Deciding on the starting lineup weeks in advance? I don’t.

Coach Houser:
We’ve been practicing 2 weeks, and I want to let my players know their role on the team this week. We start our lineup and practices on Tuesday with running our offense and defensive systems. We have five weeks before our Power League, which is a national qualifying event. We have to qualify for the league then finish first in the league to win the bid. If we finish in the top three then we will qualify with an allocated bid if the region gets one.

Dear Coach:
Why do you have to make a decision? If you have kids who can play different positions, I wouldn’t finalize my starting lineup until the week before. BUT, I’d give my kids A LOT of reps FOR WEEKS in the positions I feel like they will eventually be playing in.

Example: Last night I had my smaller of my 4 OH’s playing libero. At practice Wednesday I will rotate them, Sunday rotate again…. and I will continue to do that practice after practice until about a week before our first tournament (Jan 14-16). That’s when I’ll finalize my starting lineup. Regardless of whether that works well or not, the first practice of the next week, the girls will be rotated again.

I do this because I want (a) the girls to be very knowledgeable at playing those positions b/c there will be emergencies, injuries, etc.; (b) I want there to be competition….”If I stink, I’ll lose this spot,” and; (c) I want to see what these girls can do. I want to see if the 5’7″ OH can hold her own vs. the 5’10” girls. I want to see if the 5’10” MB can beat out the 6’2″ MB! It’s great to watch. (d) this early in the season I NEVER want a girl to think, “Coach only thinks I can do x. I KNOW i can do y and maybe z. But I’m not going to get the chance.” 😦 HECK YEAH, she’ll get the chance.

So even two weeks before our regions bid tournament (maybe my team’s only chance of making Nationals), I will be rotating my players….. OH’s to the right, rights to middle, middle to outside, 5-1 or 6-2, etc.

Coach Houser

Tom Houser
Head Coach, 2012 Next Revolution In Volleyball 15 Nationals Coach
2006 and 2009 Junior Nationals Participant
Director, STAR Volleyball Camps
Author, “I Can’t Wait” Drill Collection and Ebooks.
The 2nd volumes of “I Can’t Wait To Coach” and “I Can’t Wait To Coach Volleyball” hopefully coming out soon.


About coachhouser

I started coaching volleyball in 1985, and it's taken me all over the USA. I've in my 21st year coaching club ball, and have coached 18 varsity teams and 10 JV teams. My staff and I have directed 27 camps the past 3 summers; and, it appears that 2012 will be most active summer yet! We also give lessons nearly every Saturday and Sunday night. Please visit us at
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