USA Volleyball

Tools for a New Coach

Welcome, coach, and thanks for giving to our sport by coaching, whether you have played the game or not. It is the ultimate team sport, and with all the uniqueness therein,  both coaching and playing the game will fill the rest of your life with the joy and adventures found in those aspects. This section also serves as a review area for more experienced coaches as we share these core ideas on being the best teacher you can be.

With hundreds of helpful resources, blogs from John Kessel )USAV director of sport development), webinars, videos, posters and more in the grassroots section you have discovered, we thought that making a list of the most important ones can get you started on the right foot. Remember however, that kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

USAV SportKit

The USAV SportKit has a wealth of information for coaches, including drills and games. Check it out! Email if you have ideas for growing the game, or questions that perplex you.

Before you dive deeper into the resources, check out Top 10 Things I Must Have as a Coach by John Kessel. The blog, which is a list of "must haves" for your practices and tournaments, will help your transition into coaching.

Free Collaborative Lesson Plans - These plans will help PE teachers and new coaches start out teaching the game the right way. You will find specific 12-day lesson plans that include game-like drills and activities for K-12 students.

Instructional Skill and Drill Videos 

Thailand School Championships - Believe it or not, these kids are 11 and under. Their ball control and teamwork is amazing.

The Impact of Coaches - The text of the words in this video:

I have come to the frightening conclusion
I am the decisive element on the court 
It is my personal approach that creates the climate 
It is my daily mood that makes the weather 
As a coach, I possess tremendous power 
to make a child's life miserable or joyous 
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration 
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. 
In all situations it is my response that decides 
whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated 
and a child humanized or dehumanized.

Maximum Contact Net System - A very important way to keep every kid involved and getting as many reps as possible in an allotted time. Also, this net can be placed at different heights for different sports such as tennis, sitting volleyball, pickelball, table tennis and more. Check out the graphics and uses.

The Game Will Find a Way: Loser Becomes the Net - These videos show that to play volleyball all you need is a ball and some friends.


  • Motor Learning Theory - This 90-minute webinar showcases the most essential information of motor learning.
  • Youth Programming (YMCA) - The newest ideas and tools to make a volleyball program for 12 and unders a success are shared here with USAV and YMCA leaders.
  • Increase Your Contacts Per Hour - Players learn by doing, not watching (how did you learn how to ride a bike? - how fast would you learn to ride a bike if there were 12 people and just one bike?), so learning ways to maximize your training by touching more volleyballs in the same amount of time, in as game-like a way as possible, helps you get better faster. 
  • Q and A with Karch Kiraly - Following the historic win at the 2014 World Championship, three-time Olympic gold gedalist and Women's National Team head coach Karch Kiraly shared his journey to becoming a coach, his ambitions to give back to the sport and his desire to continue to get better.



  • Youth Volleyball Tips for Success John Kessel shares some of the best ways to grow the game. 
  • DIY Vertec – Jeff Barrows sent over this handy guide on how to build your own Vertec for less than $55! Download the instructions here.
  • Never be a Child’s Last Coach – This Growing the Game Together blog article shares insights in how to help your players learn to love the game with your coaching that focuses on giving them a love of the game so each of your players continue in sport after they leave your coaching.
  • Kessel's Handy Guide to Ruining a Player - A humorous by powerful look at ways coaches teach on and off the court which might not be as effective as once thought
  • IMPACT Training – offered online, or in person in each of the USAV regions (know as RVAs – Regional Volleyball Associations). When you get the time, join us on the court for a USAV Coaching Accreditation Program (“CAP”) course.
  • The Ten New Commandments of Coaching – 'Nuff said
  • From Positive to Perfection - Teaching players from the start to focus on training each skill in non-traditional ways which get them to make errors that are “good” mistakes vs. the traditional “negative” errors. Spanish Version
  • My Favorite Coach – A list of the key things players want from the best coach they can have.
  • The Game Teaches the Game – Remember how you learned to ride a bike? Did your parents put you through bike riding drills or progressions? Did they hire a bike riding coach or send you to a bike riding camp? The value of play and reading woven into the game as it teaches, which is tied into Establishing a Culture of Play blog. Spanish Version
  • The Most Important Skill in Volleyball– It is “Reading,” in part as you have seen in this section for a new coach, for it takes reading to absorb all this. However, this key skill is about seeing the ball on the other side of the net, giving your players more time to know where and when to be in the right place. It is about teaching the game between contacts.
  • Dear Vocal Coach – Reflections on why so many coaches fail to follow core teaching principles seen in the classroom, when they step onto the court to teach a game.
  • Volleyball Jargon - This just helps you fast track to sounding like you have been around volleyball for years, even in your first season.


  • Establishing a Culture of Play - One of the more important principles to focus on in youth sports, especially volleyball, is to create an environment which encourages play.
  • Primum Non Noncore – Using the Hippocratic Oath to guide your coaching.
  • Never Be a Child's Last Coach - One of the ways coaches need to evaluate each season is in seeing how many kids play that sport again in the following season. It is a key role of the coach to be a relationship counselor between each player and their love of the game.
  • Contacts Per Hour - We learn best by doing, not watching, and this blog shares ideas on how to get more touches of the ball in the same amount of time compared to traditional training.
  • Volleyball Coaches & Trainers Facebook Group - Volleyball Coaches and Trainers (VCT) is the place to learn: “This is a forum where Volleyball Coaches and Trainers from around the world can discuss our profession openly and honestly, growing the game together.” Search for it on Facebook.
  • STOP Teaching: Passing, Setting, Hitting, Running, FREE Balls, and LIMIT Your Coaching.
  • The Player who Knows WHY Beats the Player who Knows How – The same goes for the coach who knows why beating the coach who knows how. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson “The person who knows how, will always have a job; the person who knows why will always be his boss."
  • Ten Imprudent and Obtuse Things I Generally Avoided in Coaching Somehow – Some variations and outright new versions of “Stupid Volleyball Trainer Tricks.”
  • Choosing the Right Words – Thoughts for a new coach on changing some of the traditional words we use.
  • Coaching the Human Animal – An advance heads up to start this blog, it is going to cost you the price of buying a movie.

Again, thank you for becoming a teacher of the game. This last closing resource is an important one, as we all need to remember that we are teachers that are helping to grow the game. Please watch this four-minute performance of a poem by Taylor Mali. What Does a Teacher Make?