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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...

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

What is "Read"

Here is how I define “read” and use it in The BODM Line.

“Read” means you look at something, you get information from what you see, and you use that information.

I use the word read in The BODM Line two ways: “Find your read” and “make a read”.

“Find your read” is positional. “Your read” is a specific view of the action. In the defense it is the defender’s assignment and action on the court in every situation. It defines for the player what she does physically in the defense and creates the correct relationship of the players on the defense to each other. It orients the the defense to what the bad guys are doing on the other side of the net. If the player has her assigned view of the action as defined by the defense, then she will be in the best position to make a play on the ball within her responsibility. It creates movement that is constant and flowing.

“Make a read” means look at the hitter (or setter or passer) and determine whether she’s hitting at you or not. The defense specifically defines your response. Especially if she’s NOT hitting at you.

So the defender makes her read (finds her view). She then “makes a read” (reads the hitter). If she sees the hitter is attacking toward her she has a defined response, if she sees the hitter is attacking away from her she has a defined response. It takes longer to say it than it does to do it.

So I think of it as a positional read and a response read. They go very much together and are very similar. The positional reads define the defense and everyone’s responsibility within that defense. The response read fine tunes the player’s move to play the ball.

When you tell two players to “read the hitter” without the positional read there’s automatically a conflict: they both know they’re not supposed to dig in the same place on the court so they will instinctively hesitate to play the ball if it’s in between them.

These reads are not outside of or in addition to the defense you are running. They are not an afterthought or something you do to make them “move better”.

They are an integral part of the defense.

They are The BODM Line.

Sat, April 25, 2009 | link

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I use the word “deliberate” a lot. Also the phrase “do it on purpose.”

In the manual I call it being result-oriented rather than process oriented.

How many times have you seen a player go up and make the absolute perfect tip move and the ball goes out. Or into the net. Or watch a player make a big swing, except she’s not off the ground and the ball goes into the bottom of the net.

Then they both do it again on the next play.

I think in this game too many players are so concerned with getting it right, having the right form, doing exactly what coach said, or doing what they think they’re supposed to do that they completely forget about playing the game. More specifically, they forget they are trying to do something specific with the ball.

Players have a picture in their mind’s eye of what they should look like and they try to look like that when they play. Problem is the picture was in a certain situation for a certain player. And it most likely is not the same situation that they are in.

In this game we get the ball to go where we want it to go. We swing at it with one hand (hit), we use our forearms (pass or bump), or we use two hands (set). In all three cases we control the direction and we control the speed.

The technique is not the point. The technique is the tool.

So many coaches focus on the form that the player forgets about just playing the game. When we do that we set our players back rather than take them forward. I don’t care what my player looks like if she passes the ball to the target or hits the ball to the open spot on the floor.

I worked with a girl on her college tape. We were doing “coach on one” defensive moves and she was awesome. Every pass going to the target, great moves getting to the ball. Problem was she was pissed off and getting madder by the second. I stopped the drill and asked her why. She said “I suck! My form is awful!!” I pointed out that every dig went where she wanted it to go, she was making great moves and reading well. She looked at me like I had horns and said “my club coaches told me that I had to get the form right and nothing else mattered.”

I’m thinking “are you kidding me!?!”

Good form does not automatically make a good pass. Understanding the game, reading, and getting to where the ball can actually go make a good pass. If a player does those things, THAT will lead to great form.

Two players, the same size, in the same situation, passing the same ball to the same target will probably look alike. Those same two players trying to look alike no matter what will be much less likely to produce consistently great passing.

So, back to “deliberate.”

Hit the ball to the spot on the floor. On purpose. Set the ball to where you want it to be for that hitter. On purpose. Pass the ball the direction and speed you need. On purpose. Make your defensive read. On purpose. Don’t make the move for the sake of the move. Don’t let this game just happen to you.

Out of that, the form will come.

Be deliberate.

Thu, April 23, 2009 | link

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Team Defense Paradigm

Part I: The current Paradigm

Start with a pre-conceived formation. Your players memorize ‘where to go’ with each situation they encounter. They learn and re-learn their ‘spots’ in every practice.

You address lack of movement with drills. You teach them pre-determined patterns to increase movement and hope the pattern you teach will match what will be needed according to what the opposition does. Or you teach more than one pattern and hope they figure out which one to use in which play during the match.

You remind players ‘that was your ball’ and ‘keep your feet moving’ or ‘hold your position’ relative to what just happened.

You add a second defense (a different formation) for a new situation. You hope they figure out when to apply the new formation and when to use the old.

Your players are very good at telling you what they should have done after the play is over and they look back at what happened but still struggle with the next play.

By the end of the season your best athletes and most experienced players should have a pretty good grasp of what they think they are supposed to do.

Next season you start the process all over again.

