Answers to Questions

In the comments section of this post I will answer the questions posed through comments left on the blog. If you do not feel that I answered a question satisfactorily, please send me an email, citing what part I did not answer in detail, and I will do my best through email correspondence to answer your questions.


Coach Drew said...

In answer to the question about missing practices. (Posed as a comment under the "Practices" post) For the Varsity Team we established, as a team, that as long as there is a valid excuse, then there would be no consequence for missing practice. As of yet I have not had a problem with boys missing practice, so I have maintained this policy as the acting policy for the team. If I begin to have a problem with the boys showing up for practice, then I will change the policy accordingly. I have heard of, and know other coaches that put restrictions on the amount of playing that they allow a student who has missed a practice to do. I am not of the same belief system as these coaches because I don't understand punishing the team if one of the star players misses a practice for a valid reason, and if the reason is invalid I think it should be the player who pays the price, and not the team.

Coach Drew said...

In answer to the question regarding our defense:

I will take this one point at a time, because there were many concerns raised, and I want to make sure that I cover all of them.

First, as to the advice that has been given to me. I have received some advice as to how some people think would be a better way to run the team. Whether the people who gave me the advice had "years of experience" I'm not sure, some of them may have. However, I take all advice into consideration, understanding that there are many people out there who know more about volleyball than me, and even more who think that they do. Some of the advice I have implemented, some I am still considering, some I don't think would work with our group of boys. Knowing that I don't know everything about the game I take everything into consideration, but I implement what I believe, as a coach, will work for the benefit of our boys, and for the team.

Second, regarding the idea that the team is not improving. I feel bad that you have such a poor opinion of me that you would reflect that upon the boys. As a team, we have our flaws, and the boys do not always play at the ability that they are able to play at. However, to say that they are not improving is a sad statement, not to the boys, or the team, or even to me, but about the person who would say it. I'm not saying that we are where we need to be, I'm not even saying that we have made huge strides in the right direction, only that we are moving in that right direction. We have passing problems, we know that. We need to communicate better, we know that. And we need to work on reacting to our opponents, we also know that. But as a team, and as individuals, the boys are doing much better than when we started. As a general rule, with some glaring exceptions, they are playing as a team much better than the beginning of the season, they are hitting much smarter, and they are blocking much better than the beginning of the season. They are, however, high school boys. They have the emotions of teenagers, and their heads are not always in the game, and as everyone knows, that is the real job of the coach during the game: to keep their heads in the game, to keep their minds on what I'm saying and what we practiced, rather than what the people in the stands are saying, and to keep their emotions in check. My weakness in this area does not constitute the team not improving. I am sorry that you feel that way, and I hope that your pessimism does not extend to your son, or to his team, because I would hate to think that any parent would let their son think that all of his work and effort have not made him better, or that the work of his team has not made his team better. I hope that such pessimism would, if it must be there at all, be directed at the coach, as to not deter from their son's outlook on his team and himself. In this respect the coach makes a wonderful scapegoat. It is very easy to blame things on him and the way that he runs the team, without disregarding the feelings of a player about himself or his team.

Third, pertaining to the "shift defense." After looking it up, I found that it is the same as what is now referred to as the "rotation defense," used by colleges such as the University of Texas, Nebraska, and even the USA Women's National Team. However, it is a far more complicated back row defensive system than we currently have in play, and since we are having problems executing the much simpler defensive system that we are currently running, it is unlikely that we would be able to carry out a more complex system effectively enough for it to make a difference. This is the same reason that we run such a basic offensive system, not that I am lacking the confidence in our team, but I would rather run a basic system, and run it well, than run a complex system poorly. The "man-up" defensive system that we run has it's flaws, as does any other defensive system that any team runs. The "rotation" or "shift" defense has the disadvantage that while the boys are shift-ing, there are huge spots left open that are much easier to hit than the openings that we have now. The problem with that we are having with the "man-up defense" is in the reaction time of the players to the play, and with that being the case, the "shift defense" might quite possibly be the worst defense that we could run. The more glaring disadvantage is the time that it takes to transition from the "shift defense" back to offense. That transition from defense to offense is another problem that we have been having that we are working on fixing in practice.

Fourth, with regard to the team disliking the defensive system. I have not been informed of this by any of the players. If it is a concern, which it may be, I always ask for their input, but I have received no such information from any of the players. If your child has a concern about it, please have him come and talk to me about it, or bring it up during our discussion time, and I will do my best to discuss it with the team.

Lastly, concerning "King of the Court." We play it every day. It is our warm-up drill only. And while you may not understand, it is the best warm-up drill that you can do that works on every one of the skills of volleyball. I do not use it to work on anything specific, just to get them going for the first ten-or-so minutes of practice. I don't expect it to work on their technique, or anything else, I expect it to get them going for practice.