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The BODM Line Blog
Welcome to The BODM Line blog!

This blog is my online direct link to you. I intend to use it to comment, answer questions,
share new stuff from recent practices, or maybe just babble. I have no schedule in mind.

I also want to encourage you to e-mail me questions about The BODM Line. The FAQ page is based
on questions I've gotten face-to-face over the last couple of years. So if you want to know how this a
pplies to your team or your offense or whatever, ask!

By the way, I primarily work with female athletes. So I tend to use "she" and "her" in discussions unless I'm specifically talking about a men's team.  This doesn't mean The BODM Line applies any less to the male athlete. If you have specific questions about any differences there might be,  please ask!

I you want to respond to anything I say here, or have questions, or want to tell me I'm
full of crap,  e-mail me! I'll add it to the original post and respond!

Send me a question! Comment! Cheap shot!


Hey all, it's hard to miss the fact that I've not added to the blog in a while.
A  LONG while.
There are a three reasons for that. The animation project is one. It's
required an insane amount of time. That on top of the camps and clinics and practices. More on the animation project soon.
The second reason is that, well, each time I've sat down to write I get started and I
realize gee that sounds familiar because I've written it before. The blog has always
been about the philosophy behind the system and my philosophy hasn't changed.
The third reason is that I discovered my web provider has changed the way my site works and I can no longer post new blogs unless I cough up more money.
SO, that said...
I still believe every player at every level can learn to read, and ultimately they
will HAVE to whether we teach them or not.
I still believe that we make team defense unnecessarily difficult for our players.
I still believe every team out there is capable of good, no, GREAT team defense. If they're
not playing good defense it's because we're not teaching them. Unlike where
offense is limited when a team is small, defense holds no such limitation.
I still believe that over-all the team defense information out there is limited and inadequate. There is no reason that there can be two teams reasonably well matched physically and one can be heads and shoulders above the other in team defense. Both teams have access to the same books and camps and clinics as we all do. If the conventional  approach to team defense is effective, then
I still believe that The BODM Line is the most efficient, effective way there is to teach team defense. At any age, at any level of play.
So read on. I will not recycle old stuff and try to convince you it's
new stuff. If you have questions, send me an e-mail. It may take a day
but I will always answer.
Wow, that kinda sounded like a blog...

Archive Newer       

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Okay, one more tonight.

I've mentioned player's instincts a couple of times.

Players who get on the court and quickly play beyond their age/experience can be said to have good instincts. You never really know when they will kick in, and some will tap into them faster than others. While good instincts can show up in hitting, blocking, serving, and setting, they are most obvious in defense.

When you see a kid moving around the court, hunting the ball down, making great moves to play the ball while her teammates are all still standing on their "spots" you are seeing good instincts at work.

That defensive instinct comes down to is an ability to read. Read the situation, read the hitter, anticipating what is likely to happen based on what she sees.

Here's the thing about instinct: a player who plays on instinct may not be able to tell you what it is they do when they are playing well. They may not be able to maintain that level of play all the time.

This is when you hear "I didn't have it tonight" or "I couldn't get in the zone".

I once worked with a pro women's team. After they learned and used the BODM Line concepts this was the most common reaction: "That's what I was doing when I was playing well but I didn't know it". They were playing on instinct.

Those concepts quantified what their instincts made them do. Once they were quantified they became repeatable. Once repeatable, well, now you can do it every time you step on the court. Not just when you "have it tonight" or are "in the zone".

The BODM Line quantifies what great defensive players do and gives it to the entire team in concert, not just one or two.

Sending players "to their spots" fights against and inhibits their instincts.

Think about it.

Wed, March 25, 2009 | link

Coaching style/learning style Part II

Part I was more about the coaching style, so here I want to talk a bit about the learning style. That means the athletes’ style.

A physical style athlete is motivated from the outside. In practice she responds to consequences (punishment drills). I think of it as a lot like the “boys basketball” way of learning: do what coach wants or run; make 10 free throws in a row or run; etc. etc. you get the picture. She wants to be pushed, to be yelled at and responds to it well. She’s all about that “big team’s” way of doing things. Hit hard, block big, serve tough. Not good enough? Run a set of lines. And she's just fine with that.

