Volleyball systems and strategies is a book produced by USA Volleyball based on the work done in its Coaches Accreditation Program (CAP). It’s a very comprehensive look at the next level of volleyball above individual skill, that is, how a team plays as a unit. To that end, I think it has the potential to be very useful for new and developing coaches, and anyone thinking about how they can try to maximize the performance of their team given the types of players at their disposal.

There are six main sections of the book:

  1. Serve, Transition, and Serve Receive analyzes the types of services available (float, jump with final effect, etc.) and the patterns of reception of service by equipment.
  2. Defensive systems describes the ways a team can be set up in terms of blocking and positioning the defense on the floor.
  3. Defensive strategies discusses the different ways in which the above systems can be employed based on the strengths and weaknesses of your team and / or your opponent.
  4. Offensive systems focuses on the different ways an offense can be set up, such as 5-1 or 6-2.
  5. Offensive strategies discusses different ways to use an offensive system to put your team’s attackers at an advantage.
  6. Systems, strategies and equipment concentrates on developing good training plans and managing the team before, during and after games.

Each section of the book is divided into chapters that focus on one aspect of the larger topic. These chapters generally feature the following elements:

  • An initial description of the system or strategy.
  • Personnel requirements
  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Deployment options
  • Training points

The final chapter of each section (except the last one) lists a series of exercises intended to work on the system or strategy covered. Up to 20 drills are listed. That should give the reader coach a lot to work with to help integrate the system (s) into their team’s game.

There is a companion DVD to the book that covers the main topics listed above, except for n. 6. Also shows some of the exercises included. It lasts approximately one hour.

There is a lot of material in Volleyball systems and strategies, but it is presented quite concisely and clearly. I think it’s safe to say that if the reader can understand it all, they are well on their way to finding the right systems and strategies for whatever team they coach, regardless of competitive level. That is why I give it a good recommendation.

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