This is the Elite Phase, also nicknamed the “The Full Bloom Stage” when the focus is on the development of advanced team play. The goal of this phase is to expose the players to a playing and training culture that extends their mental, physical, tactical and technical capabilities to the limit.
Athletes should have an understanding of the games’ principles and concepts, and should show emotional stability when confronted with pressure situations. Demanding and challenging training sessions and matches are recommended.
The essential 3 goals for each athlete’s success at the 18U level are:
- Be able to work on their own game in a mindful manner.
- Be in charge of their own confidence
- Mastered 1st contact skills
Coach Description, Requirements and Role
An ideal 18U Coach is a teacher who is well-informed and up-to-date on the landscape of junior volleyball and college volleyball. In addition, the coach should have experience coaching at a high level, with knowledge of advanced volleyball concepts and training methodology. It is important for an 18U coach to be articulate, as well as a disciplinarian with no doubts about his or her authority. Having managerial know-how will allow an 18U coach to be organized and command a team, as well as lead other coaches and teams from a leadership standpoint.
An 18U Coach has the important role to demand excellence and train at a speed that meets match competition conditions. Individual skill training can be covered during warm-up and competitive situations in practice. There is minimal individual skill breakdown during practices and more game systems and reading the game development.
Team Systems Development
- Be able to execute a basic scouting report.
- Should play with defined team tactics to advance teams overall play.
- Early on, train and focus on individual skill development and techniques. However, team tactics become a priority at this age.
- Teams should strive to run multi tempo offenses and multiple defensive schemes.
- Players should have an awareness of statistics and their impact on the outcome of the match. Team results are now paramount, but the athlete needs to understand that skill acquisition is still critical to development.
- Recommended System –
- Serve Receive – 2 or 3man reception pattern. Understand and execute pre-pass, pass and post pass communication skills.
- Offense – 5-1 and 6-2
- Defense – Perimeter or Rotation (focus on holding pinch position)
- Out of System – Have a designated out of system setter (libero).
Psychological development is critical at this age. The following characteristics should be emphasized and developed. Players should be held accountable for these characteristics by their coaches and teammates.
- Time Management
- Maximum concentration
- Elite effort on EVERY play
- Respect for the game
- Goal setting
- Competitive nature
- Routines – Pre-practice/game and post practice/game
- Active learners – watch the game on tv or in person…study the game