There are two timeout scenarios: a timeout taken by your team, and a timeout taken by the opponent. While it always feels better when the score is in your favor and the opponent calls the timeout, it is a critical time for either team to change the momentum of the game.
Here are keys to time out management from the expert Master Coaches at Beach Nation:
Less is more
Use a time out as a time management exercise broken into a few segments:
- Catch your breath
- Explain what’s happening
- Give direction to make a positive change.
Too much information and conversation will mean the athletes forget your action points, so less talk is more helpful to maintain focus.
Make Small Adjustments
Share what adjustments you need to make based on what the other team’s defense is doing. Share the tendencies of the other team’s offense and make defensive adjustments. Keep the comments as short and direct as possible so the players can make the needed adjustment(s).
“We are leaning versus getting our feet to the ball on passing. Let’s focus on feet.”
“We are rushing to hit and getting under the ball. Use your technique, slow to fast on attack.”
“She is hitting short cross court. Let’s take that and give line.”
“She keeps hitting high line every time she is off the net. “Let’s take that.”
If your team is bleeding points use the timeout to regroup. Know what you want to say before the timeout is called. Go slow and be purposeful. Take the first part of the timeout to be quiet and literally take a deep breath. The players typically come into a time out charged up and not ready to listen. After the first part of the timeout, tell the players what you are seeing along with the adjustments to make so they understand why this will help fix it with execution. Then slow down and walk out with focus.
Make Strategy Changes When Ahead
A time out doesn’t necessarily have to be taken only when your team is losing. It can also be taken when you see something in a match that can help your team get extra points by switching up a strategy. Try asking your players for feedback and give input based on what they are telling you. We never want to celebrate too soon and lose the edge. That said it’s also appropriate to respect any opponent, there is time after to celebrate.
Stop the Run
Coaches shouldn’t wait until your team is down or until the score is tied up to take a timeout. Timeouts need to be used when an opponent has a momentum shift and your team is helping stem their run. Try to help stop their momentum by helping your team regroup with some time and your confidence.
The type of information you share depends on the athlete’s preferences (i.e. tactical, technical, mental).
1 – how / where to score
2 – which defense to run
3 – skill correction if struggling
4 – review game plan – when to adjust
Avoid Yelling and Negativity
As a coach, you should always provide confidence, support and purposeful information to your players. Some coaches like to add energy, but don’t mistake this with yelling. Many times yelling can be perceived as negative. Remember that during stress and with the adrenaline of competition the athletes can only absorb and change in limited amount. Some of the best time outs when the team is winning the coach says nothing.
Be professional, stay on point, and discuss time out management with your teams prior to competing. Practice time outs during scrimmages so the players know what to expect and are not overwhelmed during a time out. The best comments are the most simple comments.
About the Author
This article was written by Mark Fishman and the Beach Nation elite founding coaches. Beach Nation, the Beach Education partner of the JVA, Starlings USA, the AVCA and the AVP, strives to teach the most successful techniques first and allow players to grow their style from that good foundation. Beach Nation coaches include USA Olympic Team Coaches, Division 1 Woman’s Beach coaches, USA National Team coaches and National Team Development Scouts and coaches. Beach Nation promotes coaching players and coaches through hands on camps and clinics and teaching the game while challenging convention. The world class coaching staff at Beach Nation has unparalleled experience ranging from teaching the youngest athletes in club volleyball to winning the FIVB World Championships, winning an Olympic Gold Medal, and every level in between. Visit BeachNation.Net to learn more about beach volleyball and our planned events and coaches.