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What’s the single takeaway from my trip to Japan? They are the gold standard for volleyball training and technique development. If they weren’t on the shorter end of the spectrum for height, they would hand down blow the rest of the world away. The pride and dedication level they have for practicing and developing is inspiring and something we incorporate into Wisconsin Elite Training.

After 8 days of visiting/training with every level from 10/11-year-olds to the university level, the culture never changed. The consistencies were the same across the board.

  1. RESPECT. When coach talks, if rarely, all ball handling stops immediately and there is a direct attention. Every player whether a setter, hitter, or manager takes this as an opportunity to learn. They will all internalize and incorporate as the drills and practice continues. However players often do the coaching and help each other grow.
  2. PREMIUM FOR REPS. There is a focus on rep counts. Every time a ball is tossed, hit, set, served, it’s an opportunity to get better. There are NO REDOS on your ball, if you mess up, learn something and make it better next time. The pace is fast, so there will be more chances, but it puts a premium on attention and care for the process you are developing or working on.
  3. VARIABLES. Every drill that involves components introduce variables quickly and effectively. Volleyball isn’t a predictable sport, like many, so they don’t train like that. When there is a drill involving defensive players digging seam balls for instance, they will consistently mix in tips or chase balls. Every player is accountable for doing their job at all times. The accountability to communicate and be aware of their surroundings is critical to the success of each drill.
  4. PACE. The practices are fast paced and water breaks are not taken often. Drills are built for workers and shaggers, if you are a shagger this is your time to run and grab water quick. Pace is pushed to maximize the time they have to train. They are aware time is finite and it’s treated with care to ensure maximum value.
  5. WARRIORS. The players are units and play as a family. They desire to better themselves and their teammates at all times. No one gives less than maximum effort as that would be letting down your family. Drills aren’t as effective if one person does less than their best. Winning is a mindset and they push to meet the highest ideal of that culture for every minute.
  6. PRACTICE IS THE KEY. Practice is what they sign-up for and strive to get better in. Games are simply a way to show-off your skills and test your skills. But the environments in the gym are just as competitive and that is were true gains are made as a player. The touch count of a practice is unparalleled to a match.

Those were some of the biggest takeaways for myself and something I will be working closely with our leadership and master coaches to continue to implement in our system of training. No system is perfect or complete and we are working to continually evolve and attain the highest possible outcome. We will never be complacent in our growth or standards. Our practice standards will be higher than ever and accountability will be matched. With only two-hour practice slots, our system is designed to maximize every single minute to give the best possible coaching and skill development for your daughters.

We have the tools to elevate and change the way volleyball is played and how players are developed in our region. New player leadership programs will be implemented, motor skill development training, volleyball IQ training, and much more.

Check out videos from my Japan travels on the Wisconsin Elite YouTube Channel!

Patrick Bieser