Level 3 Te Whanake Coach Award 2024

Volleyball New Zealand is excited to confirm the Level 3 – Te Whanake Coach Award schedule for 2024.

As a key part of the new Volleyball New Zealand Coach Development Framework, the Level 3 course takes place over a five-month period including online and in-person development opportunities as well as a self-reflection component.

Volleyball New Zealand Coach Development Manager Shaun Matthews is excited by the potential of the impact of the course for those involved.

“This programme has the potential to be something really exciting,” Matthews said.

“For coaches from across the motu, coming together to discuss and reflect on effective coaching practice, that’s something new for the sport of volleyball.

“It’s also great to be able to offer something specifically for beach volleyball coaches as well. For the weekend in Auckland, we are hoping to split the group, running parallel courses to meet the needs of beach coaches and indoor coaches.”  

To complete an expression of interest for the Level 3 Te Whanake Coach Award, click here. EOI closes on Friday 26 January, 2024.

Contact Volleyball New Zealand Coach Development Manager Shaun Matthews for more information – shaun@volleyballnz.org.nz

Details - Level III Te Whanake Coach Award – Develop your Coaching Craft

How: Coaches are encouraged to complete Level II Te Tipu (Grow) Award OR show evidence of prior learning/experience with coaching. To complete the programme, coaches are encouraged to attend multiple modules as well as show evidence of reflection and learning over a 5-month period.

Who: Te Whanake (Develop) is the ideal course for the aspiring beach/indoor coach of competitive players (club, senior secondary school, and IPC level coaches).

What: Coaches will learn about attacking, transition, defending, and advanced volleyball techniques (beach or indoor), as well as generic coaching material such as leadership of self and others, developing decision makers, game analysis, and understanding the people we coach. Note: for the volleyball components of the course, the group will split into two groups – beach and indoor. So that coaches can discuss and reflect on the technical and tactical components specific to their discipline.

Cost: $119.95 + GST


1.  Leadership of Self and Others/Developing Decision Makers - Sunday 25 February or Sunday 3 March, 9am-12.30pm via Zoom

2. Defending, Attacking, Transition, and Advanced Volleyball Techniques - Saturday 20 April (11:00am - 5:00pm) & Sunday 21st April (9:00am - 2:00pm) - Auckland (Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation)

3. Understanding the People we Coach/Game Analysis - Sunday 16 June, 9:00am - 12:30pm via Zoom

Additional information:

  • VNZ asks that each participant is endorsed by someone from their region – to ascertain suitability and act as a mentor throughout the experience.

  • If there are 4 or more coaches from a specific region, and there is someone locally who has the capability to deliver the volleyball-specific component, coaches can choose whether they travel to Auckland or not. 

Blog #4 - Ted Lasso

Lesson 1. The Underdog. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” (Tim Notke)

An “underdog” is a person or group in a competition, who is largely expected to lose. The team expected to win is called the favourite or “top dog”. Think David vs Goliath. There are numerous reasons why we support the underdog. Ambition, aspiration, inspiration, relatability. When Harbour Raiders B won a set against their A team at Club Nationals, we started to see some typical underdog and top dog behaviours on display. In the 2nd set, we witnessed the crowd getting behind Raiders B, allowing them to find another gear. They put in more effort and their desire to be successful was heightened. The Raiders A team, on the other hand, underestimated their opponent and allowed for complacency to creep in. Kudos to the Harbour Raiders A team, who were able to reverse the phenomenon, regain their status as the superior team, and go on to win the entire event!

Implications for Coaching Practice:

- If you’re coaching the “underdog” team, the measure of success might not be on the scoreboard. If the goal is to beat the opposition, it is important to undergo additional physical and mental preparation, so that players go into the game with a heightened sense of confidence.

Lesson 2. Superstars play by their own rules. “No one is bigger than the team and individual brilliance does not automatically lead to outstanding results. One selfish mindset will infect a collective culture” (James Kerr)

Volleyball is truly a team sport. No one can touch the ball twice in succession, and therefore, the game requires players to use each other to generate a successful outcome. Players alternate who serves. So, everyone on the team is important and feels like they are contributing. The saying “you’re only as good as your weakest player” is true for volleyball.

It is a widely held belief in sport that team culture can have a big impact on how a team functions and performs. Tony Readings (All Whites Assistant Coach) once told me “Your biggest competitor is your own culture”. Someone who looks out for themselves or prioritises their own success above the team’s success (and wellbeing) is likely to inflict damage on the way the team thinks, feels, and behaves.

Implications for Coaching Practice:

- It is important that coaches pay equal attention to all players and facets of the game. The success of a team requires the integration of team members efforts. It is important for coaches to help group members understand their roles, provide them with the confidence and competence to execute their role, and encourage/support them to play their part within the system.

- It is also important that coaches understand the value of establishing and growing a positive team culture. Team culture should not be considered an add on. It requires nurturing. Developing a positive team culture requires 3 things. 1. Vision. What is our purpose? Where are we heading? 2. Values. What do we stand for? The best and the worst teams have the same values. What’s important, is the way you portray your values. 3. Establish Areas – on court, off court, etc. What do we need to do persistently and consistently in each area?

Lesson 3. BELIEVE. What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create” (Buddha)

Self-confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities. It is a personality trait and a psychological state (your state of mind at any given time). Self-confidence can fluctuate depending on the circumstances or situation. Generally speaking, evidence indicates that self-confidence has a positive impact on sports performance. If we dig a bit deeper, self-confidence impacts performance via mechanisms such as increasing effort, selecting appropriate strategies, and regulating unwanted thoughts and emotions (Michie et al.) Due to the nature of volleyball, it is also important to recognise that self-confidence can fluctuate as the game progresses, between points, sets, timeouts, the impact of a big play, and so on.

Implications for Coaching Practice:

-  It is important that, as coaches, we understand that telling a player to ‘be more confident’ or ‘play with confidence’ is likely to have little impact on someone’s self-confidence. However, we can support players to draw on different sources and/or mechanisms that will positively influence their confidence. Confidence can be drawn from an ability to perform specific skills (serving, setting, etc.), physical factors (effort, strength, etc.) and psychological factors (leadership, communication, etc.).

Lesson 4. Cohesion. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success” (Henry Ford)

Members of larger groups (indoor volleyball) experience greater difficulties cooperating compared to smaller groups (beach volleyball) and members reduce their effort when they know there are others contributing. Eccles explained that athletes must align three things to achieve optimal teamwork: action, timing, and location. The aim here is for members to achieve a specific action (set - spike) at a specific time, at a specific location. If the timing is off, or the pass is out of reach, coordination diminishes. Within a team setting like volleyball, completing a task requires multiple brains. Therefore, the aim is to achieve a ‘shared knowledge state’ so that team members can draw on the same knowledge during games, leading to more effective coordination.

Implications for Coaching Practice:

-  It is imperative that coaches give enough time for players to learn their roles. There is evidence to suggest that athletes who have a vague understanding of their role tend to report weaker perceptions of team cohesion. It is also advantageous for team trainings to accurately reflect the game requirements as well as have players contribute to a shared understanding of the action, timing, and location of the task.

Blog #3 - Cohesion

In recent weeks, I experienced my first taste of face-to-face volleyball on a grand scale. At Club Champs… 82 teams from across the country, around 900 players, over two venues. While it was a stimulation adjustment at first, the volleyball was impressive! I learned a lot about the game of volleyball, thanks in part to Jock Murley, walking me through rotations, positions, etc. (I’m still waiting on that quiz!). And most recently, at the National Volleyball League…bringing together the top 50 men’s and women’s players across the country. With my coaching lens on, I wanted to share some observations from Club Champs and NVL – about Group Dynamics. Thank you in advance for reading on. Please feel free to comment.

One of the first things I noticed – everyone goes for everything. Players are diving for balls, jumping over chairs to keep the ball in play. On top of that, the more successful teams can integrate their efforts flawlessly. Group members understand their roles, have the confidence and competence to execute their role, and have a willingness/desire to play their part within the system. Interestingly, a group’s effectiveness often falls short of their potential for two main reasons. Coordination – a groups failure to coordinate the contributions of individual members. Motivation – members do not exert maximal effort.

Ringelmann initially observed that during a tug-of-war activity, performance decreased as the group size increased. During a 1on1 tug-of-war task, participants pulled close to 100% of their potential. With eight in the team, each member contributed only 49% of their potential productivity! Notably, members of larger groups experience greater difficulties cooperating compared to smaller groups and members reduce their effort when they know there are others contributing. While volleyball is much more complex than tug-of-war, there is something to be said about how coordination and motivation can impact group productivity. Its also interesting to note how this phenomenon might play out in indoor volleyball, with 6 on-court players and numerous substitutes, and how it plays out for beach volleyball in a 2-on-2 setting.

What does this mean for your coaching practice?

Firstly, role clarity is suuuupperr important. There is evidence to suggest athletes who have a vague understanding of their roles tend to report weaker perceptions of team cohesion.

Do the participants understand the sport and their role well enough?

Are participants given enough time to learn their roles?

Are coaches consistent with their communication?

Secondly, how do we teach coordination? Eccles explained that athletes must align three things to achieve optimal teamwork: action, timing, and location. The aim here is for members to achieve a specific action (set - spike) at a specific time, at a specific location. If the timing is off, or the pass is out of reach, coordination diminishes. Within a team setting like volleyball, completing a task requires multiple brains. Therefore, the aim is to achieve a shared knowledge state – “on the same page” so that team members can draw on the same knowledge during task performance, leading to effective coordination.

Some things to consider?

  1. Train how you play – make it as game-like as possible.
  2. Experiment with changing positions – put yourself in your teammate’s shoes.
  3. Co-construct the game plan with the players.

Finally, can we teach attitudes and values? When we’re coaching volleyball, we might think of teaching the physical stuff – the technical skills, how to move, etc. Now we can play the game, we might consider how to improve the way players think – tactical awareness, problem-solving, decision making, etc. Can we also coach emotional responses, feelings, and attitudes? Within your coaching practice, are players recognising and responding to feelings and emotions? More importantly, do athletes internalise important attitudes and values that lead to coordination and effort?

Before you go… some food for thought regarding group dynamics and team cohesion. Consider the participants you coach…

Have clarity and feel satisfied with their roles?

Do they feel affective? Do they contribute?

Do they feel a sense of belonging?

Are your players on the same page?




Kim, J., Panza, M., & Evans, M. B. (2021). Group dynamics in sport. In Z. Zenko & L. Jones (Eds.), Essentials of exercise and sport psychology: An open access textbook (pp. 613–642). Society for Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology.

  1. W. Eccles & K. B. Tran (2012) Getting Them on the Same Page: Strategies for Enhancing Coordination and Communication in Sports Teams, Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 3:1, 30-40,

Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon

Ingham A. G., Levinger G., Graves J., Peckham V. (1974) The Ringelmann effect: Studies of group size and group performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 10: 371–384.

Blog #2 - Coach Development

Kia ora to anyone reading. As part of my role as Coach Development Manager with Volleyball New Zealand, I have decided to share a bi-weekly post.

Personally, I have always had an interest in learning and sharing knowledge. On top of that, I see content creation and developing the profile of coaching/coach development within the volleyball community as one of my many roles and responsibilities.

So… here goes. Enjoy. Please comment, give feedback etc. This post is about making some sense and simplicity of the terms and roles that are thrown around in the coaching ecosystem!  

What is Coach Development?

Having filtered through several definitions, ‘development’ is the act or process of growing and progressing. Simply put, Coach Development is the way in which a coach improves. This can involve formal (i.e., workshops, forums) and informal (i.e., on the job experience, listening to a podcast) opportunities. Within the VNZ Coach Development Framework, it specifically highlights that the purpose of the Coach Development system is to maximise coach learning. So, when you see the term ‘Coach Development’, think ‘a collection of opportunities to assist coach learning’. It is important to highlight here that learning is complex and unique to everyone. Therefore, if you function within the volleyball community in Aotearoa, you can expect coach development opportunities to reflect that comp.

So, what is a Coach Developer and what do they do?!

There is no straightforward definition of a Coach Developer. Someone who “coaches the coaches”? A Coach Developer is essentially a people developer, skilled in providing coaches with an appropriate level of support to better their coaching. Volleyball is growing in popularity here in New Zealand. As Wayne Goldsmith highlights, this requires us to have more coaches, good coaches, and passionate coaches. Coach Developers play an important role in a formal setting (teaching, training, assessing) as well as in the way coaches are supported and nurtured on the job (mentoring, positive support). It is also important to highlight that a key responsibility of a Coach Developer is to foster self-reliance and a long-term mindset to learning within coaches. A review on effective coaching literature indicates that effective coaches tend to be more open to coach education and the ideas of others.  

So, what is a Coach Development Manager and what do they do?!

Here is where I come in. A Coach Development Manager is responsible for planning and evaluating the collection of opportunities to maximise coach learning and leading a workforce of passionate individuals who can assist with bringing the Coach Development system to life. From observation, there is a wide variety of capacity across the 15 Regional Associations under the volleyball umbrella in New Zealand. Careful consideration needs to be made regarding the level of support provided to Regional Coach Developers. In addition, it is imperative that the collection of opportunities for coaches across all levels of the volleyball landscape are accessible and innovative. Effectively, the role of a Coach Development Manager consists of creating a Coach Development system and building a community of Coach Developers.         

Thank you for taking the time to read. Please feel free to add your thoughts below 😊



Roxas, A. S., & Ridinger, L. L. (2016). Relationships of coaching behaviors to student-athlete well- being. Higher Education Politics and Economics2(1), 95–109.

Level 1 Coaching Award - Earlybird offer!

Head on over to Poirewa Aotearoa’s E-Learning Hub to enrol for the Level I Te Uru Coaching Award – Engage with Coaching Volleyball

The purpose of this course is to arm new coaches with the tools to teach the game of volleyball in a safe and effective manner.

Throughout this e-learning experience, participants will learn about how to coach the fundamental skills of the game and some tips on the art of coaching, beyond the game of volleyball.

AND, for the next 7 days (until Sunday 22 October) , there is a 30% discount code – EARLYBIRD.

Volleyball New Zealand | Poirewa Aotearoa
Oceania Volleyball
Volleyball New Zealand Inc
Sports House, Stadium Drive,
Albany, Auckland, New Zealand