31. Glenn Hoag:"It is my responsibility to help my sport to grow"

In this Masterclass we feature Glenn Hoag. Glenn has over 2 decades of experience in coaching pro teams, he is the head coach of the Arkas Spor team since 2010, but for sure Glenn is best known for being the head coach of Canada's Senior Men's national team.

31. Glenn Hoag:"It is my responsibility to help my sport to grow"

He has been coaching Team Canada since 2006 til the summer of 2021. (with only a short break in 2016-2017)

In this Masterclass Glenn talks about his passion for developing players, what his goals are with the team's that he coaches, what some traits are that young coaches should develop, how he evolved his coaching style over the years...and much much more.

There are 14 video clips in this Masterclass, check them all out.

Glenn, thanks again for your availability and your time.

Enter Glenn...

Glenn, why did you decide to commit to being a professional volleyball coach? What pushed you towards that decision?

So that evolved. I always loved sport. Since I've been a small boy, I don't know why I was so drawn to sport, hockey, track and field and everything.  

I followed sport and I participated in sport. I was always very passionate about it.

I was going to become a teacher with my physical education degree if I was not going to pursue my volleyball career. But I pursued the volleyball career and became professional.

And I remember being in Europe in the different leagues and always writing down and taking notes what have happened in practice.

Even with the national team I wrote down things about what the coaches that I had were doing. So I always had that kind of perspective.

Initially I wasn't going to become a coach, but an opportunity came in 1993 at the end of my professional career at the university of Sherbrooke. I was 34 then, and it was a great opportunity for me to stay in sports, to become a volleyball coach which is the sport that I loved.

But the only thing though is that I needed to learn about coaching because I was a player then.

I have had some useful education from my university years and I 'knew' volleyball, but coaching was a different thing.

So there was a whole process that was going to kick in then.

For sure passion drives you somehow somewhere, just something that triggers that choice and adventure, but for me it was just like, first things first I need to become a coach now.

I needed to leave that players role because there's a transition there that's not necessarily easy to do.

Luckily, I had a mentor that really, really was a huge influence in my coaching life. So we started that process, but I would say that that transitional process took about 4 to 5 years.

I needed that time where I stopped becoming a player gradually and started to become a coach.

Do you have a particular goal? Maybe a goal that you already reached or a goal that is so hard to reach that it gives you daily motivation?

Well, I would say that the complexity of developing an athlete is a goal as such.

You need to profile the athlete and see where they're at. Doesn't matter the age, the sex, the level of development. You make the profile and decide, okay, what's the strategy to develop this player?

I can set a goal, but then I have to establish a strategy, you know, what drills am I going to use?

Or what means of communication are we going to use so that person can fulfil that goal? And when do I implement and how do I measure this?

Because the person, once you set the goal, will need to have a set of measurements so that they can relate to something.

And you also need to be able to explain all that to them.

I love seeing when the learning kicks in, sometimes it takes a year for a young athlete or they come back the next season and it's clear:" Oh, boom, now he's got it."  

This will always be the goal in the end.

It's a team sport, so kind of getting the team to play, not in perfect harmony, but to reach a level of harmonisation as a group that's so pleasing to watch win or lose.

It's so much fun to watch the group perform and execute the skills as a group and respond to cues as a group.

That for me is the ultimate goal.

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How do you go about the individual development of the athlete?

The way I like to look at the game is well, you look at the court and you take the skills.

If you take the different skills you got: setting, serving, receiving, blocking, attacking, defending, and you take the 6 spots on the court.

And now you can valuate efficiency per position, skill and player.

Obviously a setter is more of a setter, but if your setter is only a setter, if he doesn't defend, doesn't block, doesn't serve well. Well he's executing just one skill and will likely cost you in the other skills.