Videos and Principles Worth Many Thousands of Words

Dec. 14, 2011, 7:27 a.m. (ET)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, those who have heard me speak know that I love to use video and images to say far more, during the always too short time I find I have to present.  Since it is the holiday season, it seems fitting to give away some of my favorite videos to help us all grow the game together…

In sharing these ideas, last week I spoke in town at the Olympic Training Center for about an hour at the USA Shooting National Coaching Conference, and wove both shooting and volleyball images into a powerpoint on coaching principles. Their CEO sent a note to my CEO, Doug Beal which said “Thanks for making John available to make a presentation at our coaches conference. John’s outstanding presentation was the best and most relevant of the conference.“   So nice to see that principles fit even in the different methods of shooting...

Then later that week I was lucky enough to return to Arizona, clearly a “pleasure trip,” as Phoenix had rain and highs of 40, while Colorado Springs was basking in single digits and below. It was an adventure though, as not only did I bring along McKenzie, who spoke to the Level II coaches about leadership in an impromptu roundtable, but  our car completely broke down in an blizzard at dawn that morning, about 10 miles from Denver International Airport.   A fun long cold wait in an ever getting colder car, tow truck ride – and a kind tow truck driver that then drove us to the airport, made for a later than planned arrival at the CAP course.   Luckily there are people like Harold Cranswick , Becky Hudson, Eric Hodgson, Audie and Lisa do an exemplary job of running and leading that region, and the CAP cadre of Bill Hamiter, Todd Dagenais and Diana Cole. Fast forward to the departure when Eric gave me a thank you gift which contained a single quote by Thomas Jefferson, that I must share here, as we all work to grow the game together: 

"He who receives and idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine, as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine - Thomas Jefferson

When I finally arrived in the CAP course after noon, my first question to the group was to ask how many of the coaches knew or could point themselves to easily find their program’s Mission Statement? A lot of pens started scratching on paper and you could see the wheels churning – for if you run your own one team club, or are a part of a larger program, you MUST know the expressed purpose of the reason the club exists, on order to make the right decisions along your season’s journey. That and you must have a copy of the club evaluation form which will be given to your team’s parents and players, NOW, so you can combine that with the mission statement to guide your coaching philosophy. 

So in the spirit of the Jefferson quote, I think it important to share my favorite videos I use in most the clinics I present. During a lunch break in Arizona, I showed some of these favorites to get coaches, parents and players to ponder and extend themselves beyond their current limits – and, for those who know me well, of course to laugh heartily…  My laptop has a terabyte hard drive, and I still seem to be running out of room, as videos, pictures and music are so woven into how I live and work. So without further adeiu, here is my top ten list in no particular order, some previously mentioned and most new, and I am certain all will help you be a better coach, parent, or teacher of life and this wonderful lifetime sport.

Topic: The Most important Skill is Reading

Brazil Doubles - This clip of doubles play from Brazil speaks volumes on the value of anticipation and reading in volleyball…

Ronaldo vs Ronald…  Go to about 4 minutes in and watch the differences in levels of reading the game.

Topic:  The Value of Play and Creativity in Every Sport

JP AuClair – My dad was college roomies with the amazing ski filmmaker Warren Miller, who is still making ski movies to this day, and skiing mighty fine in his late 80s. While this is not a Miller film, it captures the joy of play/creativity and more. All the other links he has showing his skiing talent are also quite inspiring.  Street Creativity  and his All I Can movie trailer

Park Skimming – Used to do this after heavy rains at Colorado College -

Kris Holm – Unicyclist –So who is his coach?

Parkour and Free Running Who are these people coaches?

People Are Awesome 1 -

People Are Awesome 2 -

People Are Awesome 2011 -

Topic:  The Importance of Coaches in Kid's Lives

Taylor Mali – On What Teachers “Make…” perhaps one of the most powerful poems I have ever heard.

