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USA Volleyball


SafeSport Information for Coaches

Advance your Coaching Education

The USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program (USAV-CAP) provides an opportunity for professional preparation and advancement for the volleyball coach. The curriculum addresses the essential topics for the volunteer and the internationally aspiring coach. Each course level includes a special emphasis on building the foundation and creation of a well-prepared coach. This knowledge coupled with hands-on coaching experience creates an ideal learning experience.

USAV-CAP has been helping coaches further their coaching education for the past 17 years in the classroom, on the court, and via the Internet. In that time, more than 35,000 coaches have taken USAV-CAP courses across the United States. USAV-CAP is happy to have you as part of our team.

Click here to learn more about coaching education through USA Volleyball.

Growing the Game Together - This downloadable PDF contains all of John Kessel's Growing the Game Blogs from 2013 to May 10, 2014. 

Growing the Game Together – Coaches and Club Director Edition – As our second “Holiday Gift” to USAV coaches and club directors this special FREE PDF download of the new book compilation featuring posts from the Grow the Game Together blog. This book is subtitled “Insights and GTGT Coaches and Club Directors 2013 Edition Thoughts on the Science, Facts, and Principles of Sport and Volleyball,” and is available for download NOW!

National Federation of State High School Associations - NFHS offers Fundamentals of Coaching Volleyball

To help your players understand the difference between things they can and cannot control. Here is a great article to help you help them understand What can a player control, use this link:

Support USA Volleyball and the Sport

When you join your Regional Volleyball Association (RVA), you become a registrant of USA Volleyball (USAV), just like the players on the 2008 Beijing Games gold and silver medal winning USA Volleyball teams. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body (NGB) of the sport, serving the lifetime sport of volleyball at all ages and levels, through its 40 RVAs and other affiliated members. For more information on joining your local RVA, click here to see a map of the 40 RVAs. Contact the RVA servicing your area through the website link.

USA Volleyball Posters 


You can find these posters and more here


Many new ideas are posted to the Grow the Game Blog. There, recommendations on new books for coaches to learn from, clinic ideas, training tips and many other coaching secrets are shared. Let us know if you have an article to share here, email us at

USAV Minivolley (PDF Download - 98 pages)

Here is the newly updated 2012 book to help ALL levels - especially youth - to grow the game. Almost 40 years of ideas - rules and the spirit of the rules, scoring variations, movement games, skills, core concepts, "secrets," game options, winning the serve pass war, and much more. These ideas will help any program of any age. They are especially directed to assist program coaches and teachers in running better youth and novice training. This matches with the "Training Volleyball Through Games" video also posted as our gift to all coaches worldwide. The 2012 edition of the Minivolley book is also available in Spanish.

Kids Volleyball Coloring Book! - (PDF Download 32 pages) - Give your child, youth teams or nieces and nephews a copy of this ALL volleyball characters coloring book. Black and white so you can bring it to life in colors. This new version 4 contains sitting volleyball cartoons, too! If you have a volleyball drawing or two that you have done and wish to donate to the next edition, email to

USA Volleyball Crossword Puzzle - (PDF Download 1 page) 

Here is a fun volleyball based crossword puzzle that you can download for your players to test their knowledge of the game.   

Names for Games (PDF Download - 1 page)

The chance to do more games means there are more names needed for these training events. This is a collection of games compiled as of 02/28/2011. 

Volleyball Canyons to Bridge (PDF Download - 2 pages)

Reflections on the gaps between training and competition.

Importance of Optimizing Meaningful Touches (PDF Download - 16 pages)

There is no greater joy for kids than learning a new skill or taking their game to the next level. It is impossible for that to happen if they don't have a chance to a sufficient number of meaningful touches in practice. 

Becoming a Collegiate Athlete (Linked USA Section)

Check out the large amount of collegiate info found under the Resources section of our website, by clicking here. Links to all key answers to questions about eligibility, recruiting, or playing at the collegiate level are found there.

FIVB 15 Points of Volleyball Coaching Ethics (.jpg file- 4MB)

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has 220 International Federations as members. These 15 points also spell the word VOLLEYBALL COACH. The page then shows this same article being translated into French, Spanish, and Arabic, for the world of volleyball is very vast.

From Positive to Perfection (PDF Download - 4 Pages)

There is a new principle which I would ask all coaches and players to incorporate in their training, something that goes against the traditional way of training as well as the easier options currently being done. After almost 40 years of coaching, I have seen the very beneficial and successful impact of focusing on this concept at every age - from youth to Olympic team. The title says it all - to first teach positive errors on the path to perfection, in every training.

25 Questions for Volleyball Coaches (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

While stranded in New Jersey for a couple of days in a blizzard, after doing a USA CAP course...I began this list of questions that should guide everyone towards being a better coach...

