SASI Wirreanda

“Good artists borrow, great artists steal” – Pablo Picasso

Now that it’s winter, I’m practically doing something volleyball related every night of the week. Thursday is my “night off” which I preciously hold free to run errands, catch up with people, go to the Footy club for a nice meal or just stay home and do nothing. I also get asked by the Henley social team to fill in for them, but given that i have to squeeze the rest of my life into that one night I can only rarely oblige.

However, if I’m in the mood, I’ll go “stalk” a training. Some clubs hold their second training on thursday night and I like to go check out what the Norwood men’s team are doing. Otherwise, it’s good to check out what Simon Phillips is doing at the Southern (Wirreanda) SASI trainings. Watching other people’s trainings is a great way to get better as a coach. It’s a habit i got into a couple of years ago when i realised i sucked at certain aspects of teaching volleyball. I try to do a different “research project” every year where i can improve some part of coaching and enjoy someone else’s insight into the game. Because i sucked at teaching beginners, i started watching Simon. He’s quite good at teaching people who have never played before how to get the basics right so they can start having fun with the sport.

That’s not as easy as you would think it is. People who are good at teaching this can get kids to do things in a fraction of the time it would take anyone else. It can be a painful experience for the kids. The sooner they can pick up the basics the easier it is to keep them playing volleyball at a young age. People assume that you should give beginners the worst coach out there, but sometimes i think it should be the other way around. In any case, I think we can learn to teach beginners a lot better. I think that’s starting to happen now in the content of the level 1 coaching course, but it’s not quite the same as watching someone run a session with beginners and watch them do it well. There’s a science to it, and skill models and methodologies if you bother to look in all the right places. I’ve gotten a lot quicker at teaching certain skills now.

For about $50 a term, it’s pretty good value. You get to be trained by the state association’s technical officer for a start. the trainings are 2 hours. It’s better value than most other clubs would be offering (which isn’t much these days). There were 11 kids when i dropped by last thursday: 8 from willunga; 1 from brighton; 2 from victor harbor. there’s a couple more from Henley that come out there too. It’s been great for the Willunga kids who go and has been a huge factor to our recent success. I’m surprised more people don’t take it up.

What would be good is to get these kids playing games against other kids. Perhaps they could enter a team in junior league. It could be a good vehicle for kids who want to play  junior league but can’t get into the clubs because they don’t go to the right schools. A couple of the willunga kids filled in for the henley girls a couple of weeks ago and it’d be good to see more of that. they’re more than welcome to get pick up games with my norwood team if they’re keen.


2 Responses to “SASI Wirreanda”

  1. Simon Phillips Says:

    Thankyou for the kind words Huy,

    I think this post ties in with the post below it.

    My fondest memories as a kid was playing for East Whyalla Sharks Basketball Team coached by a Dad. The trainings were just as memorable as the mess we made at Pizza Hut on trophy night.

    This sense of enjoyment and belonging is what keeps the kids playing long term and keep them wanting to develop.

  2. Hugh Nguyen Says:

    Indeed, i’m blogging back with a vengeance about junior/school/beginner volleyball. Junior sport has an interesting way of changing in our memories. I hated playing for Norwood Juniors, but these days I count myself lucky given that clubs don’t even give kids that chance anymore. A friend of mine from that team sent me a birthday message a couple of days ago and asked what i was up to. After telling him that I’m now coaching our old club and how i thought it was fun playing on that team together he replied:

    “I don’t remember it overly fondly, mainly that we were playing a stack of guys who were older than us (but in the same div [u17], eg I was 15 and say 2 months and we were playing blokes who were 16 and 10 months) and I remember seeing Andy El playing well. Are they still called the bears?”

    I reckon junior sports team prob had a lot to do with the demise of the dine-in pizza hut restaurants. We get parents to coach at Norwood, and it’s common in basketball. they do a good job in providing parents with the resources to coach. we should be doing more of that and getting kids playing.

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