👋 Shortest intro ever...(fair attempt)
Hi, my name is Matias Raymaekers, former pro player, now running a player representation agency, guiding pro volleyball players so that they make the best choices and develop a sustainable pro career.
In early 2021 I started volleybrains.com
🙋 Volleybrains is what exactly??
We want volleyball coaches all over the globe to NOT waste time finding the right information OR spend time consuming the wrong insights.
On volleybrains.com we offer exclusive access to 1 on 1 talks with the best coaches in the game. Our video calls get squeezed into extended, deep dive 'masterclasses' based on video content.
⚡ Bold statement of the day
But as always, you still have to do the work. Sit down, soak it up, put to use what speaks to you. We just offer the convenience.
🔥 What you're actually here for.
'Team Culture' is a very broad topic, it's anything and everything, it's what you do, say, think, act on...or choose not to act on.
Down below we selected 3 clips out of 3 of our Masterclasses.
We spend a tremendous time on our culture. The really enjoyable part of being a college coach in the men's game is that our season starts in January and you get your team in in August.
So you can spend that entire fall academic semester of building your team, both as athletes in the strength and conditioning and in the weight room.
And also in what we call our "retreat" that we have every Monday of the entire fall semester, where we're spending time on what we believe in.
And there's lots of levels to that.
Obviously we can talk about our blocking and our defense and all the technical parts of the game, but there's also things that are super important about our culture.
Because I'm a big believer, if you go back to what I said earlier about sustainable success, then you have to make sure that your culture is by design, not default.
The culture that I played in as a player here, albeit that it turned into a national championship and some very, very good teams. And I loved my time here.
But it was very much by default at that time. We had a very good collection of players, some very good coaches at the time. And then from year to year, it could change dramatically.
So it was a little bit up and down, but the bad part about that is really quickly, if you're not careful, the culture by default can go bad in a heartbeat to.
The wrong coach, the wrong players, not enough attention to the behavior within the locker room within the classroom, how they interact off the court with one another. There's lots of different things that can change it.
So you have to be able to address these early things that will come up, not if they come up.
Especially in this age of social media, where people can disappear from reality and just communicate with their thumbs all day.
That becomes a little bit of a problem later on in life when they have to work within a unit with a team and they have to be able to communicate with the coaching staff...
So teaching them communication and teaching them how to be open and honest with their communication and direct with one another so that we can get buy-in.
If a team doesn't have good communication and they don't trust the fact that they can communicate with one another, they can communicate with their coaches...you're going to have players that are silenced and when they're silenced, there's not going to be buying into what you're trying to do.
And if you don't have buy-in, you're not going to get to the level of having any trust with one another. And obviously trust, as we all know, is an enormous part of team success.
Trusting to make the right play on the court, trusting that they'll make the right decision on Saturday night, trusting that they'll do what they're supposed to do academically to still be able to play.
Lots of trust is broken by the fact that communication hasn't been established as a foundation. And once you get the trust, and once you develop the trust with one another, you can now hold each other accountable.
Because you trust that the other teammate and the other coach or your head coach, or whoever it might be is totally invested into this culture and is communicating each step of the way and building trust each step of the way.
You're going to be more apt to trust that when he talks to you about accountability, like even volleyball related: 'Hey, that tip was yours. You have to get it.'
Or I'm asking you to do this offensively or set this kind of offense as a setter.
You trust him more when you've had good open communication and lots of contacts. And then now the accountability to holding yourself to the level of what the coach wants or what the players want, or your teammates want is easier for everybody because of the trust.
And once you have the communication and the trust and the accountability.
Now we can start getting to the point of getting the results that we all wanted from the very beginning.
So we spent a lot of time talking about our culture being by design being intentional.
And once again, going back to the idea of being able to write it down, we use kind of like, in a corporate world, a job description.
Everybody has a job description, but in a team, there is no such thing, even though we imply there is. So what we do a lot is we'll take our team and we'll divide it by position.
And after we're deep into our retreat, we'll have the outside hitters get together and the opposites get together and everybody...the groups, get together and write their job description.
