Volleyball Quotes and Sayings have the power to inspire and motivate players and coaches to become the best version of themselves both on and off the court. Every single person in all walks of life has wanted to quit at one time or another, or has had doubts in their ability when the going got tough.
It’s only natural, particularly for volleyball players to feel this way, as the nature of the sport is one where all your mistakes are exposed in full view with there being nothing to hide behind.
We therefore hope that these quotes manage to inspire and motivate you both on and off the court.
Not only have we listed dozens upon dozens of quotes by inspirational sportsmen and sportswomen, but more importantly the majority are from volleyball players and coaches themselves, some of whom are the greatest to every play and coach the game.
We made sure to categorize the quotes by position, so you can hear from some of the best players who have ever played in your position; and by game situation, so you can get inspired and motivated before, during and even after the game, regardless of whether you won or loss to help you bounce back.
Don’t worry, coaches, we haven’t forgotten about you either. Read what hugely successful coaches have to say about getting the most out of a team and how you can become the best coach you can be.
We’ve also made sure to include several funny volleyball quotes and even a few jokes in as well for good measure.
One more thing: the first time you come across a volleyball player or coach in the article you will see that we have added a short bio. This bio is only listed once and isn’t repeated if another quote by the same person appears in another section. We have also provided snippets of the sayer of a quote to provide context if they have never been part of the volleyball world too.
Volleyball Quotes By Position
The setter position is one of the most important positions in volleyball, and a great setter can elevate a team from merely being good to greatness.
A setter draws many comparisons to the quarterback in football or the point guard in basketball due to the significance of these positions in setting up the attack to score. In other words, a good setter more or less runs the show, and as a setter you need to show real commitment to playing the position.
Not only do you need to block, serve, and play defense, but you also need to have an excellent understanding with your teammates, manage the tempo of the game, and select the right hitter to set to.
Hopefully, these quotes from a few of the best setters in the history of volleyball can inspire and motivate you, and lead you to greatness on the court.
Debbie Green is commonly referred as one of if not the very best setter the game has ever seen, and certainly as the greatest setter the USA has ever had. She won a silver medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and with this success Debbie and her teammates put volleyball on the map in the USA, as it was the best finish in U.S. women’s volleyball history at the time; an achievement that stood for 14 years.
In 1986, Debbie was given the honor of being inducted into the United States Volleyball Association Hall of Fame, and later that year received the All-Time Great Volleyball Player award.
On overcoming adversity:
“For the first year and a half I just wanted to quit every day. It was so bad and no one wanted me on the team…I’m the last person to tell someone that they’ll never be successful in volleyball because that was all I ever heard for years, that I was too short.”
“I never went to a prom or to movies like other high school girls did. My entire life was volleyball. I’d play six days a week, with Monday the only day I’d take off.”
On how Volleyball changes lives:
“Volleyball has allowed me to travel throughout the world, to see so many interesting places, to meet so many interesting people including my husband and three presidents, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.”
Lloy Ball is a setter who has had a long, decorated and fulfilling volleyball career. He is currently the only USA male player to play in four Olympic Games for indoor volleyball.
Reading the volleyball quotes below you can tell just how committed he was to volleyball, which comes as no surprise considering he started playing the sport at just 5 years old.
His young start and commitment certainly paid off, as he played his first game for the US National Team at the age of just 16 (another record), with the highlight of his career being the gold medal Team USA won at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Lloy Ball was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2015.
On Commitment & Winning:
“The will to win is more important than the skill to win. It is possible to achieve only what you actively pursue. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. Keep your head high and work hard every day, because you’ll never get that day back.”
“Competing, training and doing anything to win was my drug. Entertaining the crowd and going into battles with teammates was what I lived for. Winning titles became my obsession.”
“I must give 100% in every practice, game, weight training, video or anything I do related to sports and life.”
“Being a volleyball player is what I was born to do. I loved every day of it. I loved every practice, every weight training, every video meeting, every match! I loved playing in front of people. I loved entertaining them.”
“With all of that go along very high expectations! Some players do not like that. They don’t want the stress and pressure from the club to win. I loved it. I knew that it was NOT acceptable to lose.”
