SMASH: Player Motivation




•       Accept it. Make it a habit.
•       You develop good habits in practice.
•       Don’t settle for being average.

•       Understand the game.
•       Think quickly on your feet. Make good decisions.
•       Outsmart the opponent.
•       Have poise under pressure.

•       Give to other people. Selfish teams self-destruct.
•       Understand you need each other.

•       Believe in yourself. Play with confidence.
•       Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Avoid dwelling on   
•       Talk positive.

•       Accept criticism. Don’t take it personally.
•       Commit to the team’s philosophy.
•       Follow instructions. Execute the game plan.
•       Talk to your coaches, not about them.
•       Communication takes two people.
•       Learn to separate the person from the student and from the athlete.

•       Lead by example all the time.
•       Do what is best for the team.
•       Give to other people. You must give in order to receive.
•       Respect and respond to your leaders. Everyone will have a role … accept yours.

•       Be the team in control – set the tempo.
•       Disrupt their offense with your defense.
•       Control the net.
•       Make smart hits.

•       Be a good practice player.
•       Keep your focus and concentration.
•       Be mentally ready for each practice and each match.

•       Work hard in school.
•       Be at all workouts and team functions.
•       Plan ahead and talk to your teachers & coaches if your schedule gets too full. Mature people are responsible people. Be responsible for your game.

•       To your teammates and coaching staff.
•       Moody people are rude and disrespectful. Your actions are a reflection of your team and school.
•       Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

3.       BE HONEST
•       Can the coaching staff and your teammates trust you? Always tell the truth.
•       Do you know right from wrong? Do what is right.

4.       BE LOYAL
•       Never talk about your teammates behind their backs. Backstabbing will kill us.
•       Keep team problems and issues within the team.
•       Be willing to confront issues.

Enthusiasm is What Coaches Like!
The Words You'll Never Hear a Coach Say
You can spend years and years in the gym, and chances are you'll never hear a coach criticize a player for having too much enthusiasm. Coaches love players with enthusiasm! And players with enthusiasm, no matter what their level of talent, usually find a way to make a difference on a team.

Here are some easy ways to express enthusiasm, and to be the kind of player every team wants and needs:

1. Be the first one in the gym. Good things happen to those who arrive early. There's a chance you'll get some individualized instruction. At the very least, you won't be hurrying around, trying to catch up. No matter what happens, you've shown that you care.

2. Hustle when the coach calls everyone in. Gym time is precious and expensive. More importantly, hustling shows a winning tempo. By hustling in, you're sending off positive energy. Those who mope in drag the team down. Which kind of player would you rather be?

3. Look at the coach when he or she speaks. By doing that, you are sending a message that you consider the comments to be important. Everyone likes an appreciative audience; your coach is no different. Eye contact also shows that you have the character to look someone in the eye.

4. Be a champion ball-shagger. From the moment you enter the gym to the time the door closes behind you, do everything on a championship level. If there's a spill, be a champion floor-wiper! If it's time to shag, be a leader in that category. Players who sit back and say, "I've already done my share" are only diminishing themselves. Why judge yourself on what other people do? Remember, winners ask, "How can I help?" Losers say, "It's not my job."

Notice that not a single one of these qualities has anything to do with ability. They are all purely mental. They deal with attitude and desire.

Anyone can show enthusiasm. So go do it today! One thing's for sure -- your coach will never criticize you for it!

This article is from Mike Tully who is a coach with "Yes, I Can!" volleyball. This came from an ETEAMZ tip.

