With the CEV Coaches Convention just around the corner (16-18 September, Skopje, North Macedonia), participants are looking forward to meeting and learning from keynote speakers John Kessel and Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai.
Warming up for the event where 160+ coaches and teachers will delve together into Volleyball development at grassroot levels, Mr. Kessel and Mr. Radchatagriengkai share some of their main insights on how to work with kids and why it is important to keep them inspired. Furthermore, why they got inspired to participate at the 2022 CEV Coaches Convention.
Being a keynote speaker at the event is a great opportunity for the two specialists, as they state.
“Volleyball was created in America, in 1895, but it was in Europe where the sport grew internationally. If you look at things historically, in Asia and in the USA, we kept on playing it and developing it, of course, but I think that CEV is the heart where the sport has evolved the most. The chance to work with those who see that, is priceless. The chance to share the things that the young John Kessel did that way, and now is doing it this way, is my way of saying: Do you understand why it changed? I appreciate that opportunity to find my mistakes and share them with others, so that they don’t have to do them,” Mr. Kessel shares.
“Where do I start with? I think that the Volleyball community is one big family, and we share our experiences. This includes me learning when I come to the event and meet the coaches, all of you. That’s all, ” Mr. Radchatagriengkai adds.
Both Kessel and Radchatagriengkai emphasise on the importance of working on grassroot levels.
“I want to develop the person. We must remember, as coaches, that the kids play the game, and the more they touch the ball, and I don’t touch the ball, the better they get. It’s about developing the person over the player, and the player over the skill itself. ”
“We all enjoy matches on senior level. But where do these players come from? They were once kids. The coach is very important to help the top players of tomorrow grow and develop. And we are here because we do only one thing – we love Volleyball.”
However, the two of them agree that there are some challenges on the road to working with kids.
“The challenge of our sport is that low gravity makes a soft volley ball fall in the same speed for a kid as it does for an Olympian. Since we cannot hold on to the ball, the fact that we cannot stop it, it is incredibly important to play over the net more and to read what’s happening rather than reacting. That’s the biggest challenge of our game. You can’t stop and hold on to the ball, as you can in basketball, for example. And you make a lot of mistakes. The challenge is to help teachers and coaches understand how mistakes are a huge part of our game – whether they are 10-year-old boys or Olympians, they are going to make mistakes, and it is OK. As a teacher or a coach, the challenge is that we must have a lot of patience, to not get upset, but to understand that that’s part of the journey,” John Kessel says.
Mr. Kessel points out the difference between a technical mistake and a reading mistake.
“To understand the difference between a technical mistake and a reading mistake is quite the challenge. That’s huge for young coaches. Players at this age will misread the ball a lot, because they don’t have the experience yet. Some kids get better faster, their brain and in body sync more.”
On the other hand, Mr. Radchatagriengkai shares more on dealing with mistakes
“A coach needs to learn how to accept the mistake – their mistake, and the one of the kid. The mistakes kids do in U12, U144, these are important, as they tell us a lot about the development of the player. Dealing with mistakes also means cooperating together. The coach must be a good leader, and to try always making it interesting for the player. When the kid is interested, they will enjoy the practice. They will make mistakes, but the coach has to give them more chances.”
A message to young coaches
Days before the kick-off of the CEV Coaches Convention, Kessel and Radchatagriengkai are looking forward to meeting the participants and have a special message to them:
“I am coming to share how to give boys and girls a love for the game by sharing the mistakes and things I have learned in 50 years of coaching volleyball.”
“Learn together with the kid.”