Jim Stone is one of the great thinkers in the sport of volleyball, so it’s not surprising that he has had great success in the coaching arena. For 26 years, he was head coach of the Ohio State women’s team, compiling an impressive 531-294 record and guiding the Buckeyes to 15 NCAA tournament appearances and 2 final fours – in 1991 and ’94.
More recently, he has been the head coach of the USA Youth National Team (2008-13) and was a volunteer assistant at Michigan State in 2014.
One of Jim’s passions is teaching coaches, and you’ll find a lot of informative instructional tips and strategy explanations from him at theartofcoachingvolleyball.com, where he is a contributing editor. Here, as part of our ongoing series with top-level coaches, Jim shares 10 things he has learned during his notable career.
- Embrace technology- it will benefit your players and allows the coach to be a better teacher.
- Having fun and working hard are not mutually exclusive. One doesn’t have to be the crazy man that I was as a younger coach.
- The current substitution rule in college (15 subs) has not helped the game. The continuous substitutions make any rhythm to the game impossible to achieve and shortchange the skill development of players.
- It is so important to have quality coaches at the 12’s and 14’s level. The young ones are very impressionable, and positive habits can be developed.
- Coaches must aggressively pursue learning opportunities. I’ve learned so much since leaving Ohio State from coaching both internationally and young players in club volleyball.
- Using video as a teaching tool is underutilized. Your players value seeing what they are doing way more than they value hearing the coach tell them what they are doing.
- Coaches need to take days off from jumping during practice. There is plenty to work on with passing, overhead skills and defense. The impact of continuous jumping on young players is underestimated.
- The visual component of the game is critical. Watching closely and anticipating the next play makes the game much easier.
- Body-weight exercises to gain strength are very productive and will keep players healthy.
- One of the never-changing constants is that the ability to serve and pass effectively generally dictates who wins the match.