More Than Just a Volleyball Coach by Jeff Steinberg

I have been coaching volleyball since I was a freshman in college back in 2010. Crazy to think that it has already been 10 years. I started out coaching high school club volleyball, then helped as a student assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for one season, and then when I started teaching I started coaching boys and girls varsity volleyball.

 

I believe it is important to remember I am more than just a volleyball coach. I am not concerned with our win/loss record at the end of the season (don’t get me wrong, I love to win).

What I am most concerned with as a coach is that I am teaching these young athletes how to become responsible young adults.

 

 

I want my players to understand the importance of hard work, how to be a team player, and how to have a positive attitude and mindset towards everything they encounter.

What I am most concerned with as a coach is that I am teaching these young athletes how to become responsible young adults.

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I read a book called “InSideOut Coaching” by Joe Ehrmann, and he brings up a concept that has stuck with me. I cannot remember exactly what he calls it, but I call it the 10 year report card.

He brings up this idea that a coach will not know how much of an impact he had on his players until 10 years down the road.

Coach Ehrmann said he knows he has achieved his mission when his players have come back to him 10 years down the road and tell him how being a part of his team had a positive impact on their lives.

This is a dream of mine. I think about this every day. How am I helping my players find themselves and become great human beings? I think we all should keep this in our mind with coaching and not get lost in the day to day tasks.

 

I coach high school boys and girls volleyball. I am the head varsity coach for the boys team at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois, and I am the assistant varsity coach for the girls’ volleyball team at Benet. This is where I teach PE as well.

 

 

It seems as though more and more players are specializing in volleyball at earlier ages. Girls have always started playing volleyball at young ages, but now we are seeing boys playing club volleyball at earlier ages too.

I also think that more players are participating in strength and conditioning earlier, which has resulted in a faster game with stronger hitters, bigger blocks, and higher jumpers.

 

As a coach in a school system, I face a few different challenges than club coaches. I coach at a school with very strong academics. These students are up late at night studying, and are very focused throughout the day.

Sometimes at practices our players are very tired from a lack of sleep and a tough week of homework and tests. This can make it difficult because we do not want to overwork our athletes or cause any injuries (when fatigued, injury likelihood sky rockets). There are certain drills that require a lot of mental focus, such as sitting in serve-receive for an extended period of time.

This is an important skill to develop, and we spend a lot of time on it. When our players are tired, it just makes it that much more difficult. If we can find a way to persevere through this tiredness though, that will only make us stronger when we are in the third set of a match playing for a state championship.

It is my job to help our student-athletes understand the importance of balance and perseverance.

 

Our volleyball programs have around 40 players, and each team has around 15. I think the biggest challenge is constantly evaluating what is the biggest priority for practices for our team and individual players.

There is only so much time in our short season to improve certain aspects of our game. There are certain bad habits that both beginners and experienced players have, and some of these habits are not easy to break.

As a coaching staff we are constantly evaluating what areas of our game need to be improved for us to have the greatest likelihood of being successful and able to compete for a state championship.

This requires a lot of stats and film time to really break down what should be our highest priority in upcoming practices. The dream solution would be for me to get to coach these athletes year round!

There are strict regulations on how much coaching you are able to do in the off season. It makes sense why these regulations are in place, but as a coach, I would love more time with our athletes to further develop skill as well as aid in breaking down any bad habits that can be detrimental to a season.

 The #stayathome movement 

The #stayathome movement has been a big adjustment for us. As far as my personal life, my wife and I are expecting our first child in the next month, and it has been a very stressful time period.

There were so many things we had planned in these months leading up to our due date, and that has changed drastically. We try to stay positive, take things day by day, and we trust God will protect us.

I have found that creating a daily schedule has helped me adjust to being in the house so much. I have set specific time for continuing education (currently working on a nutrition certification), PE, volleyball, exercise, and family. I am grateful for getting to see my wife so much as this is typically a time of the year where I am gone a lot due to us being in season for boys volleyball.

My yard has also been getting some much needed attention that it typically does not get until the summer!

Both my wife and I are very active. Fortunately, over the past few years I have slowly been buying equipment to build my own home gym in my basement. I have everything I need to keep up with my workouts, which has been great.

On the other hand coaching has been very difficult and has required me and my staff to be creative in how we communicate with our athletes. There is only so much we can do from afar.

Our coaching staff has been sending our players different volleyball drills that they can do at home on their own, training programs, as well as some of the philosophies we would be teaching them in the gym.

On a weekly basis I am reaching out to our athletes and checking in to see how they are doing and if there is anything I can help them with. Everyone just really wants to get back in the gym, and I hope we will have an opportunity to do that this season. 

 

When I am not teaching PE or coaching volleyball, I am a certified personal trainer. (Quick plug -- check out www.stonemountaintraining.org if interested in online training and looking for help with exercise and nutrition!) This knowledge has come in handy for both our off season training, as well as this social distancing.

 

I have created a training program that our players are able to do at home with minimal equipment. This program is focused on both strength and conditioning, as well as addressing injuries that are commonly seen with volleyball players. I have included specific exercises to build strength in our shoulders, glutes, and hips to reduce the likelihood of developing shoulder and knee injuries.

Our athletes are working hard so when we return to the gym we are in the best shape possible, allowing us to focus strictly on volleyball.

 

Jeff Steinberg

 

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