This is the Commitment Stage, when players work on developing individual skills, individual tactics and team tactics. The overall goals for this age are to build a strong base, develop individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent, and increase the tempo of the player’s skill development and training regimen.
During this stage, adult standards and formal rules become applicable. The pace of development quickens at this time due to the acceleration of physical and mental maturation. The demands of skill training as well as training loads increase, thus provoking improvement in mental toughness, concentration and diligence. Awareness of tactics within the game becomes an important facet of the learning process as well. Players tend to be self-critical and rebellious, but show a strong commitment to the team.
Coach Description, Requirements and Role
An ideal 14U Coach is an experienced teacher and coach with a strong personality and a wealth of knowledge. A 14U Coach should have the ability to demonstrate or utilize someone who can paint a good picture (older player, assistant coach). A 14U Coach must be patient, but demanding and fair. It is important to have someone who knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play, and to be able to create a fun and competitive environment for the athletes. During this year of development, the coach needs to be able to teach the athletes HOW to compete to prepare them for the 15s level.
Team Systems Development
During the commitment stage your primary focus is still on individual skill development using correct techniques. However, team tactics start to come into play. Strive for quality in-system volleyball. Set team goals on number of attack attempts/errors, passing percentage and serving percentage. Encourage some risk taking. Team results become more important, but should not displace technical development as number one priority.
Positions: Players should begin to specialize. Setters should be identified and engaged in skill specific training. Middle blockers should begin to focus on blocking tactics and techniques.
Systems: Players should understand and excel at 5-1 and 6-2 offensive systems. Players should be versed and run a perimeter defense scheme.
Service rotation: Players should be able to switch (specialize positions) following serve or after the first ball is returned.
- Serve Receive: The recommended system is a three or four man reception pattern, moving away from a service “W”.
- Offense: 5-1 or 6-2
The game should remain FUN and ENJOYABLE. Players should be continuing to develop a passion for the game.
- Increase demands
- Establish training targets
- Maintain discipline
- Self reliance/inner drive
- Develop team & club culture
- Encourage players/teams to watch professional and national teams on TV.
- This is the age when you can begin to empower the athletes to hold each other accountable. Athletes will begin to standout as leaders or followers.
Strength and Agility Development
At this stage, all fitness work should be done with a ball.
- Flexibility – Player led static and dynamic stretching
- Agility – Coordination without the ball / ladder work
- Quickness – With and without a ball involved
- Strength – Arm and leg
- Speed – Arm and foot speed
- Balance – Work all of the single leg drills