While a few of you are just now wrapping up your season (hello, Nationals!), many of us are enjoying our summer break from coaching, either by simply relaxing, watching the AVP tour, or playing in summer volleyball leagues for some much-needed me time. But as we all know, this break ends sooner than we expect, and open gyms and tryouts will soon be upon us! Even though I know you are probably enjoying your break from the gym, the excitement of a new season is sure to hit you soon. So while you're daydreaming about a fresh start, here are a few tips to save for August.
Most of these qualities go against what we have been conditioned to look for in a player, or are easy to overlook if not focused on picking up on these subtleties. Before you finalize your roster, check for these five qualities in the players who were on the fence.
1. Demonstrated Work Ethic
If you can see they've been working out all summer, or know that they've been playing in tournaments, give them a bump up in your rankings. Not only do they love the game, they're working hard to get better. You want this energy on your team.
Counter-intuitive to the teamwork ideal which is always encouraged? Sure. But if you can see that a player isn't just there because her best friend is trying out, you know you've got a real gamer on your hands. She needs to be capable of getting along with the team, but you're likely to find a leader in the individual who is there for herself.
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Imagine that you're running your basic hitting lines. We've all seen the build-up of five players running to wait in the outside line, while two players circulate through the middle, and your only lefty is enjoying a free pass as the only opposite hitter. Players can get stuck in their ways, and even be stubborn bout position at times. If you see an outside joining other lines now and then to get a few more hits, you'll know that they're comfortable hitting from different areas. This player will help your team more than the middle who refuses to hit anywhere else.
4. Front and Center
This is one way to determine who is coachable and will carry out your instructions without complaint. Who is always standing right in front of you when you're addressing the group? Who, as soon as a water break is announced, is running to get water so they can get back right away? First on the line to begin warm-ups? This can go unnoticed, but if you make a conscious effort to watch the girls, you'll find there are always two to three who will be rushing to get things done.
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Not during play, of course. You want players who will call the ball and communicate with one another on the court. But it is easy to overlook the quiet player who is listening and following instructions due to the four or five players who are constantly talking.
Quiet players make great teammates, and are usually comfortable following instructions from their coach, as well as directions from a team captain. When evaluating your roster, check that you didn't overlook someone whose skill is at the right level, but who just didn't make enough noise to get noticed at tryouts.
These five qualities are sure to help you finalize your team roster. Volleyball tryouts can be fast-paced and overwhelming, even for experienced coaches. Take a minute to consider if there were any players who didn't stand out during tryouts, despite their skills being at an appropriate level for you team. Great team aren't made from a group of superstars; you need balance to achieve a winning group. These qualities will help you get closer to that balance.
Pancakers: What other qualities are important to you when deciding who is or isn't on the team?