Are You Getting to Play?
If you are not getting to play in games as much as you think you should, ask yourself:

1. Have I asked the coach what I need to improve? Do I practice on my own? Have I read and studied the game?
2. Do I get along well with others so that they play well with me? Can I accept criticism and suggestions from them and the coach?
3. How is my physical condition?
4. Mental Attitude! Do I let down if I make a mistake or do I try even harder? (Don’t be so concerned with the mistake that you make two more while you’re still thinking about it).
5. Have I been to all the practices? Do I fully understand the offense and defense we run?
6. How effective am I on the bench? A coach may be reluctant to send a sullen player into a game.

preview Rocky

“How Do YOU Spell Responsibility?”
-By Dr. Alan Goldberg

When I talk with teams and groups, one of the
concepts that I regularly “sell” is the idea of
“IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME.” My friend and
colleague, Dr. Rob Gilbert calls those words, the
ten most important 2-letter words in the English
language. These ten words spell, RESPONSIBILITY.
They mean quite simply that if you have a dream
or goal for yourself, if you have something in your
life that you truly want to achieve, then your
success in turning that dream into a reality rests
squarely upon your shoulders. Simply put, regardless
of the promises to the contrary, no one is going to
do what needs to be done FOR you. It is entirely
up to you. While coaches, teammates, parents,
teachers and others in your life may provide
valuable support and help, YOU and only YOU have
total responsibility for your ultimate success.
That’s because sports and life are both
do-it-yourself games, i.e. you put in the effort,
good or bad, and you reap the results, positive
or negative.

In my book, winners do the responsibility thing
very well. They take responsibility for their training.
They don’t cut corners or cheat on their commitment
and effort, regardless of what those around them may
be doing or whether the coaches are watching or not.
They know that looking for the easy way out is a
losing game that will never take you to the
winner’s circle or your dreams.

Winners take responsibility for their mistakes and
failures. When a winner fails, she doesn’t look
around the field for someone else to blame, even
when others may be partially responsible. The refs
may have indeed been biased and blind, the opponents
may have repeatedly crossed the line and the playing
conditions could have been a joke. Regardless, a
winner is only interested in what she could have
been better at or done differently. She owns up
to her mistakes and shortcomings. She doesn’t
deny, defend against or try to cover them over.
She’s not afraid to take a good honest look at
herself in the mirror.

A winner also takes responsibility for how she treats
her teammates and those that she comes in contact
with on a daily basis. She treats these individuals
with respect and honesty, in much the same way that
she would expect to be treated. A winner knows
that without her teammates, she is all alone.

In all the important ways a winner takes
responsibility for his behavior.

What does this really mean? A real winner would
never put himself in a situation where he would allow
himself to just go along with teammates or others
when those individuals were acting inappropriately or
dishonestly. A real winner would summon up the
courage to speak up and disagree, even if it meant
offending the powerful and popular on the team. He
would carry himself with dignity and integrity.
He would be direct and honest. He wouldn’t allow
himself to be led like a mindless lemming over the
cliff into bad behavior and irresponsibility. That’s
because a true winner has a clearly defined code of
conduct in his head. He knows the difference between
right and wrong, caring and uncaring, sensitive
and insensitive and acts accordingly. He doesn’t
compromise his values or ethics just to fit in,
be accepted or to win.

One aspect of personal responsibility I’d like to
emphasize in this section is the impact that a true
winner has on his teammates and those around him. A
true winner takes it upon himself to make those around
him better, personally and athletically. He is not
selfish. He is not caught up in the myth that he
is THE MAN, that he is God’s gift to creation. He
is not a walking EGO! Regardless of the attention
that the media and coaches may pay him, he keeps
his feet firmly planted on the ground and his
head out of the clouds. He is NOT blindly
impressed with himself. He knows that being a
good athlete carries with it tremendous
responsibility, not the least of which is to make
those around him better, and NOT just in the
athletic arena!

Athletes who think that because of their athletic
prowess and skills, they are superior, more valuable
human beings than teammates or non-athletes, live in
a twisted fantasy world. This is the world of the
spoiled, immature child who desperately needs to grow up.
Their sense of entitlement is not too different
than that of the obnoxious 5-year old who’s
selfishly full of himself. Unfortunately, far too
many talented athletes inhabit this world of the
spoiled brat. Apparently these “children” never
emotionally graduated from kindergarten.

