South Peace Volleyball Club Roles, responsibilities and characteristics of a good volleyball coach


A coach is a person who convincingly leads parents, staff and players to a common goal. His work is done during planning sessions, organizational meetings and team practice. His evaluation is carried out during competition.


The key responsibilities of a coach are:
• to educate players through communicating ideas and concepts

• to improve players technical ability by applying knowledge and skills

• to promote fair play and laws of the game

• to gain trust of players, parents and fellow coaches

• to establish and outline realistic goals and objectives

• to continually learn

• to deliver and control sessions in an organized, effective and safe manner

The occupation of coaching may now seem a daunting task as there is so many separate requirements and requests being made on the coach. In spite of this, every coach is different and each will have their own personal and occupational traits that will allow them to effectively complete their duties. There will also exist areas for improvement but with guidance and educating these weaknesses can be overcome. Not only is each coach different, the teams and clubs worked with can be completely diverse, and as a result each will require the coach to adapt their approach and employ the best techniques possible to meet their needs.


In present day society there are many characteristics, personality traits and responsibilities that an individual must interconnect, balance and perfect if they are going to fulfill their full potential as a coach and provide their players with the highest level of guidance possible. Many assume that a great coach is great because they have all in-depth technical knowledge and the ability to spot and rectify faults. The technical knowledge and other occupational requirements are important and they are the qualities instantly analyzed when observing a coach. However these qualities are only the tip of the iceberg, with many others not instantly visible. The coach will also possess personal traits that
compliment their occupational attributes, resulting in a greater coaching performance. The major qualities in each category are discussed below:


The majority of individuals can be taught to coach. The time and effort taken to learn the technical knowledge will vary but everyone can improve their coaching up to a certain level. However it is their personal characteristics that will decide whether players will relate to them in the first place. If their persona is correct then it will lead to greater player reaction (up to a certain ability level). Therefore an appropriate place to start would be by analyzing the personal characteristics an individual should posses as the foundations regardless what level they are coaching at.


Unquestionably one of the key attributes all coaches must have is the ability to convey their ideas and instructions to their players. As that is essentially the basis of what the profession of coaching is. A coach must therefore have the ability to communicate and connect to everyone they come into contact with within their role. Coaches should be able to not only communicate to players clearly on the court but must also be able to talk to them as humans off it. Showing care and understanding helps build strong relationships between female athletes and coaches. Communicating does not just mean that they should be able to talk; they should also have the ability to listen to others, as communication is a two-way street.
A good coach will start a new season by clearly stating goals for the team as well as explain expectations and procedures to be adhered to that are coherent with the goals announced. Clarity, consistency, and honesty will foster trust and respect between players, parents and coaches. It is also crucial to be able to efficiently articulate rationales at the origin of team rules and expectations to generate a solid buy-in factor.
During practice, most feedback given by good coaches will be constructive in nature, pointing out what needs to change and how to change it. Effective communicators will avoid reprimanding or praising a player in front of the whole team, especially with female teams. Instead, they take the player aside and do not hesitate to do so with an honest and tactful approach. It is crucial that coaches set clear and well announced expectations for practice sessions. They make practice consequences well known, challenging, but reasonable based on age, experience and skill level. They do not say things they will regret or will not be able to live up to in the future. Good coaches adapt an interaction style that will maximize player effort, focus and motivation. They make players understand that all forms of communication during practice are strictly work Their communication style, related. Other types of discussions occur outside of practice. content and language used should be appropriate to the level of the player’s ability, experience and their ages. Another crucial element of communication is the body language employed. As the majority of what an individual is saying is not conveyed in their words but their body language coaches should adopt a body language that mirrors the message they are trying to get across.
One major criticism of coaches is that they want to be friends with the players so they engage in informal discussions that are detrimental to healthy coach-athlete relationship. Good coaches maintain a certain distance with their players while showing understanding, caring and concern, as would all good parental figure.
Nowadays it is important that coaches realize just how many different groups of people they actually interact with. Coaches do not just communicate with athletes and their players, but also with fellow staff, board members, provincial and national association representatives, government representatives, travel agents, tour guides, interpreters, tournament organizers, referees, sponsors, other shareholders, spectators and various aspects of the media. Learning to deal professionally with all these people is a very important role fulfilled by coaches.
Interaction with athletes – Effective coaches show respect, genuinely care for their athletes, and treat athletes fairly but not equally. They are honest and tactful, stand their ground on what they believe is essential, and have a strong rationale they are prepared to share with their players.
Interaction with parents – Effective coaches communicate their philosophy, goals, expectations and procedures supported by a strong and convincing rationale. They will give parents a clear channel of communication and protocol to follow. They set important boundaries, making parents understand that there are times where they must step back and simply trust the coach. Parents know that they are not to approach the coach with questions or concerns during practices, games, team meetings or under no circumstance in front of the team or other parents. Parents also understand that they are not to approach a coach when upset. When meeting with parents, good coaches are open to any question brought forward in an appropriate fashion through the proper channel of communication. They are pleasant and polite when talking to parents but restrict discussions to topics regarding the athlete in question without spilling over into coaching and team affairs. Effective coaches are pleasant, concise and avoid socializing with parents. They always maintain a professional distance. Arguing or negotiating is not permitted.
Interaction with fellow coaches – All coaches must send the same message to players. Discussions between coaches always take place away from the athletes. Each coach clearly understands their role on the court (equipment set up and take down, lead instructor, demonstrator, technical advisor, tactical advisor, disciplinary measures, team discussions, taping, medical attention) off the court (practice planning, administration work, meetings, discussion with parents, discussion with players, statistics analysis, video analysis and during competition (warm up duties, equipment duties, taping duties, statistics duties, scouting duties, tactical duties, time out duties, etc.). Coaches always work together towards the common goal. Coaching is not a popularity contest. It is all about the team and its support system.



