Tips on adjusting to changing teams or partners

Oct. 20, 2017, 11:43 a.m. (ET)

Changing teams or getting a new partner on the sand can be a big life change. Professional volleyball athletes give their tips to adapting to those changes, and not letting the daunting transition wear them down.

Rachael Adams

2016 Olympic bronze medalist and member of the U.S. Women's National Team
Going into a new team I always feel out the atmosphere and move at a pace that feels comfortable and genuine to me when it comes to getting to know new people. For me, the side conversations is where it begins - bus rides, locker room, travel days, and team dinners. Rather than big interrogations, the one-on-one side conversations are where I thrive and feel the most comfortable. I can ask people about themselves, family, where they've played before, and they can do the same for me. That allows me to feel more free and it opens our line of communication on the court. That's the best feeling when on a new team and playing with new people. And from there, I just build on that each day.

Emily Day

Professional beach athlete and member of the U.S. Beach National Team
In beach volleyball you change partners... A LOT. I've learned it is best to keep things on a good terms and to not make the first time you play against each other any more awkward than it already is. I've also used playing an ex-teammate as more motivation to win that match.

Kawika Shoji

2016 Olympic bronze medalist and member of the U.S. Men's National Team
I think adapting to new teammates is really about communication. Take time to get to know your teammates on and off the court and show them that you care. It's easy to adjust when you want to work together and communicate with one another. It takes an effort to establish that bond quickly.

Phil Dalhausser

Three-time Olympian and Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball
Anytime you change partners there will always be a transition period. Everything will be different, even peppering with a new partner is way different. Give yourself time and don't get discouraged if things don't work out right away.

Lane Carico

Professional beach volleyball athlete and member of the U.S. Beach A2 Team
It’s not easy or ideal to change teams/partners, but I do my best to keep an optimistic mentality and a learning attitude. This helps me to stay motivated and enthusiastic about what I am working towards, and helps me stay focused on handling the things that are in my control to the best of my ability. The changing of teams can at times be very distressing, but the knowledge gained from these experiences can always be used for making positive change in the future.

Kelsey Robinson

2016 Olympic bronze medalist and member of the U.S. Women's National Team
I think in order to adjust and adapt it’s about earning trust. To do that I always try to be a great teammate and work really hard on the court. I think about making the people around me better and over-communicating. Off the court, I try to make it a point to grab lunch with someone or cook dinner. It helps to make the on court things easier and to learn more about the team.

Jake Gibb

Three-time Olympian in beach volleyball
I adjust depending on the strengths of my new partner. You want to highlight those strengths and help them be better.

Summer Ross

Professional beach athlete and member of the U.S. Beach National Team
I was so excited to team up with Brooke (Sweat) last year! Within our first week of practice, I learned four different types of sets to run with her. Then off the court, there were lots of new activities we found out we like to do together... watch multiple seasons of TV shows within a few days, swim at the public pool, BBQ ribs, and other fun stuff.