The truly great athlete is a mature, continually
evolving individual who has a “black belt”
mentality. In traditional karate training, (not
the Americanized, ego-fed, macho “b.s.” version
that is found in a lot of karate do jo’s in this
country) your personal responsibility always
increases with your skill level.

The better you get, the more responsibility you
have to bring all those students that are below you
up to your level. There is no room for individual
ego in this training model. There is no room for you
thinking that you are “too cool.” In fact, it is
not about YOU or your strength and skill level.
It is, instead about the group’s strength and
skill level. Like all black belts in my school,
it was always my duty to warm up with the white
belts before class, and, if time permitted, to
help them out after class. My Sensei had little
tolerance for black belts hanging out together on
deck to the exclusion of the lower ranking
students. He believed this cliquish behavior
would weaken the overall strength of the group
and undermine the character and warrior spirit of
the individual black belts. He saw the inflated
ego as a sign of character weakness. I would
strongly agree with him.

What would happen to you if you adopted this
“black belt” mentality? What would happen to your
team? How much better would you perform if you and
your mates invested your time and energy into lifting
each other up instead of trying to knock each
other down? What would happen if everyone decided
to check their egos at the locker room door?

Understand that it is simply NOT cool to act
conceited as an athlete or person. It is NOT cool
to think that you are somehow better, more
valuable, more deserving than your teammates. It
is a HUGE turn-off to others. While it may be
perfectly fine for you to feel supremely
confidence inside, it is flat out tacky for you
to broadcast this belief that you’re the
“doggie’s woof” to all those within earshot.
Athletes who do so, unknowingly embarrass
themselves and broadcast to the world how they
REALLY feel inside. The entitled, conceited
athlete who goes out of his way to put others
down while he lifts himself up is indirectly
revealing deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Why
else would he do this if he really felt ok about

Keep in mind that just because you are a great
athlete and unbelievably valuable to your
team, this doesn’t automatically make you a great
person. Being a great person is something that
you have to earn, something that you have to
live, every day, day in, and day out. In fact,
being great has very little to do with your
athletic ability. The truly great athlete
commands respect, not because of his athletic
prowess, but because of who he is as a person.

If you pick on or put down those weaker than you,
if you demean women and treat them as sexual
objects, if you think that team and school rules
apply to everyone else but you, if you expect
that your teachers and professors should “adjust”
their standards for you, if you’re morally
corrupt as a person, then you are nothing more
than an immature weakling. Despite the fact that
you may be a legend in your own mind, you are
really just kidding yourself and sooner or later
the jig will be up. Sooner or later WHO you
REALLY are as a person will catch up to you and
bring you down.

Remember, in time, all of your great athletic
feats and exploits will gradually fade from the
eyes and minds of your adoring fans. When this
happens, all that you will be left with is YOU.
Think about the all-time Major League hits leader,
Pete Rose. Banned from his sport for life for
betting against his own team when he was a manager
of the Cincinnati Reds, a cardinal “no-no” in
baseball, Rose’s less than savory behaviors as a
person seem to have eclipsed his potential Hall of
Fame career. It isn’t even Rose’s illegal gambling
that stands out as much as his public denials
(bald-faced lying) of his wrongdoings and refusal
to honestly take responsibility for his mistakes.
Unfortunately our last president left us feeling
much the same way when he lied to his wife, the
government and the nation about his adultery. I
can’t think about President Clinton without
getting stuck on his dishonesty. I feel the same
way about former Boston Celtic’s star center
Robert Parish whose wife-battering charges
surfaced towards the end of his playing career.
When I see Parish’s image my mind immediately
moves away from all those championship teams that
he was a part of and locks on his violence-against
-women behavior.