Lindsey Berg is highly regarded as a setter in volleyball. So much so, in fact, that she was awarded the “Best Setter” of the Pan American Cup 3 years running in 2003, 2004, and 2005, as well as in the NORCECA Championship in 2005 and 2011. The highlight of her career, however, is the 2 silver medals she won at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
On being the best setter you can be:
“Be a leader. A setter should be high energy. It’s important that you learn how to give positive, constructive criticism. It’s crucial that you make your teammates feel comfortable. You should never be the most silent player in the gym.”
On believing in yourself
“I’m not the most physical person, not the tallest, not the skinniest. You can’t listen to anybody. Just know your dreams. Know how hard you can work. Work hard, have fun doing it, and you can really make it places that you really never thought you would. Dedication, passion and heart gets you where you want to be.”
Misty May (commenting on Kerri Walsh):
Even the most casual of volleyball fans have likely heard of Misty May and Kerri Walsh, and for good reason too. These two players are unparalleled when it comes to Beach Volleyball success. They absolutely dominated the sport during their careers, so much so that they won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in 2004, 2008, and 2012, along with 3 Gold Medals and a Silver Medal in the World Championships.
On the importance of a setter
“I wouldn’t be the best offensive player if I didn’t have a great setter. She serves me up nectar.”
Playing as a middle blocker may not get you as much glory as other positions on the court, but the importance of having good middle blockers on your team cannot be overstated.
A team revolves around middle blockers due to the importance of this position in scoring and creating one on ones on offense, and blocking well on defense.
Other than the obvious physical attributes to play this position well, such as height, strength and quickness, having the right mindset, particularly the ability to quickly read the game, is equally important as you will see from some of the middle blocker volleyball quotes below.
Riley Salmon (commenting on Tom Hoff)
Riley Salmon and Tom Hoff were both part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where they took home the gold medal for the USA. Tom Hoff was in fact captain of the side, not only due to his leadership skills but also because of how well he was able to read the game – a skill that elite middle blockers must possess.
On the overlooked yet importance of middle blockers
“You always hear about superstars, but it’s the guys who allow the superstars to happen that are really special. In the finals against Brazil, Lloy would go up to Tom and say, “What do you see happening on the other side of the net right now? And any time I would get nervous or Reid would get nervous, Tom would talk to us. Without Tom, I don’t think we would have won the gold.”
If there’s one coach you want to listen to then it would be Don Shondell, and he knows just how paramount middle blockers are to a team’s success. Don’s illustrious career is nothing short of remarkable. He received Coach of the Year honors eight times from the MIVA; won 18 of BSU’s 19 MIVA titles; holds a career record of 769-280-6 (.732), which is the second best record in NCAA men’s volleyball history; and as you might expect is a Hall of Famer.
On the importance of middle blockers
“Effective blockers are unquestionably the keystone of a successful defense.”
In the 1990s Team USA wasn’t quite the team they have been in the past decade, and a lot of that had to do with Andrea Giani. He was part of the Italian national team – a team that dominated throughout the 90s.
While Andrea played as a power attacker and passer later in his career, it was the position of middle blocker that gave him the reputation of being one of the elite blockers of the 1990s.
In his career, he represented Italy a staggering 474 times, including five times in the Olympic Games, and is also a Hall of Famer.
On professionalism and passion
“As a player and as a coach, I have to say that both professionalism and passion are equally important in both cases. This is fundamental value.”
In eighth grade Ryan Miller decided to leave basketball and pursue volleyball instead, which turned out to be one of the best decisions he has ever made and one that Team USA would certainly benefit from in the coming years.
At college he was named national freshman of the year, an All-American three years in a row, as well as a triple AVCA First-Team All-American, which is a very rare accomplishment, even 17 years later. His biggest success, however, has to be how he has represented Team USA at three Olympic games, in 2000, 2004, and lastly in 2008 where he and his team took home the gold medal.
Make sure to take note of the following quotes by Ryan Miller, as he has excellent insights in what it takes to become an effective middle blocker.
On becoming a better middle blocker
“For those of you that are just getting started the biggest tip I can give you is play as much as possible. Play doubles, play pepper, play 6 on 6, whatever just play. The best way to develop your skills as a young player is to play.”
