Winners Stay On

By John Kessel | Nov. 19, 2013, 4:24 p.m. (ET)

I have been doing grassroots players and coaches clinics for the Gulf Coast USAV Region and a USAV Beach CAP course this weekend. We are on the beautiful powdered sugar, squeaky sand of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida with Jon Aharoni and Ali Lamberson. Phil Bryant, the commissioner, has been doing great things here for over 20 years, and this long weekend is no different, as there also is a CAP Level 1 AND a CAP Level 2 with Bill Neville, Cecile Reynaud, Diana Cole and Don Burroughs teaching.  Plans are to do it next year as well, so mark your calendar to come to the beach and learn!

Several things came out for me that I am going to share in this blog, the most important  being the reminder of the value of the concept of WINNERS STAY ON training. It was how I learned to play on the beach – putting my name on the list…waiting and watching the older/better players…finally getting on the court and then – losing 11-2, 11-3…then putting my name back on the bottom of the list and repeating my wait/watch/learn cycle. I was never punished by being told to run laps, do push ups or something that made me dislike/seeing physical conditioning as a punishment. I learned over and over and over again, that if I won, I got to keep playing. 

Isn’t that what this year’s NCAA Volleyball Championships are all about at all division levels? Winners stay on?  Every high school playoff round that you are preparing for is simply…Winners stay on.  It’s not done enough in this current era of training - in beach, indoor, paravolley levels. Why do athletes of any age scream NOOOoooo when you stop playing monarch of the court or speed ball?  They not only love to compete in gamelike ways – they love to stay on and keep playing, not find themselves watching as other teams are playing. 

So imagine what happened this same weekend when we built a double sized court to video and promote an awareness for all adults, what it is like to be a kid playing on an adult sized court. 

Challenge your players in a way that if they err – they have to sit out and watch.