes well, I'll be home late. I started coaching my sophomore year of high school. I am 24 now. After 10 years I still get asked why I do it. A young guy with a good job, long time girlfriend, living in a bar-infested area of Boston with five of my oldest and best friends, why do I sacrifice so many weekends to coach a sport that holds barely any merit in the northeast and pays next to nothing? All fair points, ones I have contemplated as well. After a decade I finally feel I can answer. Here is the reason why I coach volleyball.
There are a few main systems that volleyball coaches will implement for their team. There is a 4-2 system, also known as front row setting, where the setter is positioned in the right front area and sets two front row hitters. There is a 6-2 system, also known as back row setting, where the setter is positioned in the right back area and sets three front row hitters. There is also the 5-1 system, which is a hybrid of the other two. The setter is the only setter on the court, and will be positioned in the front or back row depending on what rotation they are in. While each system is effective in its own ways, the 5-1 is favored among many coaches for its tendency to breed consistency and provide two different offensive looks to keep defenses on their toes. Despite its popularity, the 5-1 is definitely not suitable for every team. Before you decide to commit to this, ask yourself "Should I run a 5-1 with MY volleyball team?" Let's consider a few things before you say yes!
Every coach can recall a practice that they put a lot of thought into and were sure it would be a hugely successful session, realizing by the end it was a major flop. Even with an arsenal of drills focusing on different skill areas, sometimes practices do not live up to the vision you had. This brings up the looming question of how do I run an effective volleyball practice? There are many factors that go into making sure the techniques and skills you are focusing on in practice have a lasting effect on your players, here are a few of the most important ones: