Article originally published in 2013…
So for the last few years now perhaps the hottest topic in volleyball is the “Read the Game” concept. The idea was brought to light by a few of the best coaches in world including Karch Kiraly, Hugh McCutcheon, Paula Weishoff, Ron Larson and Tom Black. The idea is as follows, top players better see and read what is going to happen giving them a competitive edge as the play unfolds.
What these top coaches realized is that practices were not geared to consciously address this need with little or no attention going into the design of the practice! This needed to be addressed and as a result volleyball drills and volleyball practices plans changed to meet this need!
The first time I saw the subject brought up was in front of a packed room at the AVCA Convention in San Antonio Texas in 2011. At the time Karch Kiraly had fully moved into coaching and was self assessing what made him great. One thing that he did better than others was his ability to read what and how the play was going to unfold. Al Scates, his UCLA coach would let Karch play defense and move anywhere on the court because he read the game so well. “Karch is the only player I let go wherever the hell he wanted because he was so good on defense and reading where the ball was going!” – Al Scates! (See this and other fun videos by clicking the Karch Kiraly link above! This includes the legendary snake performer story!)
So rather than me tell you what they said I added Karch’s speech here! Please note this DVD series can be watched/purchased at AVCA.org. Also be sure to check out all the other resources the AVCA offers. Their annual convention is a must for any coach!
Read the Game Volleyball Practice
What I also did was film a “Read the Game” Volleyball Practice recently with Dan Fisher. Dan went 75-2 including winning the NAIA championships in 2012 and being named NAIA coach of the year in 2011.
Click here to see the Full Read the Game Volleyball Practice with Dan Fisher.
A few specific “Read the Game” Volleyball Drills include:
Warm Up Drill – The Dig Set Drill (3 Videos)
Warm Up – Reading Volleyball Blocking Drill
Warm Up – Reading Butterfly Drill
Warm Up – 20 20 28 Drill
3 Ball Wash Volleyball Drill (Middle Blocker Focus) (4 Videos)
For me personally I like the 20 20 28 warm up volleyball drill the most as it can be used by all ages and is multipurpose. My staff likes the 3 ball wash volleyball drill the most as when you watch the videos it is incredible to see how important reading is to success! This sequence of 4 videos is incredible for helping middle blockers read the game and block better!
In addition to Dan Fisher we filmed several practices with Tom Black who worked closely with Karch Kiraly and Ron Larson on this concept of reading the game. Make sure to check out all of Tom Black’s volleyball drills and practice plans too! Tom is without a doubt one of the best young up and coming coaches in the world!
We are also currently working with one of the best sports vision doctors in the world Dr. Bill Harrison to build on what Karch, Paula, Hugh, Ron and Tom have done! What we found is that they only have part of the equation namely reading the game! But they are missing essential keys with regard to vision that for someone like Karch and all his playing are now natural. I won a national championship at UCLA, and I tried what Karch was saying and found it impossible until I learned what Dr. Bill Harrison was teaching.
New Content – Indoor Practice 3, “Reading the Game” Filmed March 2013 with Tom Black
Reading the Game – Introduction
Reading the Game – Practice Overview
Reading the Game – Setter Tutor Drill with Ron Larson (3 Videos)
Reading the Game – Over the Net, Double Touch, Tip Warm Up Drill
Reading the Game – Over the Net, Rotating 3 Defender 1 setter Pepper Warm Up Drill
Reading the Game – Setter Tutor with Middles Progression Drill (2 Videos)
Reading the Game – Practice Explanation and Team and Quote of the Day
Reading the Game – Continuous Blocking Drill and the Split Step Stretch-Shortening Cycle (3 Videos)
Reading the Game – Transition Toss Volleyball Drill (2 Videos)
Reading the Game – Compete With Transition Emphasis Volleyball Drill (6 Videos)
AVCA Video Tip of the Week – Diggers verses Spikers. Free bonus below!
Reading the Game – LMU 50 Passing and Serving Drill
Reading the Game – Practice Wrap up – Communicator of the Day
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Setter Tutor
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Split Step Stretch-Shortening Cycle
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Team Transition Tutor
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Compete with Transition Emphasis
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Jump Float Serve and Money Ball in Volleyball
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Women’s Sand Volleyball
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Reading the Game Reviewed
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – USA Assistant Coach
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Motor Skill Learning
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Develop Great Learners
Reading the Game – Conversations from the Office – Learning How to Learn