Coaching Your Own Kids: Was Introductions??

Coaching Your Own Kids: Was Introductions??

Post by Joe Arki » Sat, 12 Aug 1995 04:00:00

I thought this deserved another article, so here goes.


>Subject: Re: Introductions??

>Date: 9 Aug 1995 16:44:30 GMT

>>...interested in some "formal" introductions?

>All right, I'll bite.

>I'm a 35 year old player and fan of the game in most of it's forms.  My playing
>has been heavily influenced by Ruben Nieves the Stanford coach via p.e. classes
>and *** camps.  I live in the San Francisco Bay area of California, play 3-4
>times per week, mostly sand, with some indoor and occasional grass.  I like to
>think of myself as an A or high B level player.  I usually attend several
>Stanford men's and women's teams matches each year and watch most any
>volleyball I can get on the TV.

>As I get older I become more interested in the future of the game including
>it's form, popularity, and my kid's interest as players and fans.  I especially
>like the non-*** aspects of the game due to the lack of physical contact
>with the other team.  For this reason, I think volleyball is great in schools
>and would like to see the game's form move away from the tall player only trend
>it's on now to more of an include everyone form.  I'd like this wholesome sport
>to spread to all schools at the high school level and be as inclusive as
>possible. I may consider coaching if my kids decide to compete.


Well, David ... I'd be willing to bet that you will definitely coach,
not if, but when your kids decide to compete.  :-)

As a father of a 15 year old boy and 12 year old girl, I can say that
these kids definitely provided the impetus for me becoming a coach.
Here's my story:
I belong to a church that has a history of grade school volleyball
going back over 10 years.  As my kids got older, attending religion
classes in the evening and going to public school, the parish's
athletic association solicited all of the kids, both the parochial
schoolers and the CCD'ers (evening religious instruction), for the
basketball, volleyball and softball programs.  I had been asked to
coach some of the vb teams long before my kids were old enough to
participate but always declined because I never thought that I had
what it took to be a coach.  I never played in HS or college, just

My son ended up playing basketball for the school from 5th thru 8th
grade.  His coach was a _model_ coach, in that he emphasized playing
the game the way its s'posed to be played without too much concern for
winning.  His team, in 5th grade, lost all but 1 game.  The coach made
them play nothing but man-on-man defense, while every other team in
the league played zone.  In the following year, these kids had
developed their skills so well that, by midway through the 6th grade
season, these kids could literally hold opponents scoreless (example:
in one game, my son's team was down at half-time, 4-12.  That game
ended with my son's team winning 24-12; they held the team scoreless
for an entire half; phenomenal!)

The team only lost one game each of the next 2 seasons, both times
against a team that  just absolutely dominated the league and were
perennial league champions, recruiting kids from the inner city
strictly for the purpose of athletics.  In both those losses to this
_stacked_ team, one in 7th grade; one in 8th grade, those games went
into overtime.  That team _hated_ playing my son's team because my
son's team could totally control the tempo of the game.  All but 3 of
the players from that team made their respective HS teams in one
fashion or another.

I really admired this coach who had the foresight to realize that
winning isn't the only aspect of athletics that's important but, more
so teaching the kids the proper skills and letting the chips fall as
they may; in this case, quite favorably.

This was basically what really motivated me to coach vb when my
daughter expressed interest in playing at the same school.  I had seen
some of the other teams coaches and new, without a doubt, that I could
do much better than they.  I went to a coaching clinic for help in
teaching kids that knew nothing, the proper techniques.  I knew a
little bit about it having played for about 15-16 years to that point,
but I also knew that it was extremely important that these kids be
taught correct technique and strategy.

When I started coaching, concurrent with my daughter's 5th grade
school year, I set out teaching my team the fundamental techniques and
the 3-contact strategy.  We practiced and practiced and practiced
these things.  It seemed so awkward at first.  It seemed that maybe
these kids weren't ready for this, but I stuck to my guns: passing,
serving, setting (overhead), hitting (bumping the ball over), and
using 3 contacts no matter what the outcome.

Well, ... we lost match after match after match to teams that just
banged the ball over with little or no regard toward trying to make 3
contacts.  I think that we won 2 matches that year, both at the end of
the season.

Then last year, my daughter's 6th grade season, our team continued on
its trek; serving, passing, setting, hitting (now with actual
spike-type attacks), using 3 contacts as if it were 2nd nature.  We
started messing around with new offensive and defensive strategies as
well, making adjustments during matches to tailor our team to our
opponents.  Again, all of the other teams went out there banging the
ball over the net with no regard whatsoever to set anything up.  We
lost a lot of matches last year as well, but you could really see the
development take shape.  By the end of the season, we were generating
some very legitimate offense and took great pride in the fact that we
were the only team in our league that could set the ball up.  After
matches, coaches and ref's would approach my wife (see's my asst
coach) and I inquiring as to how we got the girls to pass the ball so
well compared to all the other teams; how we got the girls to play as
a team rather than just bang the ball over the net?!  I would tell
them that it came at the expense of winning matches and that our
motivation was player development in readying these girls for HS vb.
They'd shrug their shoulders and walk away as if I spoke a language
that they did not understand.

John Kessel put it quite succinctly: PERFORMANCE vs. OUTCOME!!

Now I'm ***ed to coaching youths and feel that I have found a place
in vb where I belong.  I've always wanted to aspire to being a great
player, but I've realized that this probably will never occur (I'm 42;
if it hasn't happened by now, it ain't never gonna happen, ya' know?!
;-).  Now, I realize that I can possibly become a good coach and maybe
even aspire to some level of so-called greatness in this respect.  Of
course this is a matter of perspective.  I've seen some very good JOV
coaches and I don't know if I could ever achieve that level.  But, at
the level that I'm at, I can aspire.

Bottom line here, ... go for it!  You'll have no regrets.


Joe Arkin

"Work hard, play hard."