The emotional learner is more about really “learning” the game. She wants details: how and why it works. She needs success and positive reinforcement. Some would say she needs to be coddled, and there’s some truth to that. She will not respond well to yelling or punishment drills.

Now, to qualify a lot of this, understand that most kids will survive regardless of any coaching style/learning style difference in most situations. Most will understand that to be on a competitive team they adapt to the situation. The younger or less experienced the player is the harder this will be for her to do.

The learning style of the athletes is driven to a certain degree by the coach. For the most the players will adapt to the coaches style. Again, it will vary by the experience and age of the athlete.

I'm typically not the physical style of coach, but have had teams tell me they like consequences to stay motivated. So I will adapt and use running lines or whatever when I need to. It's not my style, but I will adapt if it will help the athletes get where they want to go.

But what happens when the pressure is on and the coaching style and the learning style just don’t go together?

When things aren’t going well in a big match or at a big tournament coach and player will revert to their own style. What happens when the styles conflict?

Are you a physical coach with an emotional team? And you’re tired of them “not responding and stepping up” when the pressure’s on? Could it be that their response to your style is getting in the way of their response to your content?

The players have to perform. They are the ones on the court. They need to be free to play at the top of their game. It’s up to us as coaches to adapt our coaching style to their learning style especially at those times of pressure.

Which is more important, your coaching style or their success?

Wed, March 25, 2009 | link

Coaching style/learning style Part I

Two different teams: one big athletic team of 5’9” and bigger, athletic, experienced; the other a small inexperienced team. Age group is not that important.

I (generally) don’t see coaches with that group of big athletes taking them much beyond the physical ability and level of instincts they already have. Even when they struggle, they’ll still put a good swing on the ball, serve strong, and put up a big block. They “don’t need” to bring in outside help, or try new concepts, or get them to play outside their own instincts and abilities. They see no need to do it until they run up against a bigger, better team. By then it’s too late.

I think of it as a “physical” style, and most of the time includes a lot of consequences like running lines or doing sit-ups when the level of motivation isn’t high enough.

The coach that has the smaller less experienced team sees a need to give them more game. So along with the basics of the game she (or he) does everything possible to teach them the tricks. More ball control, faster more deceptive offense, more effective defense. The coach sees what their potential is and gives them all the tools possible to play above their physical ability and lack of experience/instinct. This is that smaller team that just plays “lights out” against bigger faster teams. I think of it as a more emotion-based style of coaching and learning.

With the physical coaching style the emphasis is on what they are doing on the court: passing, hitting, blocking, jumping. Even when the finer points of their game are in trouble, this team will still function at a competitive level physically. The benefit is it is a reasonably easy way to coach. When things go bad on the court it’s easy to spot and address the physical reasons: we weren’t passing, we hit balls out, we missed serves. The difference between playing well and not-so-well is not all that big. The disadvantage is that the team is probably NOT learning the mental game, and when their physical ability alone is not enough to keep them competitive they will have to start a whole new learning curve to keep up with the competition. This style depends on the players' instincts to fill in the finer points of the game.

With the emotional coaching style the emphasis is on keeping them calm and focused. If the fine points of their game gets in trouble, they need to mentally be calm in order to play well because their physical abilities may not be enough. The benefit of this approach is that the players will learn more about playing the game and as they grow physically they will have a definite advantage over the players who play only to their physical potential. The disadvantage is that the difference between playing well and playing poorly is often a MUCH bigger difference than with the physically coached team and when they lose their mental edge it can me much more difficult to get them out of it. And when they play way above their heads and do well, it’s a bigger letdown to play poorly. The difference between playing well and not playing well can be very big.

I think both styles are valid. Being aware of them is another tool in your arsenal.

Something to be especially aware of: don’t let the style inhibit the learning process. The best example of this I know of is them not learning the mental game (mentioned above). Players that have not learned beyond their physical game will not play to their potential. True that they will play physically well, but the probably won’t learn the finer points of the game until they reach the end of their physical ability. A great leaper gets by on big blocking and hard hitting until that leap starts to diminish. A big fast player does the same until they start to lose their speed.

I’ve worked with players like this and they always want to know why they “didn’t learn all this stuff when I was young and really needed it”...

Doesn't that big physical team deserve to learn the same cool stuff the other teams are learning?

