Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Volleyball Over Everything: Playing Smart
In my last blog, I talked about preparing your athletes to be mentally ready in order to finish the game. Now I want to further that discussion with playing smart. When you coach your athletes to play smart, you’re teaching them to focus on outside stimulus given by the opponent and how to quickly process this information in order to get the desired outcome. With that being said, you as the coach must teach them the necessary skills and techniques that they will need for any situation that may present itself in the game.
In a past tournament, I watched an older age group from the one that I coach and I watched the players specifically because I wanted to see if they knew how to adjust according to play. I could tell some girls had played volleyball for a while, while others were just athletic enough to play their position. While the coach did his job very well, there were still phases that the team had where I could tell they were not playing smart. They were not watching the setter, not covering the hitters or blockers, late to tips because they were not watching the hitters hands, the list goes on and on. Those little mistakes started wearing on them, causing them to lose focus and not being able to finish the game. They were not focused on adjusting to what the opponent continually challenged them on. It’s hard to watch talented and athletic teams give the game away because they just are not processing and thinking. “To play smart is to be be mentally sharp and strong.”
Another part of playing smart, is playing together. Playing together means unselfishly, trusting your teammates, and doing everything possible not to let them down. The team has to click, think as one, and move as one. Everyone has to do their part and make the best decisions they know how not only to win, but to be a successful program. Playing smart is more than just a single player, it’s a team effort. All in all, getting your team to play as one, in unison, is the best form of playing smart.
1. Lanzillo, A. B. (n.d.). Basketball Mental Aspects-To Play Smart or Play Stupid. Coach's Clipboard.
2. Smith, D. (n.d.). Coaching Tips. Basketballs Best.