Get Your Team To Bounce Back From A Bad Volleyball Tournament or Match

Let’s face it…. Playing poorly all day, whether it’s an important match or a big tournament weekend, takes its toll on even the most confident coaches and players.

It’s no fun to watch a meltdown happen right in front of your eyes.

Although you may not be happy with how your team performed, there are a couple of things you can do to get your team back on track.

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Using Visualization to Combat Tough Game Situations

No matter what our team’s normal skill level is, sometimes there are just games (or even full days!) where our athletes are just…. off.

It is probably worthwhile for you to dig into those reasons in an attempt to stop this situation from happening in the future. However, since it is usually a large, variable combination of things that may or may not have a possible solution, today I want to talk about what to do after you recognize this in your team!

I want to talk about visualization in volleyball, especially because it helped me when I was playing and still helps to this day. It’s likely that not EVERYONE will buy-in… And that’s ok!

But I want to make sure your athletes have the right tools in their toolkit to pull themselves out of a slump if possible.

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How To Identify Natural Leaders On Your Volleyball Team

Before your first tournament of the season, you’ll need to identify leaders on your team.

This can be a challenge because in the beginning of the season, EVERYONE is on their best behavior! Everyone hustles to shag, they’re all clapping for each other, and when you ask them to come in… they run.

But in order to find one or two players who will own the role of leader, there are a few things we as coaches can keep an eye on at practice. Noticing these characteristics early on will help you in more ways than you can count, as you’ll be able to focus attention towards guiding these players, who in turn will help steer the rest of the team for you.

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Volleyball Serving Strategies: Take Your Game To The Next Level

After your players have developed their serving accuracy, it’s time to put their skills to work!

Depending on your team’s age and skill level, there are plenty of serving strategies to consider. We’ll review a few basic strategies, plus consider a few more to get your brain muscles flexing!

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How To Create Your Own Volleyball Drill

If I had to name my top three favorite aspects of coaching volleyball, it would be:

1) Helping young players develop into volleyball athletes with confidence and self esteem;

2) Constantly being challenged to out-strategize our opponents; and

3) Creating new volleyball drills.

I guess number three, creating new drills, is BECAUSE of my top two. I like to get creative at practice and create drills specific to my team’s age, level of play, potential, strengths, and weaknesses.

There’s an ART to creating a good volleyball drill!

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10 Tips for a Great First Practice of the Season

A new volleyball season is upon us, and I’m sure many of us are heading into our first week back on the court with gusto and optimism. But there’s a lot of pressure on us all to perform at the highest level, so we all want to make sure we show up prepared!

Having gone through the whole “new season” thing QUITE a few times, here are my own personal tips for conducting a GREAT first practice of the year.

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Opinion: Two Challenges to Promoting Volleyball Programs

I’m going to venture into a space I don’t often occupy, and that is sharing my opinion on macro volleyball topics. Sure, I’ll debate what “ready position” actually means and can have a long discussion with you about substitution strategy, but those are just a part of the game!

Here I want to discuss two of the biggest challenges I believe volleyball programs face in their quest to getting more booties in the stands, and more people INTERESTED in volleyball.

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5 Ways to Honor Seniors on Senior Night

If you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you that Senior Night is a big deal. 

Traditionally the final home match of a volleyball season, Senior Night carries significance not only for your senior players, but for parents, the coaching staff, and for the rest of your program as well.

With volleyball being a fall sport in most areas in the US, this might also be on of the first times it really hits your players that they’re graduating and leaving high school life. Practically every senior night in my memory (either as a coach or as a player) involves tears.

Lots and lots of tears.

So what’s a coach to do to honor their seniors the right way? You want to make sure that they feel valued by the school and community, but let’s be real… we also have a budget to follow. Here are five ideas for you to consider if they are right for your program. Use them all, or combine them in a new way!

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Switch Up Practice Tonight: Include Your Defense in Your Offense

For many of you, the middle of the season is upon on (or fast approaching), and with that, boredom can start to set in. The number of new drills and concepts which you’re teaching your team has probably dropped, and not only is your team feeling a lack of fresh energy, but you’re feeling it too!

This part of the season is my least and most favorite. When the monotony kicks in, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do! BUT! When you finally think of a fresh take on a drill or come to practice set on pepping things up, that’s when the magic happens.

