Volleyball Coaches

Brent Crouch: USC’s Newest Trojan and GMS Advisory Staff Member

Brent Crouch, USC Head Coach and GMS Advisory Staff Member

USC’s Newest Trojan and GMS Advisory Staff Member 

We at Gold Medal Squared are elated for Brent Crouch in his new role as the University of Southern California Women’s Volleyball Head Coach, and GMS Advisory Staff member. Brent Crouch was first introduced to Gold Medal Squared through current GMS Director and USA Volleyball Assistant Coach, Mike Wall, but it was long-term GMS contributors and St. Mary’s College Staff (Rob Browning and Keegan Cook) who inspired Brent through Gold Medal Squared principles; and the staunch support from late GMS Founder, Carl McGown, whom propelled Crouch through his success at Portland.

“I’m so glad that Rob Browning saw the potential in Brent when he originally hired him as an assistant at St. Mary’s, bringing him into our circle here at GMS. I’ve loved being able to spend personal and professional time with Brent, and I love that our clients get to have that same experience.” Chris McGown, GMS Co-Founder and Former BYU Men’s Head Coach

Discussions regarding this relationship have been brewing for well over a year, but we at Gold Medal Squared are overjoyed that it’s finally come to fruition.

“One of my top priorities when organizing our new staff was aligning ourselves with high character people. Brent certainly fits that criteria. Furthermore, I’ve always felt that Brent’s skill set, both on the court and interpersonally would allow him to be highly successful. USC not only got a wonderful coach, but an even better human being. I suppose this means I’ll have to become a USC fan, but for Brent, it’s worth it :)” Mike Wall, GMS Director and USA Men’s Volleyball Assistant Coach

When asked why Crouch ultimately decided to join Gold Medal Squared’s Advisory Staff, he responded,

“The high quality and high character people in GMS, and their commitment to becoming the best coaches and teachers of volleyball through a commitment to evidence based research and sound principles.”  

Brent’s Background

Before he was nominated 2016 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Crouch inherited a winless Portland program, and in just two seasons, guided the Pilots to their winningest season in 25 years.

Brent Crouch also helped establish beach volleyball as a varsity sport at Portland in 2016, after assisting with the St. Mary’s College indoor program and head coaching their beach team. He not only assisted the St. Mary’s Gaels’ indoor team to a 73-40 overall record, finishing in the Top 3 in the WCC standings, and earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament in 2012; he likewise, coached the inaugural St. Mary’s beach team in 2013, guiding the Gaels to an 8-2 record (best mark among all Northern California teams.)

“Brent is one of the highest-character people that I’ve come across in coaching.  He’s incredibly dedicated to his players and works tirelessly to help them improve as athletes and as people.  Also, he is completely invested in improving his craft; is always asking smart questions, looking for unique solutions, and generally trying to become a better teacher and communicator,” says McGown.

We have no doubts that the athletes at USC and coaches attending GMS clinics will be blown away by Brent’s expertise, humility, and leadership.

Gazing into the Future with Gold Medal Squared

Gold Medal Squared believes coaches and athletes should approach the game of volleyball with set of unfailing principles which govern the game at all levels. Likewise, Brent Crouch holds a strong conviction for evidence based thinking:

Brent Crouch

Brent Crouch, Head Coach at USC

“I’d like to see GMS continue to spread its respect for evidence based thinking and principled coaching through the volleyball community, so that young coaches can not only implement solid fundamentals, principles and systems, but can become active members of the community of inquiry that is pushing volleyball to higher and higher levels of performance and execution.“ Brent Crouch, Head Coach USC, GMS Advisory Staff Member.

Brent would like to see volleyball continue to gain speed as a major televised event and pro sport in the US, and see the men’s game expand in ways analogous to the women’s college game.  

Brent Crouch’s 2 Tips for Success

Brent Crouch fervently believes quality reps matter greatly in both coaching and playing the game of volleyball. Crouch advises new coaches interested in taking their game to next level, to:

1. Volunteer in the best gyms you can.

“Coach summer camps in the best collegiate programs you can; Head coach at a high level club, and you’ll soon be interacting with college coaches across the country, gaining you valuable coaching experiences.”


