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Editorial Reviews

Review

Thinking Volleyball is a must-read. Coaches will benefit from Mike Hebert’s years of experience and success in building programs at every level.”

Russ Rose-- Head Coach Penn State Women’s Volleyball

"Behind Coach Mike Hebert’s well-crafted words shines his three-decade quest to help his teams become great problem solvers. If you want to improve your team, you need to read this book. "

Karch Kiraly-- Three-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, U.S. Women’s Head Volleyball Coach

"In Thinking Volleyball, Mike Hebert draws on his vast experience with and knowledge of the game to provide valuable insights into the nuances of this profession. Not only is it a great read but, more importantly, it's a great resource for coaches at any level."

Hugh McCutcheon-- Head Volleyball Coach University of Minnesota

"Starting with the Introduction, you realize that Thinking Volleyball is a different type of book than what has been written before.  The intricate weave between systems of play, program culture, and the writer’s mastery of storytelling quickly bring the reader to the realization that there is nothing out there on the market like this book.

 Legendary coach Mike Hebert has the reader asking themselves critical questions right from the beginning of Chapter 1: Learning and Decision Making.  The next chapter, Structuring and Running the Program, is packed full of ideas about topics such as team policy, program goals, and event management.  In this chapter, Mike tells a great inspirational story about one of his former players and starting Olympic setter, Lindsey Berg. 

 Over the next few chapters, the book takes a close look at different styles of play and the skills of international teams.  In his discussion of the international game, Coach Hebert not only takes you on an exploration of the X’s and O’s of teams from around the world, but also makes observations of what he believes are the psychological principles of these teams. 

 "The coach must decide to impose his will on the team.  It is a matter of forcing players out of their comfort zone on a daily basis.”  This reminder to coaches is in his chapter on defense.  He gets the reader to not only think about defensive technique and positioning principles, but also about reading the opposing team's offense and maximizing defensive effort.  The next chapter, Drawing a Blueprint for Offense, takes an in-depth look at running an offense and the differences between an in-system offense, out-of-system offense, and counterattacking.

The next two chapters, Promoting a Positive Gym Culture and Strengthening Team Trust are where I think this book separates itself from the many other books written on volleyball.  As an observing and opposing coach, these are also the areas in which I thought Coach Hebert excelled with his championship-level teams.  Amongst the many topics examined in these chapters are: getting teams to compete, working with and keeping injured players engaged, and developing a communication system.  He writes, “The absolute most important enabler in team sports is team-wide, unconditional trust.  It is the lynch pin that holds a team together.”  Mike takes the reader into his team meetings and the activities he did with his teams in order to build team trust, including role playing, showing movie clips, and team readings.  He also discusses how to promote development of positive self-talk and learned optimism, as well as how teams should deal with conflict.  These two chapters are phenomenal, and they alone are worth the cost of the book.

 The book doesn’t slow down one bit in the last two chapters, Coaching the Match and Thinking Outside the Box.  These chapters include a potpourri of tidbits that will get every coach thinking as the reader gets closer to the end.

 I absolutely loved this book.  Thinking Volleyball is a book that every coach at every level should have on his or her bookshelf.  Coach Hebert's storytelling will keep you engaged.  His layered and full 360 degree look at our profession will certainly have you referring back to chapters as you continue your journey in this wonderful sport."

 Kelly Sheffield-- Head Volleyball Coach University of Wisconsin

“Others that have written analysis have not come as close to the essence of coaching women's volleyball as Mike has in Thinking Volleyball. The chapters on gym culture and trust are remarkable. Unlike other volleyball coaching books of its kind, it digs far deeper, and comes very close to the heart of coaching excellence. For those who can soak in its essence, it will make a difference long into their futures.”

 Walt Weaver-- MVI (Midwest Volleyball Instructor) Director, 4X National Champion Northern Lights Juniors

About the Author

Mike Hebert began coaching in 1976. During his career, he coached the University of Pittsburgh men’s and women's teams, the University of New Mexico women's team, the University of Illinois women's team, and the University of Minnesota women's team. In 35 years of coaching, Mike earned a career record of 952-392 and led teams to the Division I Final Four on five occasions. He reached the semifinals of the EAIAW Championships all four of his years at Pittsburgh, winning two regional championships. He was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coach of the Year in 1985 and served as the president of the AVCA from 1987 to 1990. Hebert was a part-time member of USA Volleyball’s coaching staff for over 30 years and was honored with their All-Time Great Volleyball Coaches Award.

