Coaching is probably the toughest concept of volleyball.
How many coaches will be working with the team?
In short, it depends. We have seen all kinds of coaching systems. You will almost always have at least one full time coach and one part time coach. Many clubs will have up to 4 coaches working with the team during a practice.
What is the qualification of the coach?
This varies by club. Knowing this up front might not change your mind, but should help you understand what you are getting into. There are professional coaches who have a vast amount of knowledge but not nice personalities and there are parents who don’t know as much but are great coaches. Just because someone plays or played volleyball in high school, college or professionally doesn’t make them a good coach and just because you are a mom who doesn’t know much doesn’t mean you will be a bad coach. All we can say here is ASK around. Past players and families are always the best source for opinions on coaches. Regardless of the coach’s qualifications, you as a parent need to decide if it is a good fit between the coach and your athlete.
Has the coach coached your child’s age group before?
Just because the coach may have no experience with your child’s age group shouldn’t preclude you from giving them a shot. There are plenty of coaches (we’ve seen!) who have coached your child’s age group for years unsuccessfully (physically and mentally beaten them down, screamed, cursed, etc). Again, we say ask around.
Things to be aware of:
Coach-parents with an athlete on the team your child is playing on. Many clubs give athletes free or reduced fees if parents coach. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not. Just be aware and take note.
What is the coach’s philosophy?
Do they play to win or equal play? When/if your athlete signs to play for a regional or national team, the coach is pretty much going to play to win. Yes coaches play favorites, try as they might to avoid it. They are human.
We always recommend that clubs do a background check on each of the coaches.
I’m looking for a new club/team/coach, where do I start?
Best time to start watching is during club season. We love to watch other teams at tourneys and make notes of coaches from other teams we are playing or on courts adjacent to ours. How they behave in games is the best way to gauge if it is a good fit for your athlete. Also evaluate your reaction to a coaches tendencies. In other words, if a coach curses or screams, make note and think about how you would handle watching your athlete receive this kind of coaching. It may be a style that works for your athlete and you may need to get used to being around it.
Overall, watch the team. How the team interacts is a really great indicator of how the coach coaches!