On the importance of teamwork
“We went into that season knowing we had great individual players, but by the end of the season we knew we had a great team. Six guys working as hard as they could every time we stepped on the floor. That is the mentality you need to be champions.”
On the key to becoming a great middle blocker
“One of the most important skills of a middle blocker is being able to read the game. You have to be able to see things almost before they happen, otherwise you will miss them and end up getting lost. The more you play the easier it will be to read the game. It is important in all aspects, blocking (maybe the most important, for a good middle blocker), hitting, serving, playing defense, etc.”
On the correct mentality
“Blocking success can be measured in various ways, but perhaps the most important is the psychological intimidation of the opponent.”
Along with opposites, outside hitters are typically the players that score the most points on the team. However, there is more than just scoring to an outside hitter’s game. To play this position well you must be considered an all-rounder, as many skills are required.
You must have the ability to not only attack, block, serve, and especially excel at passing, but also play defense effectively, which as Caren Kemner states below, is absolutely huge for morale.
Of course, many physical traits are required, including being energetic, powerful, fast, and having an explosive vertical jump, but you also need to be smart and read the game effectively.
Listen to what some of the best outside hitters in the game have to say about commitment, the mental game, and the unpredictableness of playing the position.
Caren Kemner is known for her thunderous spikes and relentless defense, which made her one of the greatest outside hitters in the world during her playing career.
She has won numerous awards, including the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Female Volleyball Athlete of the Year six times; the USA team most valuable player award five times; and was selected in the All-Era Team for the 1978 to 2002 time period, to name just a few awards.
Caren competed in three consecutive Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the process, and helped lead the United States to its very first FIVB World Grand Prix gold medal in 1995.
Caren was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
On the fundamentals of volleyball
“There are six people around the court and it’s literally like a ballet. And fundamentals are at the core of everything you do.”
On the mental edge great defense gives you
“Once you get the taste of ruining somebody’s great hit, it stays with you. And it changes the game. A great defensive play is worth about five points in emotion.”
On the unpredictableness of volleyball
“I’ve never played a ball that’s exactly the same as the ball before.”
Rita Crockett truly is a legend of the game and is considered as one of the finest all-round volleyball players to have ever played the game, and even managed to successfully make the transition to beach volleyball later in her career.
She may not be as well decorated as many other Team USA players, but she was part of the team that won the USA its first-ever Olympic Games volleyball medal in Los Angeles 1984. Rita has also coached for many years, was named to USA Volleyball’s Women’s All-Era Team for 1978 to 2003, and is of course a Hall of Famer.
Take note of these volleyball quotes by Rita, as not only is she a legend of the game but she also coaches youth volleyball players successfully through the ranks.
On the importance of a good coach
“My coaches were all good, all pleasant. They were hard, but they made me who I am.”
On being in tune with your teammates
“Everyone ate the same, drank the same, had the same sleep schedule. We had to be one.”
On commitment to volleyball
“My first priority was my team. That meant I needed to make sure that I had my mind together and that I was physically fit and ready to go. I remember, I would run hills – and I didn’t like to run. But I doubted that these other people on their time off were running hills backwards. I did that on my own, gave something extra to get where I wanted to go.”
Vladmir Grbic is known just as much for his sheer power and laser point accuracy as he is for his sportsmanlike behavior and exceptional moral character both on and off the court.
He is a legend in his country because he helped Yugoslavia win its first ever Olympic medal (bronze) in Atlanta 1996 and then went onto win the gold four years later in Sydney. He has also helped his country win many other medals in international competitions.
Vladmir currently serves as vice-president of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, and is a Hall of Famer.
On what volleyball is all about
“Volleyball is a sport where you need support to develop. This is not a sport of money. Volleyball is a sport for smart people, passionate people who know how to communicate.”
The influence that Flo Hyman had on volleyball in the USA is unrivalled. She was undoubtedly the most famous player in the USA and worldwide during her playing career.
Flo was so influential, because at the time the USA had many great players among its ranks, but it was severely lacking in leadership; that all changed when Flo came along, as she knew just how important the contribution of teamwork is to achieve anything and how committed you must be to reach the very top.