Research and innovation is constantly varying the procedures coaches should carry out and implement. Coaching requires constantly re-evaluating the course of action taken and making necessary changes. Good coaches are analytical and reflective. They always Constant alterations are implemented to improve and enhance the question their practices. individual’s performance, enjoyment and safety when participating. Consequently, a coach should be open-minded and willing to alter their approach. Coaches should not dismiss a new concept just because they have been doing it successfully a certain way for years.
No coach is perfect and the better coaches realize this, they are the ones who have the desire to continually learn. If a coach really wishes to enhance their own ability they must be open-minded to seek both advice and criticism from all of those around them, as well as keeping up-to-date on literature and practices.
Good coaches are receptive to their players, assistant coaches and parents’ suggestions.


Discrimination can come in many forms. It is essential that as a coach the approach and attitudes adopted are fair towards all of the participants, especially if working with young and impressionable players. However, they must understand that fair treatment does not mean equal treatment. It is normal that skill execution expectations and playing time vary from player to player in a competitive setting. Better players may adopt an ego and expect preferential treatment over the rest of their teammates; this should not be allowed to happen. The same rules and discipline should be the same for every individual.


Players need to undergo a learning process and every individual learns at a different rate no matter what level of effort the player puts in. This is because not all individuals will start from the same level of experience or have the same developmental speed. Therefore a coach must understand that with a diverse group of learners some will require a fuller explanation while others may need a number of demonstrations to fully comprehend the topic. Consequently, adequate planning is required to ensure all the participants’ needs are considered and prepared for. In addition to appreciating players’ different experience levels and learning curves, a coach should remain relaxed and positive when an individual and/or group fail to learn at the desired rate. They should not snap at the players when they are doing their best as this will not positively improve the situation. It may result in the team ‘ switching ’ off and stop concentrating all together and in some cases lead to the coach losing some of the respect previously gained. The coach is to be demanding but not unrealistic.


Although it is appropriate for a coach to maintain a degree of separation from the players, it is also imperative that the players feel that the coach is approachable so that when a player wishes to express concerns or fears they know that their coach is willing to listen and offer a warm, helping reception. It is common within society that humans will seek advice and guidance from those they feel close to and/or respect. This leads to the possibility that some players will approach the coach with questions and queries about all kinds of issues. The coach should be able to interact with the player so that they are capable of aiding them as an individual and as a performer.
Being available is only half the task. The player must also feel that the coach is actually taking an interest and listening. This process becomes harder when the player is actually criticizing the coach. Either way, the coach must be willing to talk the issues out.


Players are human and will occasionally adopt a laid back approach to training and at times to matches. It may be required of the coach that they need to increase the effort and intensity that the players are exerting. Good coaches avoid as much as possible using insults, bad language and threats to achieve increased performance. Instead, they are excellent at establishing the factors players hold highest to stimulate concentration and energy.