What does it means to be an outside hitter in our program? On blocking on defense on, on our offense, serving whatever, all the different areas and what they're going to commit to doing.
And they have to actually present that job description to the group as a group, they all get a piece of it and they all explain it to the group.
And what they're saying to the group is they're saying: "this is what we're going to do." So we're stating it, we're writing it down. And then we're asking you to hold us accountable to this. And it's okay for you to hold us accountable because we're telling you, we know this is important.
And we do this, this drill where everybody, each group does this back and forth to each other to build that accountability, so we can get to the results.
So I guess to kind of take it into one line or one bullet point of information that I would say about culture is...
Culture is everything about your team and it takes time and it takes effort and we choose culture by design over default.
I always say to them, listen, you have a very small window of time in which you try and be good while you're here. Everything matters and everyday matters.
But it's not life and death.
There are always more important things, but you must be focused on what you're doing on the day that you're doing it. That's all.
And if you have issues that prevent you from being focused on that day, I just need to know ahead of time, because otherwise my assumption is going to be that you're going to come in and give a hundred percent and be ready to go.
If we were going to put coaches in different boxes, you, who is more than qualified to be a coach, it sounds like you would be a technical coach.
I'm an attitude coach.
And if somebody was going to ask a technical question that I thought could go either way. I'd say, that's a good question. Matias is going to answer it for you.
If somebody would ask me a certain question about performance, I just say: Yeah, they need to play harder. My answer is: If you don't go for the ball, you're out of the drill, that's the answer.
And how do we do that? That's how we do it.
If you don't go for the ball, somebody comes over and pats you on the butt and you're out of the drill. No one yells, no one does anything.
But if you're out of the drill, you're not getting better. You're not in the rotation. You’re a shagger or you're kind of just standing around.
It doesn't take players very long to understand that I don't have a lot of rules, but the rules that I care about...I really care about and the team matters.
I coach women and I'm a sarcastic person. People always say sarcasm is a bad thing. And I'm like, well, that's unfortunate because I have been sarcastic for a long time and my attitude is that... losing sucks too.
What's worse. I think losing's worse than being around someone who is sarcastic, to me, it's like: Hey, deal with it. Don't worry about what's being said.
I always say: Hey, listen, I don't know what you're thinking because, I don't. And in return, I'll never make a statement where I say you don't care because I don't know if you care.
Everybody cares. Some people care a lot. Some people just don't know how to demonstrate that they care when they play.
But this is what it looks like to me and the other team.
And if the other team thinks that you don't look like you're competitive, or it doesn't look like you're a good teammate, or it doesn't look like you can handle making an error...well, that feeds the momentum to the other team, whether it's real or not.
The development takes place from my standpoint, through that sort of communication.
I mean, we can show a video about how people do it right. That's the beauty of this thing (looks at 2nd screen) here is, you know, you can watch the TV, record stuff and say, man, these guys are unbelievable.
And some of the women are unbelievable, but it doesn't transfer.
But when they see themselves, yeah, there it is. You know, a picture is worth a hundred words, but videos worth a million words.
And a video of you having bad behaviour is a million words.
One thing that we do, that's really unique and difficult, but has really paid off is, we have role meetings, but we do them in front of the team.
So we talk about every individual in front of everybody else.
I think that really helps build trust because we're really transparent.
And then it allows them to hold each other accountable so they can hear us, what we say you need to do, whether it would be more playing time or what you're doing well.
So it's also an opportunity to call out the things we want to see repeated in front of the whole team and to make sure that our players know that that's valued.
But also a way for them to hear about their play in front of their peers. And it's sometimes probably the most awkward for me because I'm the one leading the meeting.
And saying 'negative' stuff about a player in front of everybody is kind of hard, but I think it's really been great for our program and something we're going to continue to do.
And that doesn't mean we never talk behind closed doors because that's unrealistic.
We have to sometimes, but mostly we don't, I just don't want anybody to think we're hiding something or trying to keep info, I don't want somebody coming out of our offices going down to the locker room saying or thinking something, that isn't true.
That's why we try to do everything together as a group.
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