During her playing career, Flo was selected as the Most Valuable Player in countless international tournaments, and was part of the same team as Rita Crockett that helped the USA win its first-ever Olympic Games volleyball medal in Los Angeles 1984. Inevitably, she is a Hall of Famer.
On pushing yourself
“I had to learn to be honest with myself. I had to recognize my pain threshold. When I hit the floor, I have to realize it’s not as if I broke a bone. Pushing yourself over the barrier is a habit. I know I can do it and try something else crazy. If you want to win the war, you’ve got to pay the price.”
On being true to yourself
“To be true to one’s self is the ultimate test in life. To have courage and the sensitivity to follow your hidden dreams and stand tall against the odds that are bound to fall in your path. Life is too short and precious to be dealt with in any other fashion. This thought I hold dear to my heart and I always try to be true to myself and others that I encounter along the way.”
- How to Recognize a Great Outside Hitter
- A Hitter in Volleyball Has Many Options
- Attacking Advice for Outside Hitters
To play the position of opposite well you would think that height would be the most important thing. While height is clearly advantageous an opposite that sets themselves apart must also possess excellent blocking skills, good hands, and quickness.
So there’s no doubt that the best opposites are excellent all-rounders, spending many hours honing their skills.
As an opposite tends to score the most points in the team and typically gets the most sets, the player playing this position tends to get the most glory. However, an opposite’s defensive duties should not be understated, not only when blocking on the front row, but also when playing on the back row.
Read what three of the most highly regarded US opposites have to say about believing in yourself, how to grow as a player, and committing to improving in the following volleyball quotes.
Standing at 6’7” there aren’t many women let alone female volleyball players who are as tall as Tayyiba Haneef. As you might expect, she was one of the most explosive opposites in the game throughout her career, and helped win nine medals for her country including 2 silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
On believing in yourself
“I believe that as long as you want to do it, and your heart is willing to put forth the effort, anything is possible. A lot of people told me I would never be a good volleyball player or high jumper because I never specialized. But I always knew that I could, believed I could, so I didn’t listen to what they said. I just followed my heart and did it.”
Nancy Metcalf is an opposite who has had a long and illustrious volleyball career. There are not many players who can boast of having played for 12 teams in 9 different countries. She has also won numerous medals and individual awards, including the NORCECA Championship and was named as USA Volleyball Indoor Female Player of the Year in 2009.
“When I step on the court, I don’t want to ever feel like I’ve wasted time or that somebody else has worked harder.”
Matt Anderson regularly finds himself on the list of Best Opposites in Volleyball, which should come as no surprise if you’ve been following his career.
Despite being the youngest player on Team USA he managed to win USA Volleyball Male Indoor Player of the Year in 2012, winning the title again the following two years. He has also been the U.S. Men’s leading scorer every season since 2011 and was named MVP of the 2015 FIVB World Cup as the USA went on to win gold.
If you’re one of the younger players on your team, make sure to take note of how Matt not only managed expectations and pressure but greatly exceeded them in the following couple of volleyball quotes.
On the right attitude
“I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t want to be the ‘young guy.’ I started turning it into a healthy rage to come into the gym with the attitude, ‘Yeah, I might be young but there’s a reason I’m here. I’m not just here because I’m lucky. I deserve to be here.”
On how to grow as a player
“My goal is just to win. Whether it is Russian Championship, Cup or the Champions League. There is a huge amount of pressure, but that is how players grow. You have to be mentally strong. Russian players are especially good on that field. When they lose a point, they do not think about it, but focus on the next one. I think the same way.”
Playing as a libero is not only one of the most important positions in volleyball, but it is also one of the toughest, both physically and mentally.
Physically because a libero has to occupy and is responsible for a much greater part of the court than their teammates, ensuring that their ball handling skills are top notch, are able to dig well, and chase down every ball, no exceptions; mentally, not just because of the responsibility a libero has on the court, but also because wearing a different colored jersey means that any mistakes made are easily noticed.
Despite the importance of the libero, it is a position that doesn’t tend to get much glory, even though a libero keeps the team alive by leading the defense. While liberos don’t score the points, they ensure that their teammates are able to score points through their hard work and consistency.