Kessel's Handy Guide to Ruining a Player (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

The guidelines herein are possibly known by you as a committed coach, but are not properly enforced. These guidelines and suggestions will insure that you, your ego, and its desire to win will take precedence over any individual or team development situation.

PRACTICE #1. Design all drills to be controlled by the coach, never by the athletes.

Offside Hitting (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

The concept of offside skills is not new to sport. In basketball a player dribbles with either hand. In lacrosse the players must have the ability to shoot from either side. In soccer the players have to be able to put the ball in the net using either foot.

An Open Letter to all Coaching 14 and Under (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

Dear Coach - I went to a 12 and 10 & under volleyball league recently, and had flashbacks to my time playing Little League baseball as a Camarillo Eagle. I would hunker out there in "Right Field," just like the classic Peter Paul and Mary song by the same name, getting into a ready position over and over again, talking "chatter" to keep sane, and seeing a ball come my way once a game if I was very lucky. One ball an hour, maybe.

Injury Prevention Through Proper Reading and Anticipation (PDF - 4 Pages)

Volleyball is a unique sport in that it's both cyclic and acyclic in nature. Skills such as digging are totally random movements (acyclic). The player must instantly react and dive for the ball based on its flight path. Skills, such as spiking, are patterned (cyclic) movements. The approach, jump and spike is repeated as a pattern with consistent contact for the kill as the prime objective. These two types of movements offer unique challenges in the prevention of injury to the volleyball player. Traditional injury prevention methods emphasize the strengthening of muscles in general, and the tendons and ligaments surrounding joints through progressive overload. But being out of position in performing patterned movement skills can create stress on the body which can cause injuries both acute and chronic, which all the strength and conditioning in the world may not be able to prevent. The author explores this little-attended fact to bring attention to how good reading, anticipation and reaction skills can lead not only to top level performance but prevent injury as well.

Holding a Successful One Time Kids Skill Clinic (PDF Download - 5 Pages)

This short article presents the core framework for putting on a successful, non-traditional clinic, of varying length. Cue words, Skill and drills suggestions and even homework examples for each skill in the game.

Coaching Coaches - 10 things to Think About (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

by Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director, USA Swimming: I have spent the past thirty years working in the sports business. I have coached basketball, lacrosse, soccer and swimming ... and I have had the opportunity to work with many other sports, including: baseball, canoe/kayak, golf, running, snowboarding, tennis, triathlon and volleyball. I have observed coaches at all levels: young coaches and experienced coaches, lazy coaches and dedicated coaches, troubled coaches and wise coaches. Like every other profession, the ranks of coaches offer a full spectrum of personalities and styles. Recently, I was asked to offer some advice to a group of young coaches. For better or worse, here were my ten tips.

Crosstraining in Volleyball (PDF - 3 Pages)

Most coaches are not aware of the many options to play the game of volleyball. This handout is intended to give you reference to options to the indoor 6 vs. 6 game, that you might have your players experience. New, fun and different...a break from what you do normally.

Volleyball Jargon - (PDF - 7 Pages)

Humorous and serious, a collection of most the unique words found in volleyball.

Dear Vocal Coach (PDF - 2 Pages)

Please read the following email from a dear friend, whose daughter plays volleyball. The names have been changed, and some sentences deleted, but none added/created by me, to make it be more of a generic version of what I see at USA Volleyball on a weekly basis: >>My daughter is still into VB. She leaves on Saturday for our national season ending event.

Guide to Volleyball Basics (PDF - 24 Pages)


This guide is intended to help you attain a basic understanding of the game of volleyball. It was begun with the help of Jim Paglia, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) Volleyball Council and John Kessel of USA Volleyball. For more help, contact You may wish to keep this booklet handy and refer to it often as you become more comfortable with the rules, procedures, and customs of volleyball. Get out and play. The more you play, the more you'll improve. Even the "backyard warrior" who doesn't intend to go beyond the occasional recreational game needs to be familiar with the basics. If you tend to play infrequently, or you're just getting into the game, you'll find it helpful to briefly skim this booklet before each volleyball outing. Soon, the rules, terminology, and various hand signals will become second nature to you. Your skills and confidence will grow rapidly once you've mastered the basics. You can also learn a great deal by watching others. Study other players' techniques and team tactics. Look to get games against better players and don't hesitate to ask a teammate lots of questions. Even the most experienced players know that communication both on and off the court makes for better volleyball.

