Discover the practice drills and teaching methods of 5x ACC Coach of the Year, Joe Sagula!
- Learn various ways to morph serve receive drills that will give you more opportunities to address your players' technical skills
- Optimize ball control through competitive breakdown drills that feature game-like situations
- Build your team culture and communication skills to help players become a more cohesive unit
with Joe Sagula,
University of North Carolina Head Coach;
2016 ACC Coach of the Year,
5x ACC Coach of the Year;
7x ACC Champions;
4x AVCA Regional Coach of the Year
Joe Sagula's work at North Carolina over the better part of three decades has been a model of consistency. He's led the Tar Heels to seven regular season ACC championships and also captured three ACC tournament titles.
This All Access video provides you with a look inside three UNC volleyball practices as Coach Sagula and his staff give technique instruction to athletes while running many of their favorite drills. Sagula's high standards are apparent throughout as he challenges his players to reset their focus and up their skills to championship levels.
Using a progression morphed into team serve-receive, Sagula allows his athletes to gain a better understanding of how to handle the toughest serves. The drills presented in this session will help break down the serve-receive, improve tracking of the serve, and alleviate stress that is constantly placed on the passers.
Ever have your team get to 23 points but not 'finish' and win the game? In Sagula's game of Slip and Slide, your players will learn how to focus on finishing when the team gets to 23, while providing consequences when the players don't reach their goal.
Sagula does a great job of monitoring his athletes and delegating to his assistant coaches as his team runs through drills on multiple courts. The athletes are in constant movement, which helps keep them productive. Team drills such as 5v4 are conducted where the ball control techniques are emphasized and evaluated.
For the afternoon session, Coach Sagula begins with team cross-court pepper progressions. This drill can stress out players mentally, which actually teaches them to use better/faster coping skills.
You'll see the Tar Heels work through their process of over-the-net ball warm-ups with emphasis on ball control. Sagula doesn't accept sloppiness and constantly corrects players to raise the bar on the quality of each practice.
In the 1st Team to 5 game, players compete 4v4 and everyone rotates in the up-tempo mini games. Your athletes will get reps in front and back row offense and defense. Since players move to the individual skills court when not competing, the teams get smaller as they work to get to 5 points. When a team gets to 5, then the other players working on individual skills come back to the court to participate.
The rest of the session involves team play with rotations, which is helpful because you can see how personnel works well in particular rotations.
In the final session, the focus is putting individual skills and team play together to refine offensive and defensive systems. After a quick talk, the team jumps straight into a 2v2 over-the-net warm-up before progressing to competitive games. Some of Sagula's games include:
- 3x3 Pass + Run
- 4x4 Back Row Attack
- 5x5 Setter, Front Row, and Middle Blocker
You'll also see other half court drills that are useful to create defensive situations for teaching players how to read/react based on how blocks are set-up or how attacks ricochet off the blocker's hands or arms.
As the team drills evolve to 6v6 scrimmages, Sagula takes time out to remind players to keep focus, stay sharp, and finish stronger. He provides information on how to read the opponent and how to score with a purpose.
This video gives you a unique perspective on how Coach Sagula interacts, instructs, and corrects his players at daily practices. It's also a terrific look into how he reinforces a healthy dose of competitiveness into the fabric of his team culture every season. Sagula isn't afraid to stop a drill and get players to refocus when he feels that the team is losing the purpose of the drill. If you want to see ho