Coaching philosophies differ from team to team and across all levels of competition. Learning about what others do in the profession can help generate ideas for your program.
We were recently privileged to hear from Dan Meske, women’s volleyball head coach at University of Augustana in Sioux Falls, S. D.
As a first-year head coach, his reputation is still being built, but Meske does have eight seasons of experience at Nebraska, helping the team to a 216-44 record, three Big 12 Championships, a Big Ten Championship and eight NCAA tournament appearances. He also helped oversee the inauguration and emergence of the Huskers’ sand volleyball program and has helped the team become a top-10 program in just three years.
Here’s what a glimpse at Meske’s philosophy as he begins the next chapter of his career.
Q: Is there anything such as luck in volleyball? What kinds of things do you do to prepare your teams for matches and practices? Does video scouting contribute to that?
A: As a coach, I have seen balls hit clearly out of bounds called “in” and vice versa. When those calls go your way, I’m not sure there is a better word for that than “luck”. Other than that, I don’t think luck exists in our sport.
To prepare for matches, we try to get our girls comfortable with the situations that will happen the majority of the time. If a team runs a certain play only once a match, we want to be good defending that play, but will spend the majority of our time preparing to be great against what we will see most often. Video scouting supplements our work on the court.
Q: What kinds of things do you do for your players to prevent burnout both mentally and physically?
A: Burnout is a huge concern for us and something we proactively work to prevent. Our core philosophies to prevent burnout are to change our active warm-up daily, create new or unique challenges within our 6-on-6 activities and create an environment where our players look forward to every single practice.
Q: What are the keys to your players improving? What kinds of things have you changed or will implement in the Augustana volleyball program?
A: There are two main keys to improving our players here at Augie. One, our players need clear expectations with clear feedback. Two, we must encourage and promote an environment where we embrace making mistakes on our quest to learn and improve.
As for changes within the Augustana Volleyball Program, I have been very fortunate to inherit a talented group of young people to work with. My goal for the program is to guide our players and staff on a journey to learn more about ourselves and what makes us–individually and collectively–great. Quite simply, I want everyone in our program to be themselves and do the simple things better.
Q: From your past experience, how has match preparation changed? Has VolleyMetrics been helpful in any way?
A: Match preparation has changed so much in my short time as a coach. Thankfully, technology has made scouting so much more efficient. I am a huge supporter of VolleyMetrics and the mission of it’s founder (Juice) to help coaches do more of what they love to do…COACH!