The following volleyball quotes should help you get into the right mindset when playing as a libero.
David Beard is an Australian volleyball player who not only played as a power hitter, but also as a libero later in life – and very successfully too. For several years, David was the captain of the Australian volleyball team and represented his country over 300 times, including twice at the Olympic Games, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, where he captained his country.
On how volleyball shapes you as a person:
“Volleyball is the sport through which I am able to express my God-given talents of being an athlete. It is a sport which involves relating, pushing, and encouraging your teammates. It has helped evolve me into the person I am today.”
On the right attitude after winning and losing
“If you don’t succeed it doesn’t mean you are a failure. If you do succeed it doesn’t mean that you are king of the world.”
As the libero is a relatively new position in volleyball some players switch to the position as their career goes on. Not Nicole Davis, however, who absolutely dominated the libero position throughout her career, particularly in college where she achieved the second-best single season performance in program history at USC, and led her team to two NCAA National Championships in a row, including an undefeated season.
Internationally, Nicole found even greater success. She represented Team USA in World Grand Prix competitions, winning in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – a feat that has only been achieved by one other country in the history of the tournament. On the world’s greatest stage, at the Olympics, Nicole was also part of a team that won Silver Medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Nicole’s long and decorated career also includes playing in 8 different countries, so she definitely knows the importance of belief, hard work and working together in unison as a team.
“Doubt kills the soul, and I’ve allowed it to affect me at times, but every time I fall victim to it, I come out stronger on the other end and I remember how important belief is to the process of achieving anything important, and I keep dreaming and working for bigger and better things to come.”
“My goal for this tournament was to do and say everything I could to contribute to the process of us winning, to inspire my teammates to continue our work, and work in the right way, to avoid the mistakes of our past and to become a stronger team every day.”
“We believe and we say out loud every day that our team is full of special people, that what we are doing is part of something that is much bigger than ourselves, that we are committed to and doing things the “right” way, and that we will succeed in reaching our goals for these reasons. Our belief and strength as a group is what won us this World Championship.”
On the importance of the Libero
“Yeah you need a good setter so she can set to the hitter so they can kill it, but it all starts with the perfect pass from the back row.”
“Libero: the unspoken hero on the team.”
- How to Be a Great Defender
- 5 Keys to Making More Digs
- Dig, Dig, Dig: Libero Position Is Changing Volleyball
- The Toughest Position in Volleyball
Volleyball Quotes for + by Coaches
Coaching can be a tough job in itself, but coaching a team to success brings a host of other challenges along with it too.
However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience too as you watch your players grow, not only in volleyball but also as a person who can face up to the challenges that both sport and life entail.
While it can be hard to keep players motivated, particularly after a loss, and keep them enthusiastic and their enjoyment of the game intact, it can be just as hard to bring a team together that works in unison, which is paramount in a team sport like volleyball.
We have listed several volleyball quotes and sayings by some of the very best volleyball coaches to ever grace the game. They will serve as a reminder that while winning is of course important, it is the “many experiences shared by the players during travel, training, competitions, and beyond”, as Tom Pingel says, that is key to the job and what makes coaching so special, particularly at youth level.
It doesn’t matter how many polls are conducted or whether they are answered by players, fans or coaches, Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly always comes out on top as being the “finest volleyball player in the world for the last century.”
Karch is just one of three players who have won Olympic gold medals in both indoor and beach volleyball events – 1984 and 1988 for indoor volleyball, and 1996 for beach volleyball (the inaugural competition). He was also part of the Triple Crown winning side of the 1980s: Olympic Gold, World Cup Gold and World Championship Gold.
His coaching capabilities should also be noted, considering he currently serves as the coach of the US National Women’s Volleyball team, and led the team to Gold in the FIVB World Championship.
Having won it all in indoor volleyball as well as in beach volleyball, where he won a staggering 74 Opens over 5 years, Kirch Kiraly is certainly someone who should be listened to whenever he opens his mouth.
On how to treat players
“My general rule, which I have followed throughout my coaching career, is that everyone doesn’t necessarily get treated the same way, because I’m not sure that’s possible. But everyone has to be treated fairly.”
