Practicing Trust Will Lead to Success on the Court
During my early years as a young coach, I often was asked to explain the reasons for my success. My initial response was to summarize my understanding of the technical and tactical aspects of the game.
Thinking Volleyball goes beyond the Xs and Os and skill
instruction by offering in-match strategy and insights from legendary
coach Mike Hebert. It encourages coaches to challenge conventional
wisdom to arrive at creative solutions and innovative methods for
getting the most out of their teams.
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To be a successful volleyball coach, you need to know more than just how to teach the basic skills and implement a plan. In such a fast-paced game, not only do you need to outperform your opponent, but you must outthink him as well. Thinking Volleyball has you covered!
Hall-of-fame coach Mike Hebert spent years learning the secrets to success—among the most important is that you should never stop learning. In Thinking Volleyball, he goes beyond the development of motor skills to provide a unique cerebral look at how athletes learn. Hebert also introduces the strategies behind his reading defense approach, which will give your team an advantage against any opponent. Regardless of how talented your players are, a positive environment that includes a solid mutual trust among everyone involved with the program is vital for your program both on and off the court.
To take your program to the next level, step inside the mind of a legendary coach and never stop learning. Thinking Volleyball is your resource to developing your program, your players, and yourself.
Chapter 1 Learning and Decision-Making Chapter 2 Structuring and Running the Program Chapter 3 Embracing a Playing Style Chapter 4 Honing Vital Volleyball Skills Chapter 5 Thinking About Team Defense Chapter 6 Drawing a Blueprint for Offense Chapter 7 Promoting a Positive Gym Culture Chapter 8 Strengthening Team Trust Chapter 9 Coaching the Match Chapter 10 Thinking Outside the Box
Mike Hebert began coaching in 1976. During his career, he
coached the University of Pittsburgh men’s and women's teams, the
University of New Mexico women's team, the University of
Illinois women's team, and the University of Minnesota women's team. In
35 years of coaching, Mike earned a career record of 952-392 and led
teams to the Division I Final Four on five occasions. He reached the
semifinals of the EAIAW Championships all four of his years at
Pittsburgh, winning two regional championships. He was named the
American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coach of the
Year in 1985 and served as the president of the AVCA from 1987 to 1990.
Hebert was a part-time member of USA Volleyball’s coaching staff for
over 30 years and was honored with their All-Time Great Volleyball
Now retired from coaching, Mike continues to work with USA Volleyball
and is a member of both the University of Minnesota and AVCA halls of
“Thinking Volleyball is a must-read. Coaches will
benefit from Mike Hebert’s years of experience and success in building
programs at every level.”
Russ Rose-- Head Coach Penn State Women’s Volleyball
"Behind Coach Mike Hebert’s well-crafted words shines his
three-decade quest to help his teams become great problem solvers. If
you want to improve your team, you need to read this book. "
Karch Kiraly-- Three-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, U.S. Women’s
Head Volleyball Coach
"In Thinking Volleyball, Mike Hebert draws on his vast
experience with and knowledge of the game to provide valuable insights
into the nuances of this profession. Not only is it a great read but,
more importantly, it's a great resource for coaches at any level."
Hugh McCutcheon-- Head Volleyball Coach University of Minnesota
"Starting with the Introduction, you realize that Thinking
Volleyball is a different type of book than what has been written
before. The intricate weave between systems of play, program culture,
and the writer’s mastery of storytelling quickly bring the reader to
the realization that there is nothing out there on the market like this
Legendary coach Mike Hebert has the reader asking themselves
critical questions right from the beginning of Chapter 1: Learning and
Decision Making. The next chapter, Structuring and Running the Program,
is packed full of ideas about topics such as team policy, program goals,
and event management. In this chapter, Mike tells a great inspirational
story about one of his former players and starting Olympic setter,
Over the next few chapters, the book takes a close look at different
styles of play and the skills of international teams. In his discussion
of the international game, Coach Hebert not only takes you on an
exploration of the X’s and O’s of teams from around the world, but also
makes observations of what he believes are the psychological principles
of these teams.
"The coach must decide to impose his will on the team. It is a
matter of forcing players out of their comfort zone on a daily basis.”
This reminder to coaches is in his chapter on defense. He gets the
reader to not only think about defensive technique and positioning
principles, but also about reading the opposing team's offense and
maximizing defensive effort. The next chapter, Drawing a Blueprint for
Offense, takes an in-depth look at running an offense and the
differences between an in-system offense, out-of-system offense, and
The next two chapters, Promoting a Positive Gym Culture and
Strengthening Team Trust are where I think this book separates itself
from the many other books written on volleyball. As an observing and
opposing coach, these are also the areas in which I thought Coach Hebert
excelled with his championship-level teams. Amongst the many topics
examined in these chapters are: getting teams to compete, working with
and keeping injured players engaged, and developing a communication
system. He writes, “The absolute most important enabler in team sports
is team-wide, unconditional trust. It is the lynch pin that holds a
team together.” Mike takes the reader into his team meetings and the
activities he did with his teams in order to build team trust,
including role playing, showing movie clips, and team readings. He also
discusses how to promote development of positive self-talk and learned
optimism, as well as how teams should deal with conflict. These two
chapters are phenomenal, and they alone are worth the cost of the book.
The book doesn’t slow down one bit in the last two chapters,
Coaching the Match and Thinking Outside the Box. These chapters include
a potpourri of tidbits that will get every coach thinking as the reader
gets closer to the end.
I absolutely loved this book. Thinking Volleyball is
a book that every coach at every level should have on his or her
bookshelf. Coach Hebert's storytelling will keep you engaged. His
layered and full 360 degree look at our profession will certainly have
you referring back to chapters as you continue your journey in this
Kelly Sheffield-- Head Volleyball Coach University
“Others that have written analysis have not come as close to the
essence of coaching women's volleyball as Mike has in Thinking
Volleyball. The chapters on gym culture and trust are remarkable.
Unlike other volleyball coaching books of its kind, it digs far deeper,
and comes very close to the heart of coaching excellence. For those who
can soak in its essence, it will make a difference long into their
Walt Weaver-- MVI (Midwest Volleyball Instructor) Director,
4X National Champion Northern Lights Juniors