SI PRO employee Sebastian Auer is a voluntary volleyball trainer.

Sebastian, how did you get involved in volleyball?

I enjoyed playing volleyball in my early youth and had been an active member of the DJK Hockenheim team for a long time. Positive experiences with former trainers as well as my communication and organizational skills meant that I always imagined becoming a trainer early on. At the end of 2017, we had real problems finding a trainer for my home team, so I seized the opportunity and initially spent a year as a youth coach. I had some good results with the younger age groups and the incentive to bring more tactical elements into the game led me to take over the second ladies’ team at the start of 2019.


What experience have you gained?

In terms of teaching new volleyball techniques, and motion sequences, I’ve determined for example that although a generally-valid approach in the form of theoretical instructions, standard exercises, and “mnemonics” is important especially for young players, the key to successful coaching lies in being observant and identifying the individual unique features of the individual players. These special features, which can be technical imperfections or even specific movement patterns from previously practiced sports such as gymnastics or tennis, have to be addressed during the training planning and tackled with specific basic exercises with a high number of repetitions. Apart from a tactical and methodical understanding, I’ve also gained lots of experience in terms of team spirit. After a turbulent first season, which was a time of radical change, I contributed towards building an ambitious team that wanted to get promoted and had the ability to do so. Accordingly, I'm rather optimistic about my forthcoming time as a trainer and am looking forward to accompanying the players as they progress.


What’s next?

Unfortunately, due to increasing Coronavirus infection rates, matches have been put on hold indefinitely. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important, especially in these difficult times, to keep fit and to promote team spirit.  That’s why we are holding regular online sessions where we go through strength, stamina, and coordination sessions together.


What insight have you gained that you can apply to your consulting work?

In many respects, my activities as a volleyball trainer have contributed towards my personal development, and provided me with valuable knowledge for my job. In addition to developing my knowledge methodically in terms of training planning and match preparation, I've been able to further develop my empathetic leadership behavior as well as my creativity. Accordingly, I’ve learned how to empathize better with people, and to look for solutions that support players with becoming more technically adapt and acquiring better motion sequences. Volleyball is also a true team sport. I believe that teamwork is more important in volleyball than in any other sport. It’s about the whole team pulling together and getting all players on board. At the same time, these points are fundamental for working successfully in projects. The saying “The team is only as strong as its weakest member” is true, since mistakes are an essential part of volleyball, and their sources are consequently identified as quickly as possible during the game. Whoever succeeds in working together better as a team, and leaving themselves less open to attack than their opponents will, in all probability, turn out to be the winner.


Thank you for speaking to us.