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Coaching Volleyball: A Survival Guide for Your First Season

Coaching volleyball is about MORE than just running the best drills at practice! If this is your first time coaching volleyball, start here!

When you step on the court, you’re surrounded by young athletes with TONS of potential who are ready to listen to every word you have to say. Over the course of a season you share a ton of laughs, encourage them to dip deep and overcome challenges, and watch them grow in a sport you both love.

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Is Your Team Bad at Communication? Try These 3 Techniques!

How many times have you heard these instructions at a match or tournament… “Talk!” “Call the ball!” “Communicate!” Once in a while, this is fine. But when communication seems to be a nagging issue, there’s likely a root cause that you need to address.

Let's discuss how to improve communication for your volleyball team, shall we?

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The Power of Games

When you are training a group of players to be elite athletes it can seem like spending time playing games at practice is a waste of time. What we sometimes forget as coaches is that fun is a major component of the learning process.Thinking back on my time as a player I first remember running around laughing with my teammates and playing fun games. Yes, I remember playing hard, training, and running through drills, but the most vivid memories are from when I was playing "deadfish," "the downball game," and more.

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7 Ways a Volleyball Coach Decides Playing Time

We've all been there. "Why am I sitting out?" "Why does Sarah start but I have to sub in?" "Why do I never get to serve?" These are all thoughts we probably had as players on one team or another. We usually chalked it up to Sarah being the favorite, or the coach not paying attention to us, or not knowing what they're doing... Yes, those are teenage thought patterns.

We didn't often think beyond ourselves, and our parents were (occasionally) right there with us. As a child, my dad was my coach for a lot of my teams, so I usually got to hear him talk through all of the possible game-day scenarios he could think of, and what he would do in each instance.

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2 Hour Practice Plan Template

Busy coaches often find themselves heading to the gym without a practice plan. Yes, some of us can get by without a plan, but is that all you want? Just to get by? Take 15 minutes on your lunch break or just before you leave and come up with a plan! Heading to practice with a plan will give you confidence in the skills you're teaching your players. Not only will you run an organized practice, the parents will see that you've shown up prepared and they will place more trust in your coaching abilities. 

A planned practice will make sure you are not wasting time between drills thinking of what drill to do next. No, practices do not have to be creative, but some thought into the drill progression definitely helps!

That's why I created a template for coaches to follow! This will give a quick prompt about the types of drills to run, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks.

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End of Season Party Ideas

Wait... it’s over already!? It is amazing how quickly a volleyball season ends! One minute, you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how you could POSSIBLY have 2 more months left (or the 2-3 week range for high school) and the next minute, you’re giving your final “good game” and facing a group of parents wanting details on the end of season party. What do you do?

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Volleyball Tournament Essentials

Tournament days can be looooong days. Whether you'll be in the gym from 7:00am to 7:00pm, or if you're only going to half-day tournaments, the time spent under the fluorescent lighting found in big warehouse gyms can take its toll on you.

As a coach, there are a few volleyball tournament essentials that, if forgotten, will definitely ruin your day. And even though it seems like a no-brainer to pack a water bottle, I can't tell you the number of times I've had to pay for overpriced water because I left my personal one at home (usually on the coffee table right next to the front door, of course).

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Team Rules: A Free Printable for Your Club Team

Team rules can make or break a season. There are two important factors in whether or not team rules make an impact on your team:

1) Everyone has to know the rules, and

2) You have to enforce them. While I can only encourage you to hold your players accountable and cheer you on for sticking to your guns, I CAN provide you with a list of broadly applicable team rules which any coach can implement.

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The 3 C's Drill: Communication, Coverage, and Celebration

Is your team struggling to communicate, cover, or celebrate? Read how I run the 3 C's Drill (presented by Judy Green, video in article) and try it out for yourself! It seriously impacted my girls and we have been a different team ever since!

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Teach Your Volleyball Team to "Get the Pancake"

I realized something this weekend; I have not written a post which discusses my blog's namesake! So without further ado, here is how to teach your players to pancake a volleyball!

A pancake is one of the greatest game-changing moves which can be found in the sport of volleyball. When a team is able to execute this skill properly, a great deal of excitement is usually generated. Especially if you are able to sideout or win the point, your team's energy will spike, guaranteed!

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