REC It is a bit different than most volleyball programs when it comes to the coaching department. The biggest pet peeve for coaches is when they give a correction and the Athlete responds with, “I know.” We know that you have heard it a thousand times, and that makes you think that you know it, but why do you keep hearing it? If an athlete hears a correction over and over again without applying and understanding it, that means that there is a major disconnect in the coach/athlete's communication. The response of “I know” is the problem. It is what we call a “reflexive response”, which is when you hear something, think you know it, you stop listening and shuts down the communication.
When we train our coaches, we have the mentality that we cannot stop every athlete from saying I know, and that is okay. We structure our corrections so the athletes cannot respond like that. Instead of telling them what they did wrong, we ask them why something happened. If they actually know the answer, then they will answer it, and that conversation reinforced the existing neuropathway in the brain. If they don’t know the answer, then the athlete wants to hear it because they don’t want to make that same mistake again when the coach asks in the future.
Ultimately, we want to create an environment where the athletes can bond with coaches through conversation. They learn better when they talk with the coach instead of having a coach talk at them. This method helps athletes self-coach themselves when they are older. It also prepares them to become coaches in the future.
High School or Club Tryouts are Finally over and you MADE THE TEAM!!! Congrats! Next week your team has a scrimmage or a game. Do you automatically get playtime since you made the team? What if you don't get any? Watch the video below to hear some valuable advice from Coach Amber. This video discusses What to and not to say to a coach, and how to build a relationship to help you get on the court on game day. Please Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Our Staff has experience coaching gameplay from various other programs. We all agree that gameplay development for hitting and passing is hindered if we have athletes who are not ready to set, setting. The setter is compared to the quarterback on a football team. If they cannot set the ball up, then it is challenging to have proper gameplay. Our coaching staff can help control the game to build confidence when they pass and give more back row and front row hitting opportunities. Once we have athletes in the program for longer who show interest, we will have them start setting. We still teach the mechanics during practice, but many younger athletes cannot handle the pressure of setting in a game when they have only played for 2 months. Most of our athletes are new to the game, and that inexperience can make minor errors feel catastrophic. The first year of playing is difficult enough, and the first couple of games can make an athlete fall in love with or hate volleyball.
Volleyball is just as much a mental sport as a physical one. Here are two scenarios for you to consider.
Scenario 1: Pat, Sarah, and Heather have been playing for 2 months. Pat is passing, Sarah is setting, and Heather is hitting. If Pat gives a pass 10 feet away from Sarah, she may not/ cannot set it to Heather. Now Heather cannot practice hitting, and Pat thinks it is their fault because they “Are Not Passing Well.” Pat continues to make some errors and then one day decides that she is a lousy passer and never wants to do it again. Sarah thinks it is her fault and tells future coaches that she is not good at setting. Heather gets little to no hitting practice at a young age and may not have enough time to develop her mechanics when she is a bit older.
Scenario 2: Pat, Sarah, and Heather have been playing for 2 months. Pat is passing, A coach is setting, and Heather and Sarah are hitting. If Pat gives a pass 10 feet away from the setter (Coach), they can still set the ball up with control because they have more playing experience. Now the two hitters have a chance to hit because the set is high enough for them to do their approach and jump. Let us also think about how this change can help them mentally. Pat, passes the ball, and the coach can set most of the balls. Their confidence in passing increases because the play continued after they passed the ball. The hitters build confidence because they can practice hitting more often. Even though the scenario started the same, the athletes in Scenario 2 become confident and want to continue developing.
When an athlete is newer to volleyball, they must learn the fundamentals for Passing, Setting, Hitting, and Serving. Most of our beginner programs run for about 4- 6 weeks to give the players enough time to learn the fundamentals without the pressure of gameplay. After about 6 weeks of fundamental training, most athletes are ready to transition into games SLOWLY. There are different levels of games and different factors that influence the accommodations for athletes.
Some Common Accommodations for Beginners:
Most affordable or recreational programs only focus on the fundamental drills or throw athletes into gameplay even though they have little to no gameplay experience. REC It Volleyball does it a little bit differently. Our leagues have one practice day a week that gives the athletes a chance to digest the information before game-day. It takes time for athletes to get to know the coaches and their teammates. As many parents know, game-day can make the athletes tense up, forget mechanics, and shut down communication. Every coach on our coaching roster has heard, “wait was that my ball?” from an athlete on game day even though they pass that same ball in practice. REC It Volleyball believes that incorporating a practice day in a league will help the players feel more comfortable and learn faster than just learning during a game.
During game-day, coaches do not have as much time to explain something to the athletes thoroughly. Coaches use “Trigger words” to remind athletes of corrections. For example, a coach may tell an athlete to “Transition” on game day. Transitioning is when an athlete comes off of the net to get ready to do their hitting approach. Games are loud, and coaches have about 2 to 3 seconds to correct multiple students between points. During practice, we reinforce the trigger words by saying them entirely; once the athletes understand the concept, we start to teach the shorthand/ Trigger words. When programs do not have practice time, it is hard to coach athletes because you never developed a way to communicate a correction during a loud and high-stress time quickly.