Part II: The BODM Line Paradigm

Start with The Primary Reads which define the court responsibilities (location, area of responsibility in relation to teammates and the opposition) and create appropriate movement within the defense itself. (can be done in one practice)

Define ‘out-to-in’ (left back and right back) and ‘direction’ (middle back) which will define what to do in each of those defensive responsibilities. (can be done in the same practice)

Define ‘dig-or-go’ which will create the appropriate response to what your defender sees the attacker doing, not only when the attack is coming toward her but also when it’s not. (can be done in the same practice)

Players will know ‘that was my ball’ when they miss one.

Players will not have to try to memorize what to do play-by-play, only what their assignment has defined for them.

You will tell them what to do during the next play rather than what they should have done the last play.

All your players, not just the most athletic or experienced, will be proficient in this system.

Proficiency in all positions is attainable in two or three practices fairly easily. The rest of the season can be spent on offense out of defense and other fun stuff. Once the system is learned, a new one will not be necessary next season. The difference will be the speed and power of play. The defense will be the same.

You will use movement drills to teach a player how to move rather than to program her into a predetermined movement pattern that you can’t predict anyway.

Every situation you set up in practice will be the same as and appropriate to what actually happens at game time.

You and your players are going to have a lot of fun.

You choose your Paradigm.

Sun, April 12, 2009 | link

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Obviating scouting

How much time do you spend scouting your opposition?

And what do you do with what you learn?

Most coaches will take what they learn and try to make adjustments in the defense. The left side defender may be told something like “their big outside hitter attacks this angle a lot, so you set up over HERE against her” or something like that. The rest of the defenders are to make similar adjustments.

They may be told different adjustments for different attackers.

All of this on top of “when I see THIS I go THERE” and whatever else is floating around in their heads already.

This points to a basic flaw in whatever defense is being run in that the defense itself should adjust to whatever is happening on the other side of the net.

When I say “the defense” I don’t mean just the six players on your side of the court. I mean the defensive scheme and it’s built in guidelines and structure should automatically make adjustments to what is happening on the other side of the net.

When you run The BODM Line this is the type of scheme you get. Your defense will be effective no matter what.

Ok ok the exception is if you are horribly out-gunned or out-sized. Even in that case we continually see teams survive and even pull out some surprise wins. Now will this happen when a 14’s team takes on the same club’s 17’s team? Or the freshman team takes on the varsity? Probably not, but, like our other discussions, let’s keep this a little more realistic.

So, back to scouting and your defense.

The only adjustments you should have to make in your defense is where you set the block and possibly how many blockers you use. There should be a minimum of adjustments to your individual defenders other than to warn them of hitter’s tendancies and tricks. The defensive scheme itself should take care of the rest.

So it really doesn’t completely obviate scouting, but it sure makes it easier and more efficient.

Get The BODM Line to see how.
Sun, April 5, 2009 | link

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How many defenses?

The “traditional” way (American way...?) of volleyball suggests there are basically five “defenses”: Rotate, Counter-rotate, Perimeter, Man-up, and Man-deep. I said basically because there are some variations which can be thought of as combinations of the named five. The Russian, for instance, uses the setter to shadow the blockers for tip coverage. That is similar to Man-up in that we have designated one player for tip coverage. The setter normally plays the right back, while in Man-up the designated tip coverage comes from the middle back. Man-deep and Perimeter are basically the same defenses. The Off-Blocker Defense and Blue are the pretty much same as Counter-Rotate. If that’s not enough, don’t worry, there are more.

Confusing already isn’t it?

What these five defenses (well, ok, ANY defense) have in common with each other and The BODM Line is that they all must account for these 5 responsibilities: left back, right back, middle back, tip coverage, and a block.

They must account for these 5 responsibilities in all situations and not be left up to each individual coach's interpretation.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

They must clearly define how to play these five responsibilities in all situations including adjustments and what to do when things aren’t going right or the situation changes etc etc and not be left up to each individual coach's interpretation.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

The defense itself should define and create movement within the defense itself so it is in context at all times and not an afterthought or “additional training” or, again, be left up to each individual coach's interpretation.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

The defense should create the correct formation to match what the bad guys are doing on the other side of the net dynamically, in all situations, at all times.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

The defense should adapt to different speeds and abilities of players and the offenses they face so you don’t need to teach them a new defense next year and the year after that and so on.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

The defense should be trainable to all ages and abilities and be effective at their respective levels of play from the least experienced to the most experienced.

The five are not. The BODM Line is.

The defense should clearly define for each player what her responsibility is and how to do it in every situation.

The five do not. The BODM Line does.

The defense should be more than a formation.

The five are not. The BODM Line is.

There is only one defense.

How many more reasons do you need...?

Wed, April 1, 2009 | link

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Great team defense is based on

What you look for and where you look for it!!

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