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VNL Symposium Recap: Elevating Coaching Excellence in Volleyball

By Ontario Volleyball Association, 06/18/24, 3:00PM EDT


Over the course of three days, coinciding with the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Tournament in Ottawa, the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA) hosted an event that brought together over 100 coaches from across Canada. The symposium, curated by the OVA's High Performance Team, aimed not only to enhance technical skills but also to delve into the broader theme of coaching human development.

Diverse Perspectives and Insightful Sessions

The symposium boasted an impressive lineup of speakers, each offering unique perspectives and expertise. From the USA, John Speraw, Nate Ngo and Andrea Becker,  Canadian coaches such as Dan Lewis, Chris Voth and Glenn Hoag added a local flair, and Internationally renowned figures like Bojan Janic from Serbia enriched the symposium with global perspectives.

Interactive Panels and Engaging Discussions

A highlight of the symposium was the athlete and coach panels, featuring multiple Canada Next-Gen athletes along side Olympic wrestling gold medalist Erica Wiebe, coaches Tuomas Sammelvuo (Canada) and Dani Sinclair (Carlton Basketball) and high-performance director Kwesi Loney (Carlton). These sessions provided a deep dive into team culture, a critical aspect of high-performance coaching. Coaches in attendance had the opportunity to interact directly, gaining invaluable insights from different perspectives into fostering cohesive and resilient teams.

Exploring Mental Performance and Beyond

Dr. Andrea Becker's session on mental development resonated with attendees, emphasizing the importance of psychological resilience and strategies for enhancing athletes' mental fortitude. Dr. Kyle Paquette led an interactive mental performance workshop that underscored the growing emphasis on extending beyond physical and engaging the mental aspects of elite athletes.

Technical Expertise and Practical Application

Throughout the symposium, participants engaged in on-court demonstrations and classroom sessions that addressed technical skills. Chris Voth's ability to tailor his serve receive instruction to the audience's needs was particularly lauded, while Melanie Derochers' sessions struck a balance between technical precision and fostering athlete autonomy in the learning process. John Speraw's demo on blocking provided a balanced seminar on both technical and tactical side of the skill and Nate Ngo provided a fresh perspective on stat collection and effective use of the information.

Culminating in Celebration: VNL Matches and Beyond

Beyond the classroom, coaches had the opportunity to witness the excitement of VNL matches, culminating in a Canada vs USA showdown. Seeing strategies discussed in sessions unfold on the court added a tangible dimension to the symposium's educational impact.

Looking Ahead

The OVA's symposium was not just a gathering of coaches; it was a celebration of knowledge, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in coaching. As the volleyball community continues to evolve, events like these serve as pivotal moments for education, and the forging of new pathways in coaching philosophy and practice.

The OVA would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in making this a success, to all attendees for their engagement throughout the symposium and to the presenters for helping foster growth in the coaching community.

If you were unable to attend, please stay tuned for future opportunities as the OVA plans to host more symposiums in the future.