Author: Kristen Keller
In volleyball, a player’s mentality is just as important as his or her physicality. A team may be physically strong, but if the players are not working together mentally, it affects the team dynamic.
The club volleyball season is long, which means everyone needs to stick together. Keeping a high team morale – from the coaches to the players – is one way to make that happen.
Work toward the same goal
It’s important for coaches and players to have the same end goal for a season. While players will have personal goals, establishing team goals is essential to keeping everyone focused and on the same page.
“I think a lot of it goes to establishing a culture and expectation that everyone is working for the same thing. Having the same beliefs and the same goal is really helpful on a team. Discovering what that is early in the season has always been a main focus on every team I’ve played on.”
Sophomore outside hitter for Northwestern University (Illinois)
Get to the root of any problems
When players spend a lot of time together and everyone wants playing time, sometimes issues among teammates arise. Keeping morale high means addressing these issues immediately. Otherwise, one little problem could ruin an entire game, tournament or season.
“We try to get to the center of what’s bothering a player and figure out how we can better the situation or resolve any conflict. We keep the lines of communication open, engage the player and ask all to keep an open mind.”
Head coach of East Coast Power’s 16 Liberty team
Keep it fun
Playing at a high level – like on a club team – can cause a lot of pressure, but at the end of the day, having fun is what matters. Many athletes started playing volleyball because of their love for the sport, but if the fun disappears, his or her love of the game can, too.
“We really encourage everyone to have fun. We try to find that balance of having fun but knowing when to turn that switch. If you’re not having fun, there’s no reason to be playing volleyball anymore. You do it because you enjoy it.”
Assistant coach of Milwaukee Sting boys 17 adidas team
On a team, it is important to support the relationships each player has with coaches and other teammates. These connections help build a stronger bond within the team.
“I think the most important thing is building relationships, and it’s something we spend a lot of time on with our athletes. We meet with them before every practice and we try to build connections. So, if we have to go through times that aren’t as easy, they have these relationships to rely on and build off.”
Head volleyball coach at the University of Maryland
Cheer for one another
High energy and cheering are components many teams bring to the court. Whether they win or lose the point, the team comes together and prepares for what’s next. Keeping this energy on the court benefits the whole team, and it can be seen from the highest level of play to the lowest.
“When a point ends, my girls are supposed to cheer whether we won or lost the point. If we win the point, I really want them pushing each other up. If someone does something well, I want them to acknowledge it. If it doesn’t go well, I want them to say something constructive. Continuous communication makes a big difference.”
Club coordinator and 17 Premier head coach at Garden State Elite
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