An inside look at a season of coaching and training
Last year, Art of Coaching visited a number of high school and college gyms to bring you a close-up look at how great teams prepare for competition. We’ll be doing the same this year, but we’re taking it a step further. To offer a more comprehensive look at how a team progresses over the course of a season, we’ll be featuring a weekly video journal from Bishop’s High in La Jolla, California. Bishop’s is a perennial winner coached by Tod Mattox, who’s in his 20th season at the school and well respected in the coaching community.
In our first segment, you’ll get an inside look at a preseason practice and witness numerous teaching moments between Tod and his players. Among the drills, skills and coaching tips you’ll view:
- A detailed practice plan and thoughts from Mattox on what should be emphasized in the preseason.
- Arm warm-ups and float-serve practice.
- Technique work designed to create a calmer passing platform.
- Drills and technique work on how to win a net joust with a push and wipe.
- A drill to improve the lift tip.
- A drill to help an offense and, specifically, a setter make wiser choices when trying to beat the block.
- A lesson for middle blockers on how to coordinate with the pin blocker to shut down the left-side attack.
Early-season focus: Lots of technique
The focus in preseason for Bishop's is lots of technique work, including arm swing, non-setter setting, serving and passing.
As Bishop's coach Tod Mattox explains, technique work will be reduced as the season progresses and more time will be devoted to strategy and decision-making.
The day's practice plan
Practices at Bishop's begin with an inspirational quote, then warmups, then the work phase.
In this video, Mattox reviews the day's practice plan with a look at the white board.
3-phase arm warmup
After a standard team warmup, Bishop's players get their arms ready for play with a 3-phase partner drill. The progression:
1. Hitting the ball down so it bounces directly to the partner on the other side of the net. (Emphasis on keeping the ball in front of you.)
2. Hitting the ball over the net.
3. Hitting the ball over the net after an approach to the 10-foot line.
Float serves to reinforce good contact
Continuing to warm up their arms, Bishop's players serve balls over the net to a partner, starting 20 feet from the net and then moving back to the service line. The final stage is serving from the service line and running to their defensive positions.
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