How to Make Drills that Work for your Team (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

At almost every coach's clinic that I teach, most of the coaches in attendance want to come away from that clinic with a large notebook full of drills that they can take home and use in their practices to make their team the best in the league. And why shouldn't they? They know that the teams that practice the best drills tend to become the best teams. The problem comes in defining that word "best". If the drills don't work for your team, and if they don't do the job for which they were designed, they aren't the best drills, no matter how cleverly designed they may be. There is no recipe book of drills that will do the job for your team. You, the coach, have to design the drills that are going to help your team reach its potential. So let's take a look at some of the things that will help you to make drills that work for your team.

How to Start a Junior Volleyball Program (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

This is a very quick starting a junior volleyball program guide. Beginning a USA Volleyball junior volleyball program can be both a rewarding and a frustrating experience. The sources of the rewards are rather apparent - the opportunity to see those young people grow and develop, the excitement of athletic competition, and the joy of a job well done.

My Favorite Coach (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

He knows that kids don't care how much he knows about this sport, until they know how much he cares about them.

She understands that it is even when a paycheck is included, that it is more than just winning games that she is doing with her players, and focuses on team building through off court activities.

My Favorite Player (PDF - 2 Pages)

After thirty plus years of coaching in this great sport, I think it is time to tell you who my favorite player is. Every coach has one you see, and I am no different. The player I am talking about I have never measured in height, but I know this player has the biggest heart of the team, and always plays up to a special stature.

It's Not Where you Are, It's Who You Are (PDF - 3 Pages)

This started as an email I sent to the top five USA Team battling to qualify as the two 2000 Beach Volleyball Teams for each gender. As the Beach Volleyball Olympic Team Leader in a sport that just now is recognizing coaches, I enjoyed the challenge of preparing and forming teams from individuals and changing partnerships and to give the players all they needed to succeed on the sand in Sydney. I have used that experience again in the last two Pan American Games with our USA men and women's beach teams as Team Leader and coach. Most recently these ideas were used in Athens in 2004 as Team Leader for our first ever Paralympic Women's Sitting Volleyball Bronze Medal team, and to help kids playing volleyball who have inquired about how to deal with problem coaches and to assist those seeking to excel. Originally, I titled this article "How to Excel Under Any Coach."

Player Information Gathering Form

Combine with the page below, printing one page back to back and you have a great way to gather information on over 25 different things about each player - so you can better coach them. Remember, the kids don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care...

Download here

Suggested Book Readings for Youth Coaches (PDF - 1 Page)

Fourteen top books worth reading if you are coaching players under the age of 18.

Quality over Quantity - (PDF Download, 2 Pages) by Ryan Millar, 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and USAV CAP Cadre member.

Splinter Siblings (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

Dear Coach,

I am becoming frustrated with my lack of court time during matches. My coach keeps telling me that I am improving, but I keep having to get tweezers on to my splinters after each game. I have thought about changing clubs but I would prefer to stay where I am, as I enjoy the atmosphere in this club.

Things I have Learned the Hard Way (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

I HAVE LEARNED THAT... What I learn or teach in the classroom can only be truly understood by coaching in a gym. ...No matter how much I care, some players don't know how to care back, so I must teach them and remain steadfast as a role model in caring.

Cloth/Balloon Volleyball (PDF Download 3 Pages)

Click Here for a pattern and instructions for creating a simple cloth covered, balloon volleyball for children.

Use of the Court Without Use of the Net Poster (PDF Download - 1 Page)

A simple one page "poster" to put up on your standards or gym walls, and share with coaching staff to remind you to start using the net in the precious couple of hours you have, from start to finish, as all reading takes place over and through the net in a game.

Training Tools for Junior and Youth Volleyball (PDF Download - 8 Pages)

These are successful training items I have created and used in the last 35 years of coaching kids - all of which are inexpensive and thus can be done at any grassroots level. They can be used to increase the time on task/contacts per hour for class or team training, making stations or in other ways to get more than one ball in the air over your court at the same time.

Creating a Boys Volleyball Team at Your School (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

Learn some basic steps to bring boys volleyball to your school.

How to Run a Beach Volleyball Clinic (PDF Download - 7 Pages)

This article is designed to offer volleyball coaches, sports educators, and sports camp coordinators the resources to operate a successful single day beach volleyball clinic for all ages, kids and adults. This format should fit into a 2-4 hour time frame.

My Top 166 Volleyball Drills from Around the World (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

EVERY coach asks for new drills to make their kids better, searching the web, attending clinics, reading drill books. After decades of coaching, creating and collecting, here is a list of my top 166 drills.

To Win the Gold (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

This is something I wrote and sent to all the USA Volleyball Beach Olympic Team hopefuls for Sydney back in 2000 when I was team leader for the USA Olympic Beach Teams. Most players in the pipeline wanting to reach this level would benefit from following this same information.