2. Surround yourself with mentors that can teach you how to think about volleyball, so that you can apply principles and methods to building your own programs.

“Systems, tactics, and techniques need to be outgrowths of a process of thinking and research, capable of update and revision, and tailored to your specific team that year.  It’s not enough to know how, but you need to know why.”

To follow Brent’s success at USC, you can follow him on social media:   

Facebook:   Brent Crouch
Twitter:       @crouchvbcoach
Instagram:  @crouchingb

Gold Medal Squared welcomes you to attend a coaches’ clinic this summer. Want to meet Brent? Keep an eye on our clinic dates and locations page by clicking here: GMS Coaches Clinics 2018

Want to learn more about the new Gold Medal Squared Advisory Staff? Stay tuned for future posts later this month, or read our latest post on Courtney Thompson which we published just last month.

PARK CITY, UT: February 2018

Courtney Thompson Joins GMS Advisory Staff

Courtney Thompson Joins The GMS Advisory Staff

Gold Medal Squared (GMS) is pleased to announce their partnership with Courtney Thompson as a member of their Volleyball Advisory Staff.  Courtney Thompson is an accomplished athlete:

  1. Two-Time Olympic Medalist (2012 Silver, 2016 Bronze)
  2. 2014 World Champion
  3. 2005 NCAA National Champion

She is also one of the founders of the Give It Back Foundation, an organization that raises money for local charities; and currently works as a mindset coach with both her alma mater, the University of Washington, and Compete to Create, a culture accelerant company founded by Coach Pete Carroll and Dr. Michael Gervais.

GMS Staff Raves About Courtney Thompson Addition

“Having Courtney at our events over the past year has been an incredible treat for our attendees.  She brings humility, enthusiasm, energy, and curiosity in a way that completely connects her with the audience.  Her inclusion on our Advisory Staff ensures that we’ll get to see even more of her, and that her talents are more fully integrated into what we teach.   Every day you get to spend with Courtney is a great day, and I’m thrilled that more coaches will get direct access to her experience.” – Chris McGown, Gold Medal Squared Co-Founder

“Excited to have Courtney as a part of our staff for so many reasons. First of all, she just has this amazing energy; it’s infectious. She delivers amazing messages through her volleyball experiences, and we couldn’t have picked a better individual with more knowledge about the game to help relate to what high school and club coaches do.” – Mike Wall, USA Men’s Volleyball Assistant Coach

What Get’s Courtney Thompson Fired Up?

When asked what excites Courtney Thompson the most about her involvement with Gold Medal Squared, Thompson responded: 

“I hope that we’re empowering every kid with the tools and knowledge to be their best, so they can enjoy the pursuit of what’s possible; and the best way to do that is to empower coaches to do the same.”

Gold Medal Squared is thrilled to nurture a partnership with such an accomplished and inspiring person, and has every faith that Thompson will bring an undaunting enthusiasm to GMS, as she does in every other area of her life.

Founded in 1985, Gold Medal Squared is the worldwide leader in volleyball education and innovation.  Over 1000 programs at every level have won championships using the principles learned at Gold Medal Squared events.

Would you like to be a part of the GMS experience? Contact us at info@goldmedalsquared.com

Park City, UT January 2018

Practice Execution Means Game Reality

Volleyball Coaches – This is a great article the outlines the importance of practice planning.  Enjoy!

Original Article Written by Jonathan Clegg and Kevin Clark

Ahead of their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, the New England Patriots signed to their practice squad someone named Reggie Dunn.

Dunn is an undrafted, unheralded wide receiver. But he also is roughly the same height, weight and speed as Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had scorched the Kansas City Chiefs with 13 catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the wild-card round.

As a practice-squad Patriot, Dunn was charged with imitating Hilton, giving New England’s defense a head start. Apparently it worked: In a 43-22 win over the Colts, the Patriots held Hilton to four catches for 104 yards.

The Dunn hiring illustrates a little-known scheme that Patriots coach Bill Belichick employs for slowing down opponents: He clones them, stacking his practice squad with replicas of some of the NFL’s most dangerous players.

“I don’t know where he finds these guys,” said former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt. “Every week, they bring in someone. Same height, same speed. It’s like they practice against your twin brother.”

To prepare for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Denver against the Broncos, the Patriots in recent weeks signed to their practice squad 6-foot-3-Greg Orton, a doppelgänger for 6-foot-3 Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas.

“It’s something Bill does,” said Patriots safety Duron Harmon. “To (practice against) a guy with the same height, weight, speed, it helps a lot.”

Before the playoffs began, the Patriots prepared for a possible matchup against Kansas City by signing undrafted running back Sam McGuffie to the practice squad. At 5 foot 10 and 200 pounds, McGuffie is identical in height and weight to Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, while their 40-yard dash times are separated by just four hundredths of a second.

Belichick’s rotating-cast-of-ringers approach relies on a mostly overlooked element of NFL roster construction: the practice squad.

NFL teams are permitted to keep just 53 players on their active rosters. But they also have a practice squad of up to eight players who are eligible to participate in midweek practices, though unable to suit up for games.

Most teams use the practice squad as a means of keeping hold of competent backups who are familiar with their systems and can step in as ready-made replacements in case of injuries.

“A lot of teams just see it as eight more practice bodies,” said Russ Lande, a former NFL scout. “But the Patriots are one of the few teams that understand how to manipulate the practice squad. They’re using those guys to fill specific roles based on their opponents.”

To be sure, a long-standing NFL custom is to sign an opposing team’s former player in advance of a big game in the hope of gaining trade secrets. On Tuesday, the Broncos announced the signing of veteran defensive back Marquice Cole, whom the Patriots released last month.

Five days before their playoff game in New England, the Colts signed former Patriots receiver Deion Branch to their roster. He wasn’t activated for last weekend’s game.

League insiders say that New England’s ringer strategy reflects a broader Belichick obsession with improving the quality of team practices.

Since 2011, the league’s collective-bargaining agreement has limited the number of practices a team can hold, particularly in full pads. But within those constraints, Belichick has remained committed to practices that simulate game conditions.

By bringing in players who are the same size and speed as upcoming opponents and instructing them to run plays the coaches have identified from film study, the Patriots say they are able to get an accurate idea of how to attack or defend a specific player. The team also can try out different blitzes and coverages.

“Our big thing is taking the practice field and bringing it to the game,” said Patriots safety Kyle Arrington. “The saying here is ‘practice execution means game reality.'”

Belichick’s grand strategy is consistent with his philosophy of taking away what an opponent does best.

Lande, the former NFL scout, said that Belichick has long been known for drawing up game plans that focus on stopping his opponent’s most valuable player—usually a running back, receiver or tight end—and forcing them to put the ball in the hands of less heralded players in clutch situations.

“If they don’t have anyone on their roster that can emulate that particular player in practice, they’re going to bring somebody in for a week, or even two if it’s a big game, to give them that look,” Lande said.

Before their last playoff meeting with the Broncos following the 2011 season, the Patriots added a 6-foot-3 receiver named Britt Davis to their practice squad to simulate Thomas. In a New England victory, the Denver receiver had six catches for 93 yards.

Ahead of last season’s divisional-round matchup with the Houston Texans, the Patriots signed wide receiver Andre Holmes to their practice squad. At 6 foot 4, Holmes is less than an inch taller than Texans star Andre Johnson, and they have identical 4.40 times in the 40-yard dash. In a Patriots victory, Johnson was held to 95 yards.

The strategy is inexpensive: Practice-squad players cost as little as $6,000 a week.

Not surprisingly, “Silent Bill” declined to talk about this strategy or its origins. One theory is that Belichick happened upon this approach while facing the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. To practice defending against Rams running back Marshall Faulk, Belichick was able to lean on a replica in his own backfield: Kevin Faulk, the superstar’s cousin.

In winning that Super Bowl, the Patriots held Marshall Faulk to 76 yards rushing.

“That’s Bill for you,” said Brandt, the former Cowboys executive. “He’s ahead of the curve in about 99% of the things he does.”