Do you have the strength to be a true winner? Do
you have the courage to take responsibility for
your behavior, speak out against what’s wrong and
be a champion for what’s right? Keep in mind that
you can never separate athletic performance from
who you are as a person. Be a winner. Make a
difference on your team. Be a leader and role model.
Make those around you better. Build your teammates up.
Take responsibility for yourself. In this way you have
GAIN. In this way you will become a real champion!

-Excerpted from:
MARCH/APRIL 2004 VOL 6, #3&4
Dr. Alan Goldberg

Al Pacino's Inch By Inch Speech from Any Given Sunday
The National champion U of C Dino's women's team constantly listened to this motivational speech during the course of their championship season. This pre-game speech is about how football (or any sport) is a "game of inches" and how each player needs to find each of those inches that are all around us in order to succeed. This speech became the Dino's commitment to one another to fight, scratch and claw for each and every point and each and every ball, in training and in competition. Two weeks after capturing the national title, the Dinos had one final team meeting and the players decided to have "inch by inch" engraved on their championship rings!!

"Inch by Inch Speech"

I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
we can stay here
and get the crap kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I wasted all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?

Motivational Quotes
Quotes for Teamwork

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." Andrew Carnegie

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." Henry Ford

"The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual."
Vince Lombardi

"The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side." Margaret Carty

"When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when you team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing." Bo Schembechler

"Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds." SEAL Team saying

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."
Babe Ruth

"If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team." Bud Wilkinson

"People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them."
Dr. Allan Fromme

"When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself." Tibetan Proverb

"Even eagles need a push." David McNally

Quotes about Winning

"I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." Aristotle

"Winning is everything, to win is all there is. Only those poor souls buried beneath the battlefield understand this." SEAL Team Saving

"All right Mister, let me tell you what winning means… you're willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else." Vince Lombardi

"Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is." Zig Ziglar

"The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them."
Denis Waitley

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." Bertie C. Forbes

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."
Roger Bannister

"You can't be a winner and be afraid to lose." Charles Lynch

"Those that know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories." Polybius

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas Paine

"Guts are a combination of confidence, courage, conviction, strength of character, stick-to-itiveness, pugnaciousness, backbone, and intestinal fortitude. They are mandatory for anyone who wants to get to and stay at the top." D.A. Benton

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even." Muhammad Ali

"The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell." Andrew Carnegie

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong." Abraham Lincoln

"Never let defeat have the last word." Tibetan Proverb

"There is no victory at bargain basement prices." Dwight David Eisenhower

"There are many victories worse than a defeat." George Eliot

"Your ability to be a winner 100 percent of the time is based upon giving up the notion that losing at anything is equivalent to being a loser." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." Vince Lombardi

"The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn't hear the referee."
H. E. Jansen

"Nobody remembers who came in second." Charles Schulz

Quotes about Determination

"The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur." Vince Lombardi

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."
Tommy Lasorda

"Nothing great will ever be achieved without great mean, and men are great only if they are determined to be so." Charles De Gaulle

"If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance." Samuel Johnson

"What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it." Alexander Graham Bell

"I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" Bible

"Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose."
Benjamin Disraeli

"The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between the great and the insignificant, its energy - invincible determination - a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory." Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

"You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can." Jimmy Carter

"We will either find a way, or make one!" Hannibal

"A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop." Robert Hughes

"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory." Ghandi

"Bear in mind, if you are going to amount to anything, that your success does not depend upon the brilliancy and the impetuosity with which you take hold, but upon the ever lasting and sanctified buldoggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold." Dr. A. B. Meldrum

"A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough."
John Christian Bovee

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." Vince Lombardi

"It takes a little courage, and a little self-control. And some grim determination, If you want to reach the goal. It takes a great deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin. No matter what the battle, if you really want to win, there's no easy path to glory. There is no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game; But its prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit; For a rugged disposition that will not quit." Navy SEAL Masterchief

"The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck." Channing Pollock

"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it - but all that had gone before." Jacob Riis

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." Michael Jordon

Quotes about Attitude

"Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars." Frederick Langbridge

"Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you thing about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are." Norman Vincent Peale

"The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind." Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

"To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost." Robert H. Schuller

"If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad." Denis Waitley

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." Lou Holtz

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Buddha

"The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity." Winston Churchill

"Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force." Tom Blandi

"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change."
Earl Nightingale

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine de Exupery

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." William James

"I am convinced that attitude is the key to success or failure in almost any of life's endeavors. Your attitude-your perspective, your outlook, how you feel about yourself, how you feel about other people-determines you priorities, your actions, your values. Your attitude determines how you interact with other people and how you interact with yourself." Carolyn Warner

"Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them chiefly by their attitudes."
Charles Prestwich Scott

"Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill." Charles Swindoll

"I won't accept anything less than the best a player's capable of doing...and he has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team!" Lou Holtz

"I am a lucky man." Christopher Reeve

"I believe life is to be lived, not worked, enjoyed, not agonized, loved, not hated." Leland Bartlett

"Happiness is not by chance, but by choice." Jim Rohn

"Live with passion." Anthony Robbins

A Brief Look @ an Elite Athlete
Just a little insight for all you aspiring volleyball players...Characteristics of Elite Volleyball Athletes

USA Volleyball's High Performance Program

What are we looking for in National Level Volleyball Athletes?
Listed below is a general discussion, including examples, of the characteristics we are looking for (and hope to develop) in National Level Volleyball Athletes. These characterizations are not an exact science and their application may mean different things to different age groups, types of players and positions.

1) Athleticism - The best volleyball athletes are "dynamic." This is a word we use to describe athletes who have a mix of core strength, quickness, flexibility and power that allows them to play the game with speed and control. Dynamic players usually have strong quadriceps muscles and are very flexible in the hips and groin. They can move among their various responsibilities on the court very quickly, even in a low, "athletic position." They also can effectively/efficiently use their torso and arms in their jump, attack and other skills. They play as well in the air as they do on the floor.

Quickness and speed are composed of a number of physical components that can be developed and improved if an athlete is willing to train very hard in the practice gym and in the weight room. Another important component of quickness is the trained "reading" of the play and the knowledge of what to do in response to the things that you read. This ability mostly comes from playing the game and understanding system-specific, and position-specific, responsibilities on the court.

Part of being able to move fast is an understanding of balance, body control and the ability to stop quickly. An athlete can only move as quickly as he/she can stop, and perform a skill when the ball arrives. Top coaches like fast jumpers and fast reacters. However, even if you aren't naturally a "fast-twitch" athlete, you can achieve the "stability component of speed" by having strong quadriceps muscles and core muscles (abs and lower back), flexible hips and groin, and supple ankles/feet.

You can test yourself on balance/speed very easily. Stand in a ready, athletic position and imagine yourself in the center of a 10-12 feet diameter clock. Have your partner call out random numbers from 1-12, and you immediately make a 3 or 4 step move (approximately 5 or 6 feet) to that position on the clock, ending up in a ready, athletic position able to play the ball. In which directions are you the slowest? Do your feet get tangled up in any directions? Does your center of gravity go up and down during the 3-4 steps or do you maintain a straight line with balance? Are any problems you encounter due to your original foot position/balance, or are they a result of an inefficient first step?

Please see below #4 Confidence and Leadership and #7 Vision, because both of these are important elements of improving your quickness and your response to things that occur on the volleyball court. To become more athletic and dynamic, you have to force yourself to step out of your "comfort zone" and see/respond confidently, dynamically and efficiently. Think of every skill originating in your center of gravity and power - your hips.

2) Technique - For young athletes, coaches don't care whether you execute a play perfectly every time. They are more concerned about whether you have any major flaws in your technique that they would have to change and correct. If your technique is sound, you can't help but improve when placed in a high-level training environment.