Wed, March 25, 2009 | link

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is it in context?

Sometimes I have to wonder if we listen to ourselves when we say some of the things we say to our players.

Like “keep your feet moving! You gotta be there!” and after the next ball hits the floor “That was your ball! Hold your position!”

Those two statements are in conflict.

Each of those statements IN CONTEXT are valid. But if you don’t establish the context they are in conflict.

Your chosen defense establishes context.

Other examples of confusing statements for our players are:

“Don’t swing your arms”

“You must be stopped and in place when you pass”

“You must pass centerline to be a good passer”

“Read the hitter”

“You should have been there! That was your ball!”

If our chosen defense doesn’t take care of the context issue or we if don’t get it, well, where does that leave our players?

In The BODM Line system context is established by the concepts of Primary Reads, direction, out-to-in, and dig-or-go. For details see the manual, but basically The Primary Reads define defensive assignments, direction and out-to-in define what to do within those assignments, and dig-or-go is the defender’s adjustment/reaction to her read of the attacker.

As an example, against a big outside attack from the right, a left back defender's Primary Read establishes her position on the court, out-to-in tells her how to play the position, dig-or-go tells her how to react to what she sees the hitter doing.

Perimeter, Rotate, Counter-rotate, Man-Up and Man-Deep don’t do that.

Wed, March 18, 2009 | link

Sunday, March 15, 2009

{Guest Blog, Amber Havekost] The timelessness and simplicity of The BODM Line

When I first started coaching, I was overwhelmed by teaching defense. I had remembered that as a player there were several defenses that I had to know and be able to switch and play at any moment…and I remember that being so frustrating. I did NOT want that for my players.

Because it had been several years since I had played, I didn’t know how the game had changed and that certainly complicated things.

I thought of The BODM Line and Gary and called him up.

I realized then, that The BODM Line is timeless…it adapts to all changes in the game, to all situations, to all opponents, and can be taught to any level!

It fit PERFECTLY into my coaching life.

The extra bonus was that it was easy to “re-learn” and so simple to teach!!!

I had played The BODM Line as a player, but I had been so far removed from volleyball that I needed a refresher course…and how easy it was. I was able to use it THAT day…and because of it, I was able to start a quality program.

Knowing The BODM Line also helped me develop my offense as a beginner coach in a beginning program.

All of the things that The BODM Line did for me at the beginning of my program were able to grow with us as we all got more advanced!

It provided such a strong foundation on which to develop everything else – my players, my own personal coaching philosophy, my assistants…and our overall game!!!

Because of The BODM Line I was no longer overwhelmed by the thought of starting up a program and being a first year coach…it made things simple, it made them do-able…and most of all, we all felt success from the first day on the court. The BODM Line will always be the foundation from which I begin any season, any team….

{note--two months after Amber called and got her first high school season under way, we decided to work together. So between being a wife, mom, and a full-time grad student, she also serves as my on-court assistant.

I like her perspective as not only a coach but as a player who learned and used The BODM Line in club, high school and college - Gary}

Sun, March 15, 2009 | link

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pure read defense

Is there such a thing as a "pure read" defense?

If you define "pure read" defense as defense created by what each players sees with no other structure or guidance, then I say no, there is no such thing as a "pure read" defense.

Ok there's one instance where it can happen. One person on a team. But since for the most part we don't play one-on-one, and if you do I don't think you'd bother to look to me for defense, I'm going to pass over that one.

The next closest would be in doubles. One person blocks, the other digs. That right there is structure. When the blocker signals the digger where she is placing the block so the digger knows which side of the court she will dig, well, that's guidance. Indeed it's a MINIMUM of structure and guidance, but it's necessarily there nonetheless.

So in six-man, the defense must have STRUCTURE: someone is responsible for the left side of the court, someone is responsible for the middle of the court, someone is responsible for the right side of the court, someone is responsible for tip coverage. Those "someones" also need to know WHEN they are responsible for each of those assignment.

Then we need GUIDANCE in the form of what do we do WITHIN each of those assignments. When to change assignments, what to do when the set goes HERE versus when it goes THERE, things like that.

Then there's the read itself. Obvious what to do when the hitter is hitting AT you, but what do you do when the hitter is hitting AWAY from you? If everyone is reading the hitter, we need guidance so we don't have three people trying to dig the same ball.

So, like said, no such thing as a "pure read" defense.

Rotate, counter-rotate, perimeter, man-up, and the variations that combines elements of those four are attempts to create structure, primarily my defining the left, middle, right and tip coverage assignments. However, they generally no not leave any latitude for the reading element even though the reading element is crucial to the success of those defenses.

The BODM Line is a read defense that provides that structure and guidance. And it's easier to learn, install and run at a top level of success than any of the "formation" defenses.

And that is a heck of a lot more fun for players and coaches alike.

Sat, March 14, 2009 | link

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dig or Go

How many times do your players get caught standing and watching the ball drop?
Or you as a player? Here is a very cool little key phrase/thought to help with that.

I call it “Dig or Go”.

The premise is that every player, young or old, experienced or not, can read when a player on the other side of the is hitting at them.

Try this with the least experienced players you know: standing near them, say six feet away, toss a ball in the air and do everything you can to look like you’re hitting at them point blank (ok don’t actually hit the ball). They will react. They will flinch, turn away, or maybe even scream. Some may surprise you and drop into a digging position. I have only once had one just stand there and look at me like “there’s no WAY you’re going to hit that ball at me...”

So everyone can make that simple read. Dig or go uses that read to generate movement. Here’s how it works:

As your players (or you) get into their defensive assignments and reads the hitter is hitting at them or in their direction, they should go into “dig mode” - ready position, lower, focused on the hitter, arms out and toward the hitter, all that stuff - to defend the attack. If the player read anything other than the hitter is hitting toward them (or reads the attack going to someone else or reads the hitter tipping, etc) she immediately goes into “Go” - she's up, moving forward, arms out, feet moving, releasing toward her area of responsibility for tips, rolls or whatever the hitter throws her way (left and right back forward and into the middle of the court; middle back thinking about along the back line corner to corner).

Just a great way for the players to get into a movement/play-the-ball-no-matter-what mode. It can effectively eliminate the getting-caught-watching-the-ball-drop problem.


Thu, March 12, 2009 | link

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Search terms

“Volleyball defensive formations” is a search term I see a lot.

“Rotate” is a formation. As is “counter-rotate” and “Perimeter”.

Everyone knows these formations, so when they try them and they aren’t successful, why go out and look for another formation?

The BODM Line knows that a formation is not the answer to team defense.

What our players do in reaction to what happens at the net is the answer to team defense.

The only way you can choose a formation ahead of time is if you know exactly what the opposition is going to do, when they will do it, and where the ball and the block will be.

The formation you see is, at best, a snapshot of that brief moment just before the attacker sends the ball into our air space. Every touch of the ball - all three of them - can come over the net and must be defended. The passer can send the ball over, deliberately or not. So can the setter. The third touch HAS to come over. To defend those means potentially THREE different formations every time the ball is on the other side of the net. All different. And the next three will be different from the first three. And so on.

When you watch great teams play, they don’t stand in a formation and wait for something to happen. They are moving. Adjusting. And they don’t stop until the whistle blows.

--One pre-determined formation will not work.

--Knowing what causes the correct formation works.

--Knowing what causes the movement within that formation works.

--Focusing the players’ attention on the action at the net instead of on the floor works.

--And your players knowing how to react and respond to what they see works.

That’s The BODM Line.

Wed, March 11, 2009 | link

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the circle

Here's a fun and effective little exercise I've been using lately. If you practice on a court that's on the middle of a basketball court you probably have a tip-off circle dead-center under the net. If not, you can tape one.

Play 3-on-3 in the circle. After a number of balls over the net you yell "game on" and the game goes full-court. The number of balls you want over the net is your choice.

Play in the circle is great for close-quarters fast ball control. Going full court involves communication and their back-row assignments/reads.

I start it as a wave drill until they get a feel for it, then go queen-of-the-court competitive.

An advanced touch might be to go from circle to full-court and back into the circle.

Have fun with it.

Tue, March 10, 2009 | link

Great player = great coach...?

Do you you need to have been a great player to be a great coach?

Not necessarily.

Can a person who has not played beyond a recreational level be a great coach?


