Recently, the Art of Coaching Volleyball staff had a chance to sit down with the University of Oregon Head Coach Jim Moore.
Jim is known for turning programs around throughout his career so we wanted to dive into the details of who he is as a coach and how he was able to turn the worst team in the Pac - 12 in 2004 into the 2nd best team in the country 2012.
This interview covers:
- Jim's Book Recommendations
- What Jim thinks high school players should work on
- What makes a good blocker?
- What Jim learned in coaching the 2012 final four team
- The Chip Kelly Influence
- A simple philosophy
- Coaching multi-sport athletes
- Oregon's Versatile Offense
- What makes Moore a great coach?
- Why Oregon doesn't swing block
- Turning a team around
- Can you overhaul a player’s arm swing?
- Why did Moore choose Oregon?
- Do you change players to fit your strategies or change strategies to fit your players?
Worth a read
Jim Moore read and liked Pat Riley’s “The Winner Within” and says many coaches mention Sun Tzu “The Art of War” as an inspirational book. But one book he says should definitely be on every coach’s bookshelf is “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. Here’s why:
Play and play some more
Moore’s advice to young players on what they should work on in high school: Play the game, love the game. The rest, as he explains here, will fall into place.
What makes a good blocker?
Not everybody is a great blocker. That was true of former Oregon outside hitter Alaina Bergsma, who led the Ducks to last year’s NCAA championship match and was the 2012 NCAA Player of the Year but was, in Moore’s words, a “bad blocker.” His point: Great blocking has a lot to do with personnel; it’s not just about coaching. That said, there are a few keys to improving, which he shares here:
Leadership: It’s up to the player
Moore is firm in his belief that leaders rise up and take the job; they don’t get appointed. In his experience, the process of developing a leader involves giving players opportunities to educate themselves, then seeing who steps up and grabs the role. Here’s his take:
What did Moore learn from the 2012 season, when his team reached the NCAA title match? As much as anything, it reinforced to him that the process is the same each year. If the team buys in to his philosophy, good things are likely to happen. Last year’s team, which Moore says wasn’t nearly as talented as the other 2012 final four teams, earned its spot by playing hard, fast and smart.
The Chip Kelly influence
Moore’s volleyball practice is a lot like a Chip Kelly football practice: Fast and efficient. Kelly, as you probably know, was the Oregon football coach before he became coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Moore made a point of visiting the Ducks’ football practices early in his career at Oregon. Here’s what he learned:
Simple philosophy: Play hard
For Moore, it’s mostly about one thing: Show up for practice and give it everything you’ve got. If you can’t – or won’t – do that, you’re not the player for him.
Playing other sports will make you better at volleyball
Moore doesn’t have a problem with players who are multi-sport athletes. In fact, he thinks it’s a good thing. Here’s why:
Oregon's versatile offense
If you’re a middle blocker at Oregon, you may very well find yourself hitting at the pin from time to time. The Ducks’ offense throws a lot of variety at the opposing team, and that gives hitters the flexibility to hit in unusual spots. As Moore explains, his offense takes some choreography, but not as much as you might think.
What makes Moore a great coach?
Two big reasons Jim Moore says he has had success in college coaching: passion for the job and discipline. Here’s what he says about both:
Why Oregon doesn't swing block
Moore views swing blocking as an emergency move, so it isn’t something his team uses. He explains why here:
Turning a team around
In eight years at Oregon, Moore has turned the Ducks into a national power. Last year, they reached the NCAA championship match and finished the season 30-5. In this video, Moore shares three keys to turning a losing program into a winner.
Can you overhaul a player’s arm swing?
In Moore’s opinion, arm swings can be refined, but he doesn’t believe you can take a bad arm swing and make it great. Here’s why:
Why did Moore choose Oregon?
The resources at Oregon were a big factor in attracting Moore to Eugene. Turns out, it was a good decision.
Do you change players to fit your strategies or change strategies to fit your players?
The Ducks had an unbelievable season in 2012. The 2013 Ducks are a completely different team. Jim discusses how he and his team are dealing with this: