The Only Way To Coach
There has been a lot of talk in the volleyball community about the central premise of Gold Medal Squared, and the misconception that “GMS says there is only one way to coach/play/train, and that way is their way”. I’d like to address that idea directly with this post, and try to put to bed some of the misunderstanding that seems to exist.
There are an infinite number of ways to coach a volleyball team, and certainly some of them will lead to success. There have been a lot of wonderful coaches, players, and teams over the years that haven’t subscribed to our methods, systems, and mechanics. They have enjoyed remarkable achievements at every level of the game, and did it differently than we would have. And I say “we” loosely – if you went to practices run by each member of the Gold Medal Squared staff, you’d find that there are variations in virtually everything – systems, mechanics, practice organization and execution, motivation, and more.
What we share in common is a commitment to PRINCIPLES; how those principles get applied from coach to coach here at GMS varies widely based on experience, educational and playing background, personality, and circumstances. But the central idea is that there are in fact principles to be followed, and that “the man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
So when I hear someone out there saying things like “GMS says their way is the only way to play”, I want to tell them, “well, yes and no”. No, for the reasons described above. But yes, in that we think you should follow the right principles for training athletes to perform a collection of motor skills. Which brings me to this thought: of all the infinite ways out there, aren’t there better ways of coaching than others? I think anyone would tell you “yes, of course”. So if there are ways of coaching that are better than others, might not there be a “best” way of coaching? And wouldn’t one of your goals as a developing coach be to pursue that “best” way? Since when did the pursuit of excellence become a liability, or something to apologize for? So that’s a central premise of the Gold Medal Squared philosophy – we work to constantly examine, test, search, and experiment to become excellent in our coaching, using correct principles to guide our journey. Any one of our staff members will tell you that they coach differently now than they did five years ago, and that’s what this is about: getting better at our job as coaches.
Which brings us to this issue: there are a lot of developing coaches that lead busy lives and don’t have the time we as professional coaches have to study the game, experiment with our teams, and work out better ways of training and competing. For those coaches, GMS provides a fairly complete solution: a very good way to train your team, a way that has led to great success at every level of the game. So if you don’t want to spend your entire career searching for “the best” ways to coach, we like to think we provide a very good foundation from which to get started, and from which to pursue your own solutions using principles.
I recently received this email from a coach:
Wanted to say thanks for all of your help over the past 18 months in mentoring me with GMS. My team has been enjoying the benefits of my GMS training.
Currently we are 21-0 in matches. Ranked 2nd in State at 6A and are 51-1 in sets overall. We won our first 3 tournaments and beat our rival for the first time in 15 years. We are +24 sideout/point scoring. Hitting .311, passing 2.21, converting around 38% and serving at 94.3%. We are siding out 63% and point scoring at 63%. We are having a blast. I know I have sent you a ton of emails. Probably over 500 and you always have gotten back to me with the answers I was looking for. GMS has changed our program and I am very grateful for that.”
Ultimately this is what we are as a company – we want more than anything for our clients to feel supported by our staff, we want them to have a blast coaching and playing, and we want to help change their programs for the better. That’s the GMS way, and yeah, we think everyone should play that way.