If you were a great player, you need to understand what you did, how it fit into the team picture, and you need to be able to explain it to your players in a concise, understandable manner.

If you were a recreational player or perhaps didn’t play at all, you need to first find out what those great players did, then you need to convey it to your players.

In my case, I was a pretty good player. In developing The BODM Line, I think it was CRUCIAL that I was a good player. The concepts in The BODM Line are based on the things I did instinctively as a good player. That is a unique situation in coaching. Not every coach tries to develop their own system and make it understandable to everyone else.

In the case of a not-so-experienced coach The BODM Line is a resource for those instinctive things the experienced player does.

I’ve known some seriously good coaches who never played at a high level. They were not afraid to look for answers, and when they found those answers, were very good at conveying them to their athletes. They took The BODM Line to their athletes and were able to train great team defenses even though they had never played at that level themselves. They applied those basic BODM Line concepts to their teams. They are arranged logically so ANYONE can understand what has to happen, when it has to happen, and how to make it happen.

Team defense and floor game don’t happen the same way twice. They are ever-changing. The BODM Line is about that constant change. Constant change is constant movement in relation to what the bad guys on the other side of the net are doing, and matching the defense to whatever the offense over there is doing. It is NOT about going to a pre-determined formation and hoping it will match what the other guys are doing.

Once you understand that, you are on the way to being a great coach.

If you don't understand it, you will struggle.

Whether you were a great player or not.

Tue, March 10, 2009 | link

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ok point taken...

Got an e-mail from Terri in Arizona that basically says "the reason I won't buy your manual is I don't know who you are. What big program do you work with" etc etc...

A fair question.

The quick answer is I am not affiliated with any "big programs" nor was I a big star when I played. I am 5'8" and was a self taught player in the early 70s. I was a leaper (yes, white men CAN jump) and did time at middle as well as outside. I got shoved into the back row when playing with guys that were taller. As I got older and more beat up I began to realize my physical ability had taken me about as far as it was going to.

THAT was when I really started to learn the game.

I played with a lot of REALLY good players, trying to learn as much as I could. One thing I learned fast was, as far as defense was concerned, most of those great players around me were playing by instinct.

They played well but couldn't tell me how they did it.

So I did the same. And I apparently had good instincts, because I became a much better player than when I was just a big leaper and hard hitter. Play long enough and most players do the same thing to some degree.

And that's the way we've traditionally taught team defense. We taught them to "go to their spots" and we wait for their instincts to kick in.

In teaching team defense, I don't have time to wait for their instincts to kick in. So I had to figure out what those instincts were. Then figure out how to convey that to another player, young or old. And do it efficiently and effectively.

Anyway, no, I am not famous. I do not have a big college program. I don't have my choice of the 100 best athletes each year. I teach anyone and everyone to do what those top 100 are doing by instinct. And the stuff I teach everyone else, well, it's also pretty effective with that top 100.

See, when you UNDERSTAND what you are doing on instinct, you QUANTIFY it. And when you quantify it you make it REPEATABLE.

Back to being "not famous". It's because I'm not famous and not in a legendary program that I'm good at what I do. For all the reasons above. The BODM Line is applicable to and immediately usable by your 13-and-under team as well as those top 100, or a college team, or a pro team.

I once had a conversation with college basketball coach who relayed this from a basketball clinic. Someone was being a wise-ass and said to the clinician "why should we listen to you? You don't have any big players on your team!" The clinician said that was exactly WHY they should be listening to him. "Who would you rather get advice from? The coach who recruits the best players in the country or the coach that takes everyone else and MAKES THEM COMPETITIVE with the best players in the country?"

Point taken...

Mon, March 9, 2009 | link

Ego in the way...

The BODM Line works. Period. Players love it. Coaches love seeing their teams have more success and with that have more fun. Enough so that it has a good reputation (ok so do I because I teach it, but I’m not the point here). I am fortunate in that coaches in the area recommend me as a clinician/consultant for team defense.

An interesting aspect of teaching The BODM Line is encountering coaches that get in their own way when it comes to trying something new. I work with colleges, clubs, high schools, adult groups, and the occasional professional. The reason I do what I do is two-fold: 1) I love the game and I love helping people be better at the game because the bottom line of The BODM Line is it works, it’s effective, and it’s fun for the players because they see immediate improvement in their game; and B) I get paid for it.