Now retired from coaching, Mike continues to work with USA Volleyball and is a member of both the University of Minnesota and AVCA halls of fame.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics; 1 edition (November 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450442625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450442626
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike Hebert began coaching in 1976. During his career, he coached the University of Pittsburgh men's and women's teams, the University of New Mexico women's team, the University of Illinois women's team, and the University of Minnesota women's team. In 35 years of coaching, Mike earned a career record of 952-392 and led teams to the Division I Final Four on five occasions. He reached the semifinals of the EAIAW Championships all four of his years at Pittsburgh, winning two regional championships. He was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coach of the Year in 1985 and served as the president of the AVCA from 1987 to 1990. Hebert was a part-time member of USA Volleyball's coaching staff for over 30 years and was honored with their All-Time Great Volleyball Coaches Award.
Now retired from coaching, Mike continues to work with USA Volleyball and is a member of both the University of Minnesota and AVCA halls of fame.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
This is a must read book for coaches at any level.
Chuck
This is a eloquent mix of stories and discussion that illustrate the attention, awareness and planning that can enable a coach to CREATE a great team.
jvanvark
Mike does a wonderful job of giving readers an insider's view of why he did what he did for a variety of different challenging coaching scenarios.
Kirk Bressler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Forman on April 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
If you're looking for a book to make you think about your coaching rather than just something that presents you with a bunch of drills and systems, then look no further than Thinking Volleyball. A 50-year volleyball veteran, the recently retired author offers his latest book as something he sees as at least attempting to fill the gap he perceives in the coaching literature when it comes to learning how to think about volleyball and coaching. I read both of his earlier books, The Fire Still Burns and Insights & Strategies for Winning Volleyball, and each had a big impact on me as a developing coach. I therefore much anticipated the release of this new title when I heard of it, and can't say I'm disappointed.

The broad theme of the book is being ready, willing, and able to think beyond the conventional. That's not as simple as being OK with taking risks in how you do things, though obviously that's a requirement (Hebert considers himself something of a coaching maverick). It first and foremost requires actually understanding what that conventional wisdom is, why it's conventional, and its strengths and weaknesses.

There are 10 chapters. One each is dedicated to offensive and defensive philosophy. These are the only two which could be classified as technical/tactical in nature, and even then it's not the main point. The other eight, in various ways, look at different aspects of coaching - things like running a program, developing a style of play, gym culture, team trust, and match coaching.

Personal anecdotes are a common feature of Hebert's writing, and he's got loads of material from which to work. They come from his own playing days and all the major programs he's coached.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Onewhoruns on December 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Great Book for anyone interested in building a Team, which is way more than putting together six players, or teaching them how to pass, set and hit.

There are many books about technique and drills, this is the first one I found that addresses questions as trust, chemistry, gym culture, reading the game.

The author explains his process challenging the reader to find their own answers (as he did with his players).

One of those books that gets immediately a special place in one's library, easy to grab, again and again. (I got the Kindle version, which is now full of highlights, but I'll probably get the paper one too. Such a keeper).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jvanvark on January 2, 2014
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This is a eloquent mix of stories and discussion that illustrate the attention, awareness and planning that can enable a coach to CREATE a great team. Other books put so much attention and discussion into the mechanics of playing a game, rather, this book does a wonderful job talking about the critical elements that make great teams! Such an important read for any coach!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deacon on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent and explains why Mike is such an amazing coach. He treats players with respect while getting the best out of them as players and individuals. The book pertains to any teams whether in sports or in business. His flexibility for applying different techniques and being open to different styles of play also separates Mike from the pack. Whoever reads this will be able to apply it to coaching or playing and to sports or business. Great job Mike!
Deek Smith III
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wesley freeman on January 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Best coaching book I have read. Definitely not the normal skills and drills book. Offers some great insight for coaches at every level. Thank you Mike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Bressler on March 27, 2014
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I may be a little partial in my rating of my book, as I am a huge Gopher volleyball fan and fan of Mike's coaching style. With that being said, this book is still a great one. Mike does a wonderful job of giving readers an insider's view of why he did what he did for a variety of different challenging coaching scenarios. I feel that I have a pretty solid knowledge of the sport to begin with, but Mike brought up aspects that I had never thought of. His brain is absolutely 100% wired for the sport of volleyball, and he simply pours out his knowledge - which spans decades - into this wonderful book. Coaches of all levels will find much to appreciate here, as will players and those who are simply looking to gain more knowledge of the sport. Strongly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chuck on January 3, 2014
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There are many great volleyball coaches, but very few that have taken the time throughout their career to not only provide insight into their volleyball journey or fundamental technique, but continually opened the door into the bowels of their program. Coach Hebert has done this and is a true ambassador to our game. "Thinking Volleyball" is a culmination of years of wisdom that he is generously passing on to every coach. This is a must read book for coaches at any level. It focuses beyond X's and O's and narrows in on the root of team structure through the mental aspect of the game, players, team and the entire program.
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