This concern is most important with passing platform and arm swing. With regards to passing, we like to see strong arms, with supple shoulders. This is not an easy thing to achieve, because at the same time you have to have the flexibility to react to a moving float serve and the strength to manage a high-speed spike. And for both of these, you need to be able to control the ball for an instant and to then put it where it needs to go.

One thing we like to see is athletes who can track the trajectory of the ball very early and who can continue to track it as they move quickly and efficiently to that location on the court - while at the appropriate time preparing their platform for the pass. You don't want to get your platform ready too early, because that makes it difficult to move quickly to the ball; but you must have it ready early enough so that pass does not end up as the end of a jabbing motion at the ball.

The arm swing technique is one of the most important factors in determining whether a player can reach the National Level. Any player who wants to be an elite volleyball athlete should work on strengthening and stretching their shoulder, and developing an efficient and powerful arm swing.

One key issue relating to an athlete's armswing is his or her ability to transition their arm(s) quickly/efficiently from their role in assisting the jump to the role of executing the attack. A second key issue is the ability to generate arm speed power for the spike at a high arm position, at the peak of the jump. These two issues are closely related, and they also are both largely a result of a player's core strength and upper back strength. During the approach and attack, athletes should focus more on the roles and positions of their hips and elbows, rather than on their shoulders and hands.

3) Strength - Size is important, but a lot of people think that we are only looking for big, tall players for our National Programs. That is not true, because the key thing is not how big you are … it's how big you play. One of the top-rated players on the 2001 and 2002 Womens Junior National Teams (and not a libero) is approximately 5' 7". This athlete is very strong and she PLAYS BIG. In the Boys Youth National Team Second Tryout held in Los Angeles during Memorial Day Weekend, 2002, two of the top-rated players were 5"8' and 5'10." It is very likely that both of these athletes will end up on the court together, even against much taller international competition.

Any great volleyball coach will tell you that the strength of your core is a determining factor in how quickly, efficiently and powerfully you will be able to perform any volleyball skill. The core muscles, including the abs, lower back and hips, should be the center of attention for any volleyball athlete's training routine. Any qualified trainer, or even a search on the internet, can help you to find helpful core exercises that will lead to improvements in all aspects of your game.

One of the most important areas of strength that has not yet been mentioned is the upper back. Again, you "can only go as fast as you can stop" (assuming you plan to "go" more than once). Therefore, your speed of armswing is limited by the strength of your upper back and the ability of these muscles to cushion/brake the speed of the attacking arm. If you don't have strong traps and rhomboids, you will likely end up with a sore or injured shoulder at some point in your volleyball career.

An athlete's dynamic power in the hips (and, as should be mentioned here, their flexibility in the hamstrings) can compensate for size. A major goal of every young volleyball player should be to master the "squat" lift to a level that their trainer recommends that they move ahead to the Olympic Lifts (jerks, snatches and cleans). At this point, an athlete is ready to combine base strength with dynamic hip explosion to achieve the best vertical that their frame will allow.

4) Confidence and leadership - It is not surprising that the best athletes demonstrate confidence and leadership on the court, and make the players around them better. The question is: "Which comes first, being a good player or being confident in your abilities?" I think that the answer to this question is a balance between the two. As a player, you may have to begin acting confident and aggressive on the court first, and your skills and game will usually follow. At tryouts, our eyes are caught by players who take charge.

5) Aggressiveness - following from #4, I have to say that aggressive play is something that all good coaches look for. At the younger groups, we would rather see a highly aggressive and athletic player hit five great kills and five balls into the bleachers than five great kills and five "get the ball overs." Roll shots and tips are important things to learn, but even they can be done aggressively and confidently.

6) Ability to learn and improve - It is an important part of a coach's job to track players' progress throughout the course of a tryout to determine whether you improve substantially. This may be your first chance at playing with and among such a high level of competition; and we want to see how you react. Part of this comes from how open you are to change (the ability to step outside of your "comfort zone") and part of this is determined by #4 and #5 above. The more confident and aggressive you are, the more you will find yourself adapting to the demands of higher levels of play. This definitely is something that athletes can work on whenever they are on the court.