Of course I get paid for it. I wish I could do it for free for everyone but barring the right lotto ticket or a call from publisher’s clearing house I’m not going to be in a position to do that very soon.

That being said, my other reason for doing this is because I love seeing kids and coaches be successful. It’s from that point of view that I write this.

So when coaches struggle with their team defense why don’t they ask for help? Or even just have a conversation about what The BODM LIne is, why it works and how it might help them?

A few years ago a local coach took over a program I had worked with. I ran into him after his first season, asked him how it was going and all that. He said he liked it, nice town, good kids, ok season, etc. He also said “hey my kids remember you. They really liked you and your stuff...but we’re it doing it my way anyway.”

Hmmm, let's see...why would they “really like you and your stuff”...? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because I’m cute. Or because I entertained them.

They liked it because it made them successful on the court.

Wouldn’t you want to know why it made them successful? Or how? Or anything about it?

The BODM Line works. It’s a different approach. If you are not totally satisfied with your team defense why would you not try it? Or at least look into it, ask some questions about it, check it out.

I don’t get it.

Too expensive? If $40 is to much to spend for the manual (how much was the last clinic you went to?) how about $15 for the promo cd?

There is only one other reason not to try it.

Don’t let your ego keep you and your team from an opportunity to be more successful.

Mon, March 9, 2009 | link

Friday, March 6, 2009

Training offense/offense out of defense

One of the benefits of running the Block Oriented Defense is how much it can help with training offense.

I see three modes of offense. Hitting line offense, side-out offense, and offense out of defense.

Hitting line offense is more of a training mode. One two or three lines of hitters, a setter, maybe some passers. You’re working on timing, tempo, maybe some crossing patterns. But how much of it actually applies at game time...?

Side-out offense is running offense from serve-receive positions. Servers serve, setter releasing from the back row, maybe throw in some free balls. Again, serves a purpose, but doesn’t cover the whole game.

Offense out of defense is about using the defense to create situations accurate to what will actually happen at game time. The formation created by the defense for a particular situation in practice will be accurate to that situation happening in a game. And, as the situation changes slightly every time you run it in practice just like it will at game time, the formation will change with it. Your players will adapt to and get used to this change until it becomes second nature.

Whether it’s a 14s team getting used to attacking after covering a tip or an 18s team running a stacked crossing pattern after digging an attack down the line, you will be able to duplicate it in practice so it won’t be a surprise during the match.

In the same vein, as you are training your defense, you use the same exercises to train your attackers. Need to work the down the line dig with right side defender? You train the hitters to provide that attack. Again, accurate to what will happen in the match.

Fri, March 6, 2009 | link

They're ALL read defenses...

I’m noticing that many coaches, when they hear the word “read”, begin to shut off to the discussion. Seems the myths that reading is too difficult and that team defense is determined by the formation you choose are sucking too many coaches in.

There’s a basic flaw in both of those ideas.

In order for any of those spot based “formations” to actually be successful, your players will still need to be able to read.

They need to know how to make a location read and they need to know how to read a hitter.

My definition of "read" is simply to know how to react and respond to what you see.

Trouble is, we think we can get them to memorize the different formations, then tell them which formation to be in and when to be in it, then we will have a successful team defense. If that’s true, then why is there such a disparity in the abilities of different teams to run a successful defense? Why does it take the better part of a season sometimes to “get my defense in place”? Why is it a 14-and-under can have a great defense and a 17-and-under team on the next court can’t defend their way out of a paper bag? They all know the same formations, they have access to all the same books, camps, and clinics.

Sorry, I do not accept the idea that “it’s the athletes”. Think about the 14s team and the 17s teams mentioned above.

The difference at all levels is the players’ abilities to see what’s happening in front of them and react/respond to it.

It’s their ability to READ. And they have to know how to react and respond to what they see for that defense to be successful AT ANY LEVEL.

If you don't teach them up front then you are depending on their instincts to do it for you.

Reading is a scary thought to a lot of players and a lot of coaches because it’s ambiguous and vague. So we retreat to the safety of the structure of a formation.

The BODM Line is a read defense with structure and guidance. The “Primary Reads” give players the structure of what to do every time the bad guys on the other side of the net touch the ball, and the guidance of how to respond to what they see.

