After looking through some old blogs and searching around for something to procrastinate from study, I came upon Setter’s Rules by Mark Lebedew. It discusses some basic rules for executing setting in volleyball. I have previously had discussions with a number of people about these rules and found it interesting to read over it again.
These “Setter’s Rules” came from Harlan Cohen, an American volleyball coach who had been involved with various level, including the US National Womens Team.
1. THE SETTER MUST PLAY EVERY SECOND BALL
2. THE SETTER MUST SET EVERY BALL WITH HIS / HER HANDS
3. THE SETTER MUST ALWAYS JUMP SET
It got me thinking about another conversation I previously had with Alexis Lebedew (Mark’s brother) about why should we limit junior athletes because we think something is too difficult for them? If we limit them how can they ever be expected to improve?
These setters rules are simple, and specific, but still provide scope for vast differences in technique and style. What they do however is say the responsibility (rule #1), and a minimum standard (rules #2 and #3). Other than this the rest is up to the coach and athlete to work out for themselves.
Why shouldn’t all technical “rules” and directions be simple and specific? I am regularly in discussions (and arguements) with coaches about how something should be done, or what the best way to do it is, and undoubtably these conversations talk about tiny little technical aspects that at the end of the day are probably not the most important part anyway.
Maybe the best way to teach a skill is to keep it as simple as possible, and let the athlete develop their own individual tendencies around that. The only issue then is that if a different coach comes along to work with the athelte, are they going to have the same philosophy? Or will they want to force a particular style on the athlete that will then alter what they have done with you? Often coaches want to do something spectacular to show how clever they are, and what a good coach they are, when in reality it takes away from what they are trying to teach.
In the Australian Junior Womens Program, the technical skill of passing has documents with up to 20 skill keys, when in reality, the main one that is focussed on and really the only one needed is “platform to target”. This is the simplest of keys, but very clear and has a minimum standard, if the reult is different to what you want, chances are it can be corrected with this. You can always be further develop and progress the skill, explaining the way the platform should be held and the footwork involved and the way you aim and move the platform etc. but at the end of the day, if the platform is pointing at the target, then the ball will go that way. This simple instruction will also allow for the athlete to add their own characteristics and be able to best use their natural physicality and movement patters, without taking away from what is needed to perform the skill with technical accuracy.
If you allow for greater and more difficult things to happen they may just do that, if the environment is controlled so that only the desired task can be completed, then the athlete will never achieve more that is required.