Good coaches do not reach a level of excellence over night. They work at perfecting their skills daily. They paid attention to every aspects of coaching and evaluate them on a regular basis. Good coaches are reflective, analytical and do not hesitate to constantly question their work. They seek help and support in addition to using every opportunity to better themselves. They invest the time needed to do the best job possible. They are relentless.
This is by no means an exhausted list and does not even touch all the personal qualities that combine to determine the success of a coach. Others that can be added to the list include; Caring, sense of humor, supportive, honest, respectful and understanding.


The personal qualities of an individual only form the basis for their potential coaching ability. They then need to possess some qualities key for the occupation of coaching. The standard of these qualities, in conjunction with those outlined previously, will determine the ability of the coach to what level they are able to progress.



There is nothing worse than watching a coach rush around trying to organize a group within a completely disorganized set up. To succeed at any level the coach must be able to plan and organize a structured session, where the content easily flows from one task to the next. Coaches must plan practices wisely according to age, experience, skill level, competition level, time of year and goals pursued. Practices must be well planned in order to maximize ball contacts and efficiently cater to the priorities of the current micro cycle.
Good coaches realize that good organization is not only required for practice sessions but in all aspects of their role and for every activity the team must carry out; meetings, training camps, try outs, trips, games, press conferences, promotional and fund raising events.
Staff, team and parent meetings should all have a carefully planned agenda. A designated chairperson should be capable of leading productive meetings.


A good coach leads by example. It should be clearly obvious that the coach should be present at every session and should provide cover for the dates they are unable to attend. The coach should also be on time. Ideally, they should arrive there before all of their players. This then allows them time to organize and set up the session and also mean that there is supervision from the moment the players turn up, reducing possible harm and disorganization.  Their actions and attitude should always provide their players with a responsible example to follow. Efficient coaches always act responsibly on and off the court, particularly during road trips and team travel.


Unquestionably one of the key attributes all coaches must have is the ability to convey their ideas and instructions to their players and staff. As that is essentially the basis of what the profession of coaching is. Good coaches make every team member and support staff feel important and included in the endeavor pursued.

They know how to consult others, get them involved with clearly defined roles, and generate enthusiasm and pride. Good coaches remain humble and modest in front of success and share achievement with the whole team. They are unselfish and caring of each individual.



Regardless how life is treating the coach away from the court or the manner in which their group is behaving/performing, the coach should remain as positive as possible. This is especially crucial when working with young and impressionable players. This does not mean players cannot be criticized for bad performance, attitude or behavior, but the coach should aim to keep the criticism as constructive as possible and not just throw insults or negative comments at the individual. The latter can lead to arguments, loss of respect and disharmony within the set up. On an individual level, a negative approach can affect their enjoyment and motivation to participate in the sport, along with insecurities and unhappiness arising from personal, hurtful comments.


A coach must always be as presentable as possible in every training session, game and club related affairs. Not only does this create the correct impression of a coach’s approach to their role, it also signals to the players what is expected of them.


Some coaches’ knowledge can be broad and extensive, while others may just have a specialist area or topic that they excel within. The fundamentals for their knowledge are the same; the ability to highlight successful performers while identifying and rectifying any mistakes. The more experienced and superior coaches will be better at the basics than novice coaches, and be able to correct and improve a players performance in the least intrusive manner. The information provided will also be accurate and more comprehensive (as to why that course of action is required) than that of a less experienced coach. The use of a question and answer approach will increase the involvement of the players and as a result greatly improve their chances of understanding a topic, as the knowledge of a coach is more effectively passed on.


Being in a position of responsibility and power will immediately place the coach in a situation where players look up to them and learn acceptable behavioral traits from them. The younger the player the more impressionable they are. The coach should therefore act in a way that promotes a positive and acceptable conduct. Demand of yourself what you demand of others.


This role is crucial for the team to develop its potential but at the same time very challenging in a society where many people in leadership positions are hesitant to instill discipline. This role cannot be avoided. Coaches are responsible for cultivating a disciplined team culture wherein each athlete practices self-discipline and contributes to the team’s organized and constructive behavior. Pre-season is the time to clarify roles, responsibilities, procedures and expectations. Furthermore, consequences for unacceptable behaviors such as: tardiness, forgetting equipment, failing classes, or disrespecting teammates or coaches should be established before the season starts. Save the surprises for the opponents. By establishing consequences ahead of time, coaches can avoid acting brashly or coaching athletes with differential treatment and can alleviate the athletes’ excuse of ignorance.