John Kessel

John Kessel

Our Great Coach on this episode is John Kessel.

As a volleyball player John participated in 16 U.S. Open Championships and played professionally in Europe.

He started coaching at the Collegiate level in the USA in 1971 and led teams to National titles in 1986 and 1987. He was Team Leader for the 2000 USA Olympic Beach Volleyball Teams in Sydney, which brought home one gold medal, and for the 2004 USA Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team in Athens, which came home with the bronze medal.

It as a coach and administrator though where he has had the most profound impact on the game. He worked for over 30 years at Volleyball USA and 20+ years at World ParaVolley.

He is an author of over 12 books, including the IMPACT coaching manual which is now in its 33rd edition.  He has been inducted in the Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame and in 2007 was named a Sport Ethics Fellow by the Institute for International Sport.

John consults to other Olympic Sports, well over 20 in fact, and travels around the world talking about coaching and in particular in the youth space. This was one of those interviews which I would classify as a master class.

Among the many highlights som that resonated with me were:

  •  His view that the player who knows why they are doing something will beat the player who knows how to do something.
  •  The power of praise as a coach, and looking for ways to catch people doing the right things and reinforcing those.
  •  How one part of a coaches job is to help each individual within the team show competency and this does not necessarily have to be connected to skills required within the team, and how this strengthens the group.
  • And How he defines success as a coach as never being an athletes last coach.

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