Teach Your Athletes With These Quick Tips

Feb. 25, 2019, 7:05 p.m. (ET)

John Speraw

Looking for some easy tips to pass on to your players? Here are six tips from top coaches and players to remind you of some core techniques.

John Speraw

Head coach, U.S. Men's National Team, UCLA

Understand that you’re always involved in the play. When the ball gets set to the other pin hitter, I bet you 90 percent of athletes stop and watch their teammate hit the ball.

Invariably, the hitter coverage that is most needed is that person, because the ball has a funny way of finding that side of the court. And that person isn’t in an athletic enough position to react. That’s a mistake you should never make.

I tell people, ‘If you want to stand around, go stand around on the bench.'

Bill Neville

Longtime coach, founder of Nevillizms

Go for every ball rather than premeditating whether or not it is playable. The only way to know if a ball is unplayable is if you go all out for it and don’t get it. One great save that leads to a point may be the difference between winning and losing, so go for every ball. Make it a habit to give maximum effort every time.

Christa Dietzen

Former U.S. Women's National Team middle blocker, 2012 Olympic silver medalist

Use names when identifying the teammate you want to make the play instead of using terms like “go” and “you.” We have names for a reason, and it can do wonders with communication on the court!

Alisha Glass

Former U.S. Women's National Team setter

Never be afraid of making mistakes, as long as you learn something from them. Mistakes can be a positive tool, as long as you learn something from them.

Volleyball is such a cool sport that is constantly evolving, always giving athletes the opportunity to learn and grow. With any sport, there are times that fear creeps in; serving at 25-25 in a championship match, taking an aggressive swing when the game is on the line, stressing over a setter/hitter connection, even trying something new in terms of technique in practice.

Embrace those moments, be fearless, because either you’ll triumph, or you’ll make a mistake from which you can learn, and you’ll become better for the next moment that comes along. It’s a win-win!

Erik Sullivan

Associate head coach, University of Texas; two-time Olympian

Dig the ball so it stays on your side of the net. When you’re digging, be safe and make your target 6 to 10 feet from the net and let your team have a chance to take a swing in transition. Dig the ball high and to the center of the court so your setter can make the best set possible and give your team the best chance to score a point.

Anna Collier

Head beach coach, USC

Keep talking to your partner. The key to the beach game is communication. No matter how in the tank you or your partner may be, you will never work out of it by going silent. Keep your body language positive, too. It’s easy for negative emotions to fill blank space. So when things go south, keep your chin up and talk it through.

 

Originally published in the spring 2016 issue of VolleyballUSA