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What is the Role of the Coach?


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 In my NCSA Recruiting Education talks with club volleyball programs, I often get asked by families, what is the role of the coach?

Today's club volleyball world has grown to proportions which are staggering. Who knew 25 years ago that there would be clubs sponsoring 75+ teams, entire convention centers packed wall to wall with courts and hundreds of college coaches descending upon these events to recruit?

With the professionalism of club volleyball and the amount of money families pay to participate, there can be certain spoken or unspoken expectations of the coach's role. Some club programs are large, well organized, with staff members focused on expanding the recruiting reach of the club, while other clubs are just trying to make sure they have a gym next week to practice in.

I encourage families to reduce the coach's role to the simplest, yet arguably, most important: To Coach. Below are some points to better explain:

  • The role of the coach is to enhance a player's volleyball IQ and volleyball skill. Period. The player's ability will determine his/her opportunity. The role of the player, is to listen and apply what the coach is teaching to become a better player. 
  • For instance, when a coach tells a player to "hit line", the coach is instructing the player to become better.  When an outside hitter can attack the ball down the line it can be a very effective attack leading to kills.  Plus, it puts less stress on the shoulder and the ability of an outside to attack line is something that college coaches value. So, if the player listens to the coach and applies the instruction, he/she will become a better outside hitter, and thus, more recruitable to college coaches.
  • The coach, on the other hand, is not the recruiting coordinator for each player on the team, ultimately the players and families need to take on this role. In some cases, the family has the assistance of the club's Recruiting Coordinator, who is also trying to help several other families in addition to other duties with the club and/or a full-time job.
  • The coach is a volleyball professional who's job description is to improve the level of the team and all the individual players that comprise the team. That will ultimately be the best way the coach will help a player realize her goals of playing collegiate volleyball. If the coach is emailing, calling me, tweeting, and Instagram'ing a college coach every day promoting a player but she cannot hit line, then the coach will not recruit her.

When deciding which club(s) to tryout for, it is important that parents and players understand what the club's role and the coach's role will be in the player's recruiting process. Many times it is assumed that the coach will act as a recruiting coordinator for each player when that is not the case. If you have not read the post about having realistic expectations in the recruiting process, definitely have a read.  The more active the player's role in the recruiting process is, the better the chance that he/she will enjoy the junior volleyball season, and find the right fit for college.

For more education on volleyball recruiting process click here.

About the Author

Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball and National Speaker for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. Matt has over 20 years of experience coaching volleyball at the collegiate level.


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