Tag Archives: Joel Walton

Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

personalitytestsource

“So much of who a player is based on their personality.”
Joel Walton, Head Volleyball Coach, Ball State University

There are so many different ways to assess personality. I met a young lady a couple of days ago who said she was a North, based on her assessment. I’ve gone to seminars where I’ve been labeled a Green, a Type A, and a D. Maybe you’ve been told you’re a Lion or a Golden Retriever or even an ENTJ.

So many assessments, so little time. If you’re interested in some of the nuts and bolts of personality tests and how to use them with your team, check out some of the articles I’ve written on the topic: Why Personality Assessments Could Be The Key To Your Team’s Success, 7 Personality Traits Of Top Coaches, How Knowing Your Personality Type Will Help You Manage Your Team, and Using personality tests to increase your team chemistry.

When I talked to Joel Walton about managing personalities on his team, he had his players broken down into two different groups.

Quiet athletes. I loved what he had to say about these guys. He says coaches give quiet players confidence and comfort within a team construct. Then he said something that I know I’ve been guilty of: it would be wrong to have an expectation of a quiet player that makes them uncomfortable or puts them in an unsuccessful position. Good stuff, huh?

Vocal athletes. Walton says the best players he’s had over the years have been hard to manage. All of us coaches say we want vocal leaders, but what if they’re vocal about things we don’t agree with or appreciate? The very reason this type of athlete is successful is the very reason they’ll give you gray hairs. Everything is a contest and a chance to measure themselves against others.

Walton has been coaching long enough that I’m sure he knows all of the particulars of personality types and assessments, but I enjoyed his unique breakdown of how personalities emerge within teams and how we can manage them.

More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure
Coaches Corner: Creating Enduring Confidence Within Your Athletes
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!

Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches

DNAsource

When I first introduced Joel Walton, I told you that he’s a pretty personable guy. In the time I spent with him during the interview, I gathered that he’s a natural storyteller. Personally, I think being able to tell a good story is a vital characteristic in a coach. You can use it to motivate your team, connect your current team to a past team, or just get a laugh out of your players.

Check out these articles I’ve written on using storytelling with your teams, How To Use Storytelling To Motivate Your Team and Transforming Your Team Through Storytelling, to see if you’re ready to use this coaching tool with your team.

As I spoke with Walton, the head men’s volleyball coach at Ball State University, each story he told held another nugget of coaching wisdom…and without my asking, I saw that he’d given me another article to write. I’m not going to say that these tips are the only way to be a successful coach, but I think they’ll most certainly get you on your way.

5 secrets of good coaches

  1. Be able to tell a story.
  2. Be willing to look crazy. Walton talked about being willing to try tactics that may seem crazy to get a desired result. Every sport has norms…the way things have always been done. Can your team be successful doing things the same way everyone else does or do you have to be innovative?
  3. Be able to manage different personality types. No team is the same and no person on the team is the same so the ability to work with all kinds is pretty important.
  4. Be a teacher. Walton talked about Ball State’s history as a teacher’s college and how many of the alums who went through the program and became coaches learned teaching progressions. I don’t believe you’ve got to be an education major to teach sports, but you do need to learn how to teach skills and how people learn…it’ll make your life so much easier.
  5. Be willing to reach out. In telling me a story about working with one of his players, Walton told me that he made a point to contact the player’s high school coach to find out how he successfully connected with the player. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but of intelligence in my opinion.



So there you have it! Like I said before, there are many more things I could add to the list, but I think this is a very good starting point.

More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches
Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!

Coaches Corner: Creating Enduring Confidence Within Your Athletes

confident teamsource

“All teams are confident at the beginning of the season.”—Joel Walton

I’ve just finished up a weekend of recruiting and it’s always fun for me to watch teams in action. Whenever I’m on the road, I play a little game of guess-who’s-going-to-win-the-game. How do I decide? The team that reacts poorly to adversity is always my bet to end up on the losing side of the equation. Their lack of confidence comes across as poor body language, snipping at one another, or no communication at all.

When I spoke with Joel Walton, head men’s volleyball coach at Ball State University, I asked him about instilling confidence in his players. He said that confidence is something that good teams have…so maybe our confidence efforts should be corporate rather than individual.

Team confidence, according to Walton, is a function of the makeup of the team successes they’ve had and the length of time they’ve played together. We can’t do anything about the time our teams have been together, but we can work on those team successes in practice and get a bunch under their belt before games start.