The Most Important Skill in Volleyball (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

Many coaches spend a great deal of time focusing on the skills of serving, passing, setting, spiking blocking and digging. They add in a virtual verbal barrage of technique comments to each player in practice and even in the middle of games.

The Game Teaches the Game (PDF Download - 4 Pages)

Often I open coaching courses, at any level, with the following "test" Fill in the blanks -- The game teaches ____ ________. I get all sorts of interesting answers like "good sportsmanship," and "team work" - but the "correct" answer I am seeking is in the title above..."the game." CLICK HERE for the Spanish version.

The 10 New Commandments of Volleyball (PDF Download - 3 Pages)

As I watch new coaches begin by teaching the way they were taught, I wonder how to get these well intentioned humans to change to better ways. As most good coaches know that given a choice, they would chose the "a lot of a little" side, rather than "a little of a lot "- I offer to you the ten most important traditions and coaching methods I wish you would change to....

What is there to do in Volleyball After High School Handout (PDF Download - 2 Pages)

A very sad factoid crossed my desk from Athletic Business magazine. They cited a study stating that only five percent of high school varsity players still participate in their sport when they are 30 or more years old. It might make sense with football, but not for the lifetime sport of volleyball. We have Masters National Championships for the age groups that start at 30 and over, and in five year increments, go all the way up to 75 & over National! Many younger players might not know of the myriad of ways to get even better at volleyball, while also helping grow the game. Here are highlights of those ways to keep playing this sport made in America.

Volleyball Excuse List Handout for Players (PDF Download - 1 Page)

This list is intended to simplify the problem of selecting the proper alibi to suit the occasion. While some athletes are so bad that they need no excuse, most will at some time or another be in need of an explanation for why their spike at match point hit the back wall 42 bricks high. The start of this checklist was first shared with me by Sharon Peterson of NAIA powerhouse Hawaii-Hilo, to whom I give my thanks.

"Excuses are like belly-buttons, everyone has one," is a saying that we often rely on in volleyball. This list will go a long ways to taking the pressure off your players. Blank spaces are provided in certain instances, for those who have some element of creativity. I have found some players rely on certain alibis so often that it is far easier to just number the key excuses, and then, when some performance necessitates an excuse, your player can simply yell, or state "Four!" or "Sixteen." This saves us all time. It also brings to mind that the most important number in volleyball seems to be the number "2." You'll see it used often in this list, and in the gym in other ways, as in, "I'm too tired" or "It was too far..."

Wash Scoring Drills (PDF Download - 4 Pages)

Some history -- In 1984, when the USA men were in the process of preparing for what was to be their gold medal performance in the Los Angeles Olympics, Bill Neville, their highly imaginative assistant coach, designed a scrimmage-like game he called the "wash" drill. What set that game apart from the thousands that preceded it was the scoring concept upon which it was based. And the application of that concept in the ensuing years has helped to revolutionize volleyball training throughout the world. Thanks Bill! The Concept... The wash concept utilizes a goal-oriented scoring system in which the goal is a consecutive number of successful executions. For example...

Creating and Growing Great Volleyball Programs (PDF Download - 11 Pages)

Starting a successful volleyball program only takes the passion and spirit of one person to begin. This article shares decade's worth of ideas that will help any and all programs in new ways to help the game thrive. It is important to keep in mind the number one principle in this - This is a team game, for the kids...

Top Ten Secrets About Coaching Kids in Volleyball (PDF)

These are the key ideas to make kids volleyball a success for younger kids in any program.

My Favorite Games & Scoring Variations (PDF)

A list of various volleyball games, drills and how to score them. 

Report Obfuscator Options (PDF)

When you need an authoritative phrase for a volleyball report for school, pull a three-digit number out of the air and select the corresponding words from the three columns. The number 026, for example, yields "Repetitive Motivating Situation." Use these with the media, on why you lost, or what you'll work on in next practice.

Team Travel Ideas (PDF)

Experienced parents, and coaches, know that travel by car is a necessary time eater of any sports program. Why not make it more fun, educational and team bonding, beyond just watching a DVD or listening to individual music players through their a kid long ago, and a parent/coach with nearly half a century in the car traveling these United States, here is my collection of best team travel car activities that do not involve watching a DVD or Gameboy player, and that can greatly help with team cohesion and meeting group needs.

Guide to Disabled Volleyball 2007 (PDF)

From minimal disability to major handicaps, statistics indicate seven percent of any population is disabled. This guide gives you the opportunity to promote volleyball to those with whom you may cross paths who are disabled and want to play our great game! Volleyball easily fits with the motto, below, of Disabled Sports/ USA. If I can do this, I can do anything! Along with wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball has become one of the most widely played and most popular sports in the disabled society. In some parts of the world the matches are televised. Disabled and in wheelchairs - the newest addition to disabled volleyball.