ANY player of ANY AGE or ABILITY can learn and apply the BODM Line’s concepts and be successful most of the time.

Yes I said MOST of the time. I’m not going to put a 13 year old on the court with a bunch of 17 year old hitters and expect her to be able to handle the speed and power. So let’s keep some logic and reality in the discussion.

The point is you can run the formation and hope it matches what’s going on and that your players react accordingly, or you can run The BODM Line and create the correct formation for the situation as it happens because your players will know what to do and when to do it.

That’s The BODM Line.

Fri, March 6, 2009 | link

Thursday, March 5, 2009

“Defense Wins Championships”

Or, more specifically, “Offense wins games, defense wins championships”...

Sorry, I don’t necessarily agree. Bet you didn’t think you’d hear that from “the defense guy”. I think a much more accurate statement would be

“Defense keeps you in the match long enough for your offense to win”.

Three years with a local high school team. Not the biggest players. Not the most experienced. And not a lot of club players. Not a lot of size, in fact the tallest players were plagued with injuries and were hampered (a huge testimony to the character of those kids, by the way) the whole season. Two of those three years they got into the state tournament. Had to beat bigger faster stronger more experienced teams to do it. They committed to and played some awesome defense to get there.

The difference: those other teams couldn’t play defense well enough to stay in it.

Both times their team defense kept them in it. But both times they just didn’t have the firepower to finish. It came down to the defense getting the ball up over and over but the offense not putting the ball away.

I wouldn’t change my time with those kids for anything.

The point: these days you need to play a complete game. You can’t depend on your side-out game anymore.

Thu, March 5, 2009 | link

A little background...

Ok, a brief history of The BODM Line. Necessarily, that includes a brief (I promise) history of me.

I started playing in the early ‘70s. Volleyball got great coverage in the ’72 Olympics, in ’73 the San Diego State Men’s team got great TV coverage and went undefeated to the NCAA Championships. The next few years brought the Winston Men’s League and the first Coed Professional League.

That got me going.

Little or no coaching available, we learned by watching and emulation. Our concepts of defense were Man-Up and Man-Deep. All we knew was we played Man-Up against a weaker opponent and Man-Deep against a stronger opponent. There was no other guidance or structure. I was a fairly strong defensive player except for one thing -

I had absolutely no idea why.

I first tried (real) coaching in 1982 at a high school in Boulder Colorado. That was my first exposure to the different “defenses” out there. There was a big problem with what I saw in those defenses...

I NEVER went to a spot on the floor and waited or tried to react to what happened at the net.

I wasn’t really sure what it was I DID do.

So I coached a couple of years, continued playing, and in the early ‘90s got involved with girl’s club ball. Again, to teach them defense I had to figure out what it was I (and other players around me) did on the court when we were successful.

Figuring that out, quantifying it, was the first step I had to take. I was tired of of hearing "uh coach, was that my ball?", I got tired of telling my players things that weren't helpful to them, and most of all, I got tired of teaching my players things that just went against all instincts, my own and theirs!

So I started developing my own way of teaching team defense. The BODM Line was born. As I was working on it, I became more of a clinician and “technical advisor” to the clubs I worked with. By working with many different teams I was able to get this thing working and fine-tuned at a rate much faster than had I had my own team. I decided to call it a “block oriented defense” since the reference points come from and in relation to the block.

Why “BODM?” “Block Oriented” because the reference points in the system come from the block (even when no block is up). “Defense Management” because if you think of the different formations as defenses then this system form the correct “defense” for the situation, hence “defense management”.

The correct defensive formation for the situation at hand. Isn’t that the bottom line of volleyball?

I’ve always thought of my defense as a single defense that creates the right formation at the right time rather than managing different “defenses” so lately I’ve been thinking of it as The Block Oriented Defense Method.

So The BODM Line is not just a defense. It’s a system. What. Why. How to teach it. How to run it. Adapting it. Troubleshooting it.

There’s not much I enjoy more than teaching a team this system. I can’t be everywhere so I put it in a manual. Team Defense - The BODM Line. Get it. Have fun with it. Give your team a real shot at real volleyball.

Thu, March 5, 2009 | link

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