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USA Volleyball

I am a New Coach

Welcome Coach, and thanks for giving to our sport by coaching, whether you have played the game or not. It is the ultimate team sport and with all the uniqueness therein (Click HERE to see those…) both coaching and playing the game will fill the rest of your life with the joy and adventures found in those unique aspects. This section also serves as a review area for more experienced coaches, as we share these core ideas on being the best teacher you can be.

With hundreds of helpful articles, videos, posters and more in the grassroots section you have discovered, we thought that making a list of the most important ones can get you off on the right foot. Remember however, that kids don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care….

1. Never be a Child’s Last Coach – This Grow the Game Together blog article shares insights in how to help your players learn to love the game with your coaching that focuses on giving them a love of the game, so each of your players continue in sport after they leave your coaching.

2. Guide to Volleyball Basics (PDF Download - 24 Pages) A short booklet that gives you the basics of the game on many levels.

3.  Youth Volleyball Book and Information – A free coaching manual with creative equipment, warm up/cool down, drills/games, scoring and teaching ideas for players of all ages.

4. Sign up for IMPACT Training – offered online, or in person in each of the USAV Regions (know as RVAs – Regional Volleyball Associations, listed HERE) - When you get the time, join us on the court for a USAV Coaching Accreditation Program (“CAP”) course. Click Here for future updates of our CAP courses.

5. The Ten New Commandments of Coaching – Nuff said….

6. From Positive to Perfection Teaching players from the start to focus on training each skill in non-traditional ways which get them to make errors that are “good” mistakes vs. the traditional “negative” errors.

7. My Favorite Coach – A list of the key things players want from the best coach they can have.

8. The Game Teaches the Game – Remember how you learned to ride a bike? Did your parents put you through bike riding drills or progressions? Did they hire a bike riding coach or send you to a bike riding camp? The value of play and reading woven into the game as it teaches, which is tied into Establishing a Culture of Play

9. Motor Learning Theory – Carl McGown’s gift to all coaches from youth to Olympic level – a chance to learn from the best teacher of the science of motor learning in our sport. Make sure to visit for more of his thoughts and to find out how to attend great learning experiences as a coach or player.

10. Contacts Per Hour – We learn best by doing, not watching, and this blog shares ideas on how to get more touches of the ball in the same amount of time compared to traditional training.

11. The Player who Knows WHY Beats the Player who Knows How – The same goes for the coach who knows why beating the coach who knows how. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson “The person who knows how, will always have a job; the person who knows why will always be his boss…

12. The Most Important Skill in Volleyball– It is “Reading,” in part as you have seen in this section for a new coach, for it takes reading to absorb all this. However, this key skill is about seeing the ball on the other side of the net, giving your players more time to know where and when to be in the right place. It is about teaching the game BETWEEN contacts.

Coaching Philosophy

As a new coach, you need to spend some time reflecting on what you will tell your players (perhaps their parents if you are coaching juniors) and others as to what YOUR coaching philosophy is. This should be simple, principle driven and guide your actions and decisions made in teaching your players this sport for a lifetime. What follows are some readings which can help guide you in the development your philosophy.

Primum Non Noncore – Using the Hippocratic Oath to guide your coaching.

Kessel's Handy Guide to Ruining a Player - A humorous by powerful look at ways coaches teach on and off the court which might not be as effective as once thought….

Dear Vocal Coach – Reflections on why so many coaches fail to follow core teaching principles seen in the classroom, when they step onto the court to teach a game.

Ten Imprudent and Obtuse Things I Generally Avoided in Coaching Somehow – Some variations and outright new versions of “Stupid Volleyball Trainer Tricks.”

What Does a Teacher Make? – Remembering that you are a teacher really, this four minute performance of a poem by Taylor Mali

More Words to Chew on….

As it is your feedback/feedforward that is the number one way you impact the skill development – in both volleyball techniques and the many life lessons.

Suggested Book Readings for Youth Coaches – Fourteen top books worth reading if you are coaching players under the age of 18

USA Volleyball Rule Book – Known worldwide as a “Domestic Competition Regulations (USAV is one of 220 National Federations in the FIVB – the International Volleyball Federation – ) you can buy order a hard copy, and will get one if you take a USAV officiating course, with hundreds offered each year by the Regions, or CLICK HERE to download a copy

Volleyball Jargon – This just helps you fast track to sounding like you have been around volleyball for years, even in your first season

Sports Quotes - As coaching volleyball is in no small part about inspiring and empowering your players, these thousands of best choices of words will help you connect your coaching philosophies to both effort on the court and life off that 9 x 18 meter space.

Choosing the Right Words – Thoughts for a new coach on changing some of the traditional words we use.

The Talent Code – A must read great book worth reading, and a great blog worth following. Dan Coyle’s insights will help fast track any new coach to be a better teacher of the game.

Words for Players – A reminder that we have a large collection of articles to help you guide your players -


The new USA Volleyball SportKit DVD (2013-2016 version) is now available to help all USAV Clubs, PE teachers and school coaches, and Affiliated Organizations like YMCAs and Park & Recs.

The DVD contains free books, skill and drill videos (both indoor and ParaVolley to show the gamelike similarities), posters, handouts, quizzes, court creation ideas and much more. It has sections for elementary, junior high and high school aged athletes and programs.  The DVD is also free to copy to give out to parents, players, teachers or coaches during your own program’s training and clinics. Marty Miller out of the Iowa Region has his young players write a thank you letter to their PE Teacher for helping them, and as a gift, they give the teacher the DVD, a great example of empowering the kids rather than adults doing all the work. USAV Regions mail them to anyone interested in starting new programs, as the recipients get decades worth of experience and ideas to grow the game with USA Volleyball. Email your mailing address to to get a copy at no cost. (Mac users please download the VideoLAN, VLC Media Player for ease of use.)

Good luck new coach, and email if you have new ideas in growing the game, or questions that perplex you…