Coaching Fail -

Coach McGuirk - "Role Model" All of the Cartoon Network series on Coach McC can be considered based on the topics, from psychology, fighting,

Topic: The Value of Real Ball Control:

Lessons from My Dog Peppering -

Water Volleyball -

Rhythmic Gymnastics Ball Control  and

Throwball Nationals – There are dozens of example of this version of ball control

Topic: Philosophy of Coaching

Germany vs. Greece… 

Topic: The Realities of Elite Level Serving.

Anne Matthes European Championships Serve -

Jump Serving Wide but not over the net

USA National Team Calm Coaching and Player -

Samoloooooooooooooooooot  -

Clay Stanley Serving – Look at the identical routine he uses for both the positive error and the amazing ace…

Skyball Option – Remember, Beach/Doubles is great for becoming a better indoor player…

Serving Option

If it makes you feel any better – check out this Brazilian National team level spike

Or you can be inspired by blocking at the Men's World League level -

Topic: Motor Learning Theory

Lessons in Giving Feedback 

Lessons from Jay Kletecka in Serving Simplicity, Routine and Closed Motor Programs-  and from a 4 year old…

Topic:  Sports Psychology

Jessica’s Affirmations – The power of positive affirmations – I can do anything good…

Dove Evolution – To teach your athletes that things are not always what they seem to be

Awareness Testing – To help coaches and players realize the serial nature of the processes of the brain, not the parallel or multitasking myths…

Coach McGuirk on Psychology - and on Goals

Topic: The Randomness of Sport

Eric Shoji Kick Assist -

La Chance Compilation – Note the motorcyclists especially…

Luckiest People Compilation –Life's randomness clearly seen…

Topic: Three Things to Share with the Coaches who Show Up 15 Minutes Early

Murmurations – Canon D and Starlings in Flight -

World League in Slo Motion -

133 Digs in 3 Minutes -

Note, if you thought I would actually limit this to my top ten, you clearly have not taken a clinic from me yet…as setting limits on great information or players does not fit with the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius. This does not include my list of full feature movies or E60 and TED videos, previously discussed, so if this has piqued your interest in using video to teach, go read those blogs done in the past years, for they are pretty timeless…So now, head over to the USA Volleyball website and look at some of the other videos there, starting with the Wounded Warrior Games clip that lasts less than two minutes, of the double match points, with the noise and excitement, so you can share in the spirit of healing through sport…

Then there are the IMPACT Clinic videos – These are also found on the MVP GRO USAV Resource CD, along with dozens of other articles, posters, animated drills, and much more…

Golf for parents

Pin the Tail on Donkey for parents

Referee Calls for parents

Hide and Seek for parents

Age Requirements for parents

Hope you enjoy this year's holiday gift of videos from USA Volleyball and if you have any of your own must views - for this list is not comprehensive, just my top ones, please share in the comment section below.  Thanks for your help in growing the game and lighting other’s candles to light the paths of new players and coaches.  Now mosey on over the video section of USA Volleyball and see what you have also been missing in free webinars and coach development video since you are done here.


The following comments were made on our previous web platform and have been transferred here to maintain the historical record.

On December 21, 2011 John Kessel wrote

One more I will be showing during breaks for sure....we made ESPN as seen here... and a courtside view of the rally with over 85,000 views already is here...

On December 22, 2011 Rhonda Qualls wrote

Thanks John. These videos will continue to help me teach my players. Since your clinic in Little Rock, not a lesson or clinic goes by that I don't say to one of my kids, "The game teaches the Game", or "Here is the why". We are using the white board everyday and the kids come in and write out drills, make up games and teach one another positioning etc. We are having fun the volleyball way. Merry Christmas and Keeping on diggin!!! Rhonda Qualls Jonesboro Storm Trim Gym Volleyball

On January 04, 2012 caroline wrote

Wonderful articles always appreciated.But in China we cannot open Youtube. So sorry.

On February 08, 2012 John Kessel wrote

Here is another one to add to the pre-practice role model video clip list... "Best Hits" -

We very much welcome additional new comments, to be contributed below: