Billy Ketch Allen

A Mostly Volleyball Blog


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CYBO – Team Culture with Hugh McCutcheon

First guest post! My volleyball nemesis and fellow Coach Your Brains Out host John Mayer writes about our interview with the great Hugh McCutcheon. Enjoy!

Team Culture with Hugh McCutcheon

by John Mayer

In the year 2005 I was a part of the Pepperdine National Championship winning team. About a week after we won our championship over UCLA I got a call from the men’s national team coach, Hugh McCutcheon. He asked me if I was interested in going to Colorado Springs to train as a libero with the team. I was honored that he even considered me but after some thought I decided to stay in California and pursue my dream of competing on the AVP. For the next few years I went on lose a bunch of matches, get dumped by partners, and eventually become a “main draw player.” Hugh on the other hand went on to lead the men to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. As the grail knight in Indiana Jones would say, “You did not choose wisely.” Continue reading


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CYBO – Successful Partnerships with Peter Haberl

On this episode of Coach Your Brains Out, Dr. Peter Haberl talks about an extensive study on Olympic beach volleyball partnerships and what makes a team successful over the long-term.

Dr. Haberl works as a sports psychologist for USA Volleyball and I’ve met with him a few times this off-season to talk about my own new partnership. One of the big takeaways from our interview is the idea of having a shared team philosophy and the communication of those values.

“You don’t need to have the same personality…but what you need to share is a common philosophy and a common motivation.”

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CYBO P-Rod Paul Rodriguez – Part 2

The Talent Code Author Daniel Coyle talks about skateparks as the ultimate learning environments:

“For flexible skills…the practice space should resemble a really fun skateboard park: lots of self-directed action at an endless variety of obstacles where you make lots of errors and learn a little something from each of them. Most flexible skills ideally don’t require a coach, but rather an addictive space to ‘play.'”

What would a volleyball practice look like if it was designed more like a skatepark? Instead of repeating a regimen of drills, players are encouraged to freely experiment within the game. Would it increase skill development? Innovation? Fun? Continue reading


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CYBO P-Rod Paul Rodriguez – Part 1

Coach Your Brains Out is a volleyball heavy podcast so it’s great when we can get out of the world of bump set spike and hear from coaches and athletes in other sports. There are always lessons to be gleaned from anyone working to master their craft and handling pressure. It can also teach us to look at our sport in new ways.

This interview is with professional skateboarder, Paul Rodriguez. P-Rod has accomplished so much in the world of skateboarding including eight X Games medals and continues to push himself toward new challenges. Continue reading


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Partnerships

A friend of mine, we’ll call him AJ, was riding home with his beach partner from a disappointing tournament in San Diego when his phone vibrated. It was a text message from a higher ranked player asking to play in the next tournament. AJ texted “Let’s do it!” and then told his now ex-partner, the driver, that he would be playing the next tournament with someone else.

The car pulled off the 405 freeway and AJ was told, “Get out of my car.”

AJ had to call his wife for a ride the rest of the way home.

I’ve had a lot of partnerships over my career and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. None were left on non-speaking terms or found me stranded on the 405. Continue reading


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The Frugal Spiker

Starting out in this game is tough. Paying your way across the country to play single-elimination qualifiers in the hopes of earning enough points to one day make it straight into the main draw. It can be a big gut check to bet money on yourself, but it’s necessary. The ones who make it work, grinding through qualifier after qualifier, have at least one of these qualities: skill, money, or frugality.

Olympics Day 14 - Beach Volleyball

SKILL – The best strategy is to be better than everyone else. But because of the deep level of competition in the qualifier, it’s rare to see someone stroll to the top ranks unscathed. Even NCAA Players of the Year like Brad Keenan and Taylor Crabb fell in their first qualifier attempts. This year saw Olympians of both genders fail to qualify. But if you’re good enough you will qualify and earn a spot in the main draw. Or get picked up by a partner with enough points to carry you there. Continue reading


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Kinda Good History – Part 2

Part The Second, in which our hero Danny Kinda plyo-jumps over college, taking his talents straight to the National Team.

Danny Kinda received a lot of interest in his recruiting video and even took a tour of the UCLA campus to meet with legendary volleyball coach, Al Scates. But Danny didn’t think college was enough of a challenge so he broke in visited a National Team practice in Anaheim, California. Although the players had some raw talent, there was a lot they still had to learn about the game. So, in order to win a gold medal in the coming Olympics, Danny Kinda took on a player/coach role, teaching Team USA some volleyball basics…

Sorry, got caught up in the story again. Sometimes, it feels like Danny Kinda is writing this. This blog series is supposed to explain what really happened, so here we go.

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