Reverse Engineer Your Volleyball Season


A template for coaches trying to set season goals.

I'm getting ready for tryouts, and I know a lot of you are too! While I think it is important to know who will be on your team before you come up with team goals, coming up with coaching goals for yourself will help you focus on what you're actually looking for during tryouts!

Stepping outside of the volleyball world for a moment, I'd like to mention how much I am motivated by Gary Vaynerchuk (often referred to as Gary Vee). If you would like to learn more about him, you can visit his website here:

Reverse Engineer Your Volleyball Season: A worksheet for coaches trying to set season goals.
Reverse Engineer Your Volleyball Season: A worksheet for coaches trying to set season goals.

I bring up Gary Vee because I felt a great deal of motivation this morning after getting my daily dose of Instagram, and seeing his picture with a quote which said, "Reverse engineer everything you want in life."

I, of course, applied this to the upcoming volleyball season right away.If this is a new term for you, reverse engineering is essentially looking at a finished product and then picking it apart to learn how to build something for yourself. I thought this would be a good process to share with you all, as I know many of us need specific examples of goals before we are able to create our own. So without further ado, here is my volleyball season, reverse engineered. A description of the different levels follows.

Setting Volleyball Season Goals Begins with Reverse Engineering
Setting Volleyball Season Goals Begins with Reverse Engineering

Final Outcomes Desired (Pink):

There is conflicting advice here. Are you supposed to say you want to win a specific game (league championship, state championship, finish in the top three, etc)? Or should you keep it more general (finish the season with enthusiasm, get every player some playing time, etc.)? While I think there may be a certain level of appropriateness in using "win XYZ match" for your season goals, it won't help you break down your approach to coaching very much. Also, everyone wants to win, whether they say it or not. I think it can be left out and still be understood. We'll focus on using more subjective criteria in this example, which is easier to break down and gives us specific goals the end.

General Components (Orange):

By picking apart our final desired outcome, we can see different elements shine through. I believe my final outcome can be separated into three areas of focus, despite having more than three descriptions of the final outcome. For example, "high skill" and "healthy players" are both results of proper training. There is no need for me to keep these two items separate, as long as I incorporate both elements are found in my goals.

READ MORE: Setting Goals for Your Volleyball Team

Specific Components (Yellow):

I chose to break down the general components into two specific components, but you can do more or less as you see fit. I recommend no more than three, since you will want to have a relatively short list of goals associated with your final outcome, and we build a goal for each specific component. For example, a large part of mental toughness is the ability to control your emotions. Stability is key in overcoming a point deficit just as much as putting away a tough opponent.

Season Goals (Green):

You've broken down your ultimate season goal so much that you are now coming up with actions for yourself. Make season goals that you can read and know immediately if you are achieving them or not. I think this part allows for the most creativity and uniqueness to come through, because the way you build the "desire to win" might differ from how approach the same goal.

I want to discuss my choice of "focus on achieving goals together" to build towards the "desire to win" specific component. Having played on multiple teams and coached for a number of years, it was always my teams who got along and trusted each other who went the furthest. You might build the desire to win through holding program-wide competitions at the end of every Friday practice. Or by rewarding competitive drive through recognition in a newspaper interview or at a booster club gathering. It's up to you!

Feel free to print out a blank version of my template and fill in your own answers.

Set Volleyball Season Goals by Reverse Engineering!
Set Volleyball Season Goals by Reverse Engineering!

By focusing on more subjective criteria, you're going to have a harder time at the end of the season measuring whether you achieve your goal or not. However, it can still be done! Rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 for each specific goal can tell you just as much about your success, if not more, than whether or not you won the final match you were striving to win the entire season.

Pancakers: I want to know: what is your final desired outcome? What about your most creative season goal? Please share in the comments, or post on social media and tag @getthepancake so I can share your answers with the Get The Pancake coaching community!

Don't forget to check out information on my new book for first time coaches!