What lack of confidence looks like:

  • Uptight. Tense, anxious, on edge, impatient, angry…those are all synonyms for “uptight”. And none of those sound like a player who will be able to perform a task well.
  • Verbal sparring between players. I’ve only experienced this a couple times in my time as a coach. Once my team reached that point, it was a “back to the drawing board” moment. My only caveat to this statement is sometimes things get heated in practice and we, as coaches, can manage the situation. If players snip at each other during a game, then you’re in trouble.
  • No communication. I don’t only mean talking, but motivating their teammates, making some sort of physical contact (high fives, fist bumps, etc.)…all of these things are missing on teams that lack confidence in their ability to execute.



I don’t know if there’s a solution to this (and I’m sure we’ve all been on the bench when things go sideways with our teams), but putting our teams in stressful situations in practice should help them learn how to deal with stress…and also how their teammates deal with it. I’m also a believer in pointing out poor behavior—whether it’s a sport or mental skill—right when it’s occurring.

More articles on confidence:
How To Cure A Slump Of Confidence
3 Keys To Unlock The Confidence That Will Lead To Your Success
How To Build Long-Lasting Confidence Within Your Team
3 Ways The Effective Leader Builds Confidence Within Each Team Member
Using The Movie Inception To Build Confidence In Your Athletes

More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches
Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!

Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure

handling pressuresource

There’s a saying in coaching that you don’t want to follow “the guy”, you want to follow the guy who follows “the guy”. Joel Walton followed a coaching legend at Ball State University and has been quite successful in his own right. I’d guess most of that success is due to his great knowledge and astute coaching ability. But some of it has to be an inner confidence he had within himself to handle the pressure of following a beloved coach. I’m sure his mindset helps him guide his team when they’re in pressure-filled situations.

When I talked to him about teaching his athletes to handle pressure, he had some pretty interesting things to say. During his time at Ball State, as a player, assistant, and now head volleyball coach, his team has enjoyed many Top-25 rankings and has played against many teams with national rankings.

How to handle the pressure of a big-time program:

  1. Recruiting. As I’ve said before, Ball State volleyball has a passionate fan and alumni base who have high expectations for the program. Walton says students choose to play at Ball State precisely because of the pressure. He recruits athletes who won’t shy away from having expectations of greatness put upon them.
  2. Focus on the process. Walton says he doesn’t talk to his team about national rankings and whatnot, but rather breaks it down into more manageable pieces for them. He’ll focus on doing well in conference because he can show the team how much easier their path will be once they get into tournament play.
  3. Enjoy the outcome. The outcome isn’t necessarily a national ranking or a conference championship, but a legitimate chance at those things. I’m sure all of us would agree that being in control of your destiny at the end of the season is a good place to be.



Those steps almost seem easy, but those of us who’ve been at this coaching game for long enough know that finding the balance of expectation, focus, and fun can be challenging. I linked a few other articles I’ve written on pressure down below. Enjoy!

More articles about handling pressure:
Keeping Your Athletes From Wilting Under Pressure
The Key To Performing Under Pressure
Teaching Our Teams To Handle Pressure

More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: Creating Enduring Confidence Within Your Athletes
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches
Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!

Coaches Corner: Joel Walton

Joel Waltonsource

Joel Walton is the head men’s volleyball coach at Ball State University. I’ve been coaching for long enough that I can count many coaches as friends…or at least acquaintances. That’s not the case with Walton, though you’d never know it from our conversation. He’s a storyteller and conversation flows easily.

The Ball State men’s volleyball program is legendary and has started the careers of countless coaches. Their collective impact on the sport is immeasurable. I knew I wanted to chat with coaches of male athletes, so this was a natural connection to make.

Walton has been the head coach for sixteen years, was the assistant coach (at the same institution) for eight years, and is also an alum. To say he knows and loves Ball State is an understatement. He’s been named conference coach of the year twice, coached six all-Americans, forty-four all-conference players, and had seven 20-win seasons.

Highlights from our discussion:

  • Helping your athletes handle pressure
  • Making your team’s confidence endure
  • Working with different personality types within the team
  • The DNA of good coaches



More from the Joel Walton series:
Coaches Corner: Joel Walton
Coaches Corner: On Handling Pressure
Coaches Corner: Creating Enduring Confidence Within Your Athletes
Coaches Corner: The DNA Of Good Coaches
Coaches Corner: Managing Various Personality Types

I’m looking forward to sharing Walton’s insights, so be sure to come on back!

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!