7) Vision and reaction - Volleyball is such an interesting game because every play is different and it happens so fast. Therefore, a volleyball player can not be trained specifically how to react to every play. Rather, they have to be able to observe and creatively respond uniquely to each new situation. A lot of this just comes from playing the game as much as possible; however, you can train yourself to be more observant and to look for more subtle cues that you will begin to pick up (for example, when a hitter will tip a ball, or when a server will serve a short serve, etc.). This is called "playing the game in the future" because you begin to look for smaller cues and "reads" that an opponent will give away before she even knows it.

Important Position-Specific Elements:

With regards to specific positions, we are looking for outside hitters who can pass a good portion of the court and then terminate an outside set.
We are looking for setters who can jump set and who have great body control and speed, even when the passes are all over the court. We also want our setters to have strong, supple wrists/hands that can control the ball for an instant, and then execute a quick, fluid release.
We are looking for middle blockers who are trained to read (excellent vision) and react instantaneously to the opponent's setter and offense, and who can reach over the net and stuff 'em.
We are looking for all types of hitters who have more than just one or two standard shots (they can score against different kinds of blocks and in a number of different situations).
And last, but by no means least, we are looking for players who can control the ball, while passing, defending, setting, serving and attacking.


We want our players to be the best possible athletes and people that they can be. In order to achieve this we have our athletes follow a code. The following are qualities and practices that all athletes must possess.

* Players must respect themselves, team mates, coaches, officials, parents, opponents, and all others they come in contact with;

* Players must attend all practices, since they are just as important, if not more important, than games, and they must inform their coach(es) if they are unable to attend;

* Players will come prepared for practices –arrive fifteen minutes before practice starts, bring all necessary equipment, review and know every play and drill, be prepared to learn and do new things, and be ready to give 110% effort;

* Players will come prepared for tournaments – arrive at least 30 minutes before first game and be ready for warm-up, had a good dinner the night before, gotten plenty of rest, and had a good breakfast, bring nutritious food for the day, visualize during the ride to the tournament, bring a positive and winning attitude;

* Players will not give up in any situation. Whether it would be acquiring new skills or trying to win a game -only their best effort is acceptable. They must have the will and the heart to achieve, no matter the situation;

* Players will listen attentively and acknowledge their coaches in a positive and courteous manner when given feedback in order that the coach may know you have heard and understood the comments;

* Players will be committed to fitness and nutrition outside of practices and tournaments;

* Players will be a humble member of the team and know that they are privileged to be part of the club. They will also realize that the role they are given on the team is for the success of the team;

* Players will realize that we have come together because we have a common love – volleyball. Players will leave their different personalities, styles, likes, and dislikes at the door when they enter the gym. Only behaviors that will benefit the whole team are acceptable. Players will make every effort to get to know and support their team mates;

* Players will know that playing time in games is not a right, it is earned through efforts and achievements in practices. Players will realize that they will be given over one hundred hours of practice and instructional time however, playing time decisions will be made in order that the teams success may come first.


* Uphold the code of conduct;

* Plan and organize the team practice, keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve with each drill;

* Arrive fifteen minutes (or more) before practice starts;

* Develop individual player and team goals for the season;

* Give players positive feedback, provide evaluation;

* Check equipment and playing area for safety;

* Attend club meetings;

* Bench coach on tournament dates;

* Give players clearly defined roles;

* Ensure injured players receive adequate attention;

* Communicate club philosophy to all players;

* Provide practice and tournament dates and times to players;

* Have a plan to be implemented in case of inclement weather or emergency;

* Provide communications chair with team updates and information;

* Keep player attendance log;

* Keep the Club Director apprised of player and team developments.


The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do." - Dennis Waitley