As a volleyball coach, you spend endless hours on your team: thinking about them, studying them, and strategizing for them. But not all time is spent as a coach.

Sure, on the weekends you know you will be focused on coaching, but what about the other five days? According to Coach Hugh McCutcheon from Minnesota, you need to be able to teach.

Hugh McCutcheon knows what he is talking about. He is currently in his fourth year with Minnesota Volleyball. As their head coach he has lead them to a 75-27 record, was named the 2013 AVCA North Region Coach of the Year and coached four players to All-America honors for three consecutive seasons.

Prior to working with Minnesota, McCutcheon worked with USA Volleyball, earning gold and silver medals respectively with the United States Men’s and Women’s Olympic teams.

McCutcheon mentored the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 106-39 record in his four years after leading the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team program to the 2008 Olympic Games gold medal.

Counting his 107-33 record leading the U.S. Men’s program from 2005 to 2008, McCutcheon held a combined record of 213-72 with USA Volleyball.

To say he knows what it takes to be a good coach is an incredible understatement.

“Coaching is tactics and game management. Teaching on the other hand, is skill and system development, putting things in place that you can then execute in competition,” McCutcheon said.

While it can be very tempting to put a lot of emphasis on the coaching aspect, there essentially is only two days a week your team can focus on those x’s and o’s.

There is much more time during the week that can—and should—be spent improving their skills and individuals and as a team.

He continued, “There’s an important difference between the two: if you have to be good at just one, be good at teaching.  You could be a great coach, but if your team can’t execute the plan, then it doesn’t really matter.  If they are taught correct fundamentals, [the team] will be good because they can play the whole game.”

And the secret behind Minnesota’s culture of winning?

“It’s based on the fundamental belief that if you have championship aspirations then you need to have championship behaviors.  We have to be held accountable, and hold others accountable, to the level of work, learning and execution that will allow us to try and achieve our goals,” McCutcheon said.

Best of luck to Minnesota as they begin their season. Thanks for the insight Hugh.


Bri Hintze

Bri Hintze

Director of Marketing


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