This is an coaching article that Ryan Millar wrote about a theory he has on the changing game of volleyball. Quality over Quantity without a doubt helped our USA Volleyball Team to the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The game of volleyball has changed... That statement rings true louder than ever before nowadays. A volleyball match is won in an hour and a half. I remember playing volleyball matches in college that would last three hours plus. The game has changed. So how we train and practice must change. After going through exactly what it takes to win the ultimate prize in volleyball, quality over quantity is the new revolution of volleyball training. There was never a time during our Olympic conquest that we ever felt over-trained.
Our head coach on the US National Team Hugh McCutcheon was the pioneer of this revolution. Hugh was incredibly good at knowing the exact time to finish practice. I think many coaches nowadays think that a good practice means, “Keep going. We are playing at a high level of course we should continue to practice longer.” I say do the opposite.
Let me explain. First, good coaches are practice planners. Know exactly what you want to do at practice before hand. Think about it the day or night before. Think about the things that your team needs to be better at. Bring the plan that you have worked on to practice and implement it. Warm up, stretch, ball control, good competitive arm swing warm up drill, maybe some blocking or defensive work, and then a well designed 6 on 6 drill. Be attentive. Watch what is happening. Feel the vibe of the practice. If you feel that you need to intervene in order to motivate the players to work harder, or pay special attention to a certain aspect, please do. If your 6 on 6 drill is taking too long to finish, stop practice and finish the drill the next day. DO NOT sacrifice quality over quantity. Your practices will benefit, your players will benefit, and your results will benefit.
I have a philosophy when I play volleyball. If I am going to be here, I might as well be here. What I mean by this is if I am going to be at a certain place to practice, I am going to give my all during the time I am there. If I commit to become the best volleyball player I can, I have to be able to put forth the best effort I can. There have been numerous times during a tough practice I have said to myself, “Man o man this is a really hard practice, oh well if I am going to be here, I might as well be here.” Seems simple enough right? This philosophy if instilled properly into your players can work wonders.