Videos Used in My 2013 Teachings

By John Kessel | Dec. 18, 2013, 12:28 p.m. (ET)

In my annual tradition of giving back to the sport in December, click through these videos which I have on my laptop and use in my clinics and practice sessions both at home and around the world….Most of these I previously shared in our USAV Sport Development’s “Growing the Game Together” newsletter which we put out twice a month. If you are not getting this newsletter, contact and ask to be included.  Enjoy!

Gonzalo Morales from Peru – A five year old shows the power of “street play,” in this case, learning to use a skateboard.

Understanding Talent - This film was developed by sportscotland to help young athletes understand what 'talent' is and how you can get good at sport – a choice, not genetics. This is a must show at your parent meetings this fall.

The Myth of Wrist Snap/Rolling the Wrist – Malcom Gladwell addresses this myth in tennis, and notes how information from world class players who can perform but not be able to explain accurately what they are doing.

Wright’s Law – A very unique teacher named Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, and in a way coaches can emulate, uses his own personal story to teach them the true meaning of life. See the video at

Imaginate – For great video series set ( regarding pushing your own limits, Darren Roberts from Red Bull UK spent two full years working on the video series with Danny Macaskill. It started as a concept, was sketched on a piece of graph paper, then evolved to the final production you can see here: Be sure to watch the “bloopers” at the end and for behind-the-scenes clips. 

Play Without Thinking – Texas Tech Head Football Coach Kliff Kingsbury throws out the playbook in this great video ( look of a different, more creative, more intuitive way to play football. Employing unorthodox practice techniques and a blinding pace, Kingsbury, who at 33 is the youngest head coach in the BCS, is trying to get his team to play on a very pure and instinctual level. "We do not have a playbook," says Kingsbury in the film. "We draw it for 'em and they write it down and we've found they learn it better." 

Beach Volleyball Partnerships to Ponder – A very funny clip featuring Kerri Walsh Jennings in a partnership with a rather interesting male teammate.

Let’s See how the Adults Like it – Imagine what a 10-year-old feels like playing on a full size court and net height. In this video (, a group of adults experienced what it is like to be one of the kids playing soccer on a full size pitch, by using a supersized goal and field of play at St. George's Park, Scotland. This inspired me to film a similar video for USA Volleyball, which can be seen here: USA Hockey will film a similar video this winter at its USA Pond Hockey Championships, bulldozing a double sized rink and building oversized goals for the adult to skate and play on. 

A Journey to Mastery – ALL coaches should share this one with their teams and staff – even though it is about mastery of the yo-yo: “If I make enough efforts with a huge passion, there is no impossible…” 

Waiting for Lightning - Maybe the best video on deliberate practice of the decade – I bought three copies online to give out as gifts and teach with.

Volley All Festival Examples - This is the period that the FIVB promotes their Volley All Festivals – if you click on the slide show you will see some great examples of how other nations are growing the game around the world!

The Little Team – A Spanish coach forwarded this video ( to USA Volleyball Sport Development and we passed it along to Dan Coyle at, who shares his thoughts and link to this great video about sport for children. It is well worth the viewing!

Escaping Education’s Death Valley - Sir Ken Robinson outlines three principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility. View it at

Every Kid Needs a Champion – Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to coaches to believe in their athletes and connect with them.

100 Digs in 2 Minutes – This version has GREAT slow motion to see what is happening at high speed to dig the ball UP!, plus who doesn’t like Cotton Eyed Joe?

Karch Kiraly’s Google+ Hangout Video Interview – Last month eight lucky fans got a chance to spend time online with Karch asking questions no doubt just like yours would have been, and Karch responded with great insights as always, Check it out at:

SNL Parody of Coaching Skills – In IMPACT we apply the “TV” or “YouTube” teast to see if a coach’s conduct is appropriate to even be seen broadcast. Also know as the “Gramma Test,” it asks what would your grandmother say if she saw a video of you doing whatever. Recently actions by a collegiate basketball coach brought Saturday Night Live to parody a coach’s “skills” at teaching a sport in a way worth reflection by all coaches of any sport.

The Skill of Self Confidence - A 14-minute TEDx video by Dr. Ivan Joseph that applies to all ages of volleyball players.

For the Bullied and Beautiful - By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it's like to be young and … different. "To This Day," his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowdsource-style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.

Title IX Voices – February is Women in Sports month and this clip shares from worthwhile voices sharing their thoughts about sport for women.

Never Too Young to Start Right  - Sports that have closed motor program loops have an advantage in that you can start being successful quite young. Volleyball is an open motor program skill set except in serving, but this cute clip shows how fun sport can be for all in the family when starting young.

People Are Awesome - This inspiring video shows some of the amazing things people can do in sport and life, showing in both slow and regular motion. It is a great pre-tourney motivator for any team.

Fantastic Volleyball Save to Point – When coaches speak about relentless pursuit and never giving up, this save in a Canadian men’s match the first week of February 2013 sets a new standard worth sharing with your team.

Life of a Club Volleyball Official – Take a look at a humorous video at what many club volleyball officials go through. If you missed it, my son created one on a coach/parent meeting that is also funny but true – and can be seen here:

MiniVolley in Italy – USA Volleyball has been working with FIPAV, the Italian Volleyball Federation since 1982 on youth volleyball projects.  This video shows what they are currently doing with sponsor Kinder, their national teams and youth volleyball. USA Volleyball staff joined the youth leaders in this summer and one of this year’s GTGT blogs was on the lessons learned there. 

Kids Need Structure – Former Pentagon Chief of Staff Colin Powell delivers this excellent 20 minute TED talk on the importance of structure in kids lives – the parallels to practice and competition experiences are right on…

The 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year, brothers Connor and Cayden Long who run triathlons together are featured in this inspiring story -

Redefine Your Mission - U.S. Paralympics, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has released a new public service announcement (PSA) to urge Veterans and service members with a physical disability to get involved in community sport programs and opportunities. It features U.S. Navy Veteran Michael Johnston, a 2016 Paralympic Games hopeful in paratriathlon, who used sports in his rehabilitation after losing his left leg below the knee following a motorcycle accident in 2003.  Redefine your mission, then find your sport and get involved.

Ideas in Using Pattern Interruption - Learn about pattern interruption and other great ways to be a better teacher and coach in this recent New York Times video. 

John Wooden – If you are a new coach, take our advice and read anything coach Wooden, the legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, has written. The same goes if you are an experienced coach. In this 17 minute video he reflects on the differences between winning and succeeding. 

Powerful Paralympic Story - From Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Responsible Sports series, a powerful educational video on one athlete’s journey to Paralympic Success.

TRIPLE Six Pack -  Just fun to show your team not one, or two but three head shots from one attack, ah the randomness of the game…