On giving players freedom
“Volleyball is not like a formula so we must give players some freedom.”
Nikolay Karpol, nicknamed “The Howling Bear”, is not only one of the longest serving international coaches to have ever graced the game, but he is also one of the most successful. The number of medals his teams have won are too numerous to mention, but the highlights have to be Olympic gold medals in 1980 and 1988, silver medals in 1992, 2000 and 2004, and gold medals in the Grand Prix, Champions Cup, and World Championships.
He is the only two-time winner Coach of the Year by the FIVB, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
On being fair as a coach
“Sometimes the players argue with one another, sometimes the coach needs to get involved and sometimes he should not. However, it is fundamental to problem solving that he must be fair and he must always work for the good of his pupils.”
Tom Pingel currently serves as the Senior Director of USA Volleyball and has great influence in the process of educating and training in all aspects of volleyball. Therefore, he knows just how important and what it takes to coach youth volleyball players to success.
On the real goal of volleyball
“Consider the many experiences shared by the players during travel, training, competitions, and beyond. If you feel that the participants learn only to pass, set, attack, or block better, look at the way the athletes and their parents interact during their school season. The real goal of a club is to provide on and off court experience that help the athlete become a better volleyball player and better person.”
Bill Neville has been active in the volleyball community for over 30 years. In this time he has coached two different national teams, as well as numerous club teams, college teams and military teams. Impressively, he was the youngest person ever to serve as an Olympic head coach in any sport when he coached Canada in 1976.
The highlight of his career has to be serving as assistant coach to the US Men’s National Team, which when he first started was ranked 19th in the world in 1981. Just 3 years later, however, his team won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles – the country’s first ever medal in men’s volleyball.
On the fundamentals of defense
“Careful attention to teaching floor defense fundamentals is essential to preparing a successful team.”
There’s no doubt that Marv Dunphy is a true legend of the game. He is one of just a few coaches who can say that he has won NCAA National Championships in three different decades.
However, Marv is best known as serving as the coach of the U.S. National Volleyball Team, which was the best team in the world under his guidance. Team USA had a very impressive record of 197-31, maintained their Number one ranking, and pretty much won every major international tournament going, including the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Not only is Marv an inductee of the Hall of Fame, but so is his 1988 Olympic Team.
On the key aspects of volleyball
“Volleyball is one of the most interactive sports going. It is a game of intuition. Imagination. Improvisation. But most of all, of reciprocity. Of teamwork. There is no way to freelance in volleyball.”
“It is not how tall you are, it is how GOOD you are.”
On the difference a coach can make
“Marv is the best thing that’s happened to my volleyball career. He has helped in every aspect of my life, both on and off the court. The best way to end my senior season would be to leave with another championship for Marv.” – Sean Rooney (outside hitter and Olympic Gold medallist talking about Marv Dunphy)
On team chemistry
“Team chemistry is an elusive thing. There are probably as many definitions for it as there are coaches. “Let’s all pull on the same end of the rope” and “Let’s have some fun out there” are examples of appeals to team members to play with chemistry.”
On the importance of players’ parents
“At every level of volleyball, parents will be involved. It appears that the model coach has the confidence of the parents of the players. They seem not only to support but also to assist the coach.”
During Mike Herbert’s long and successful career he has coached 4 college teams (Pittsburgh, New Mexico, Illinois, Minnesota), and produced several professional players, including Olympians Lindsey Berg and Nicole Branagh.
Mike has also served as head coach of the U.S. women’s team, and in 2006 he was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (ACVA) Hall of Fame.
Mike is also the author of “Thinking Volleyball” – one of the most highly regarded books for volleyball coaches.
On the what it takes to be the best
“Volleyball wasn’t just a sport, it was a religion”
On thinking for yourself
“Coaches must be critical thinkers, not protectors of the status quo.”
“There is no such thing as a universally accepted way to teach volleyball skills, nor is there only one way to design systems of play. Coaches must make decisions about how to accomplish both.”
On the importance of team chemistry
“Teaching the chemistry-related skills is more important than coaching the technical skills.”
On creating the right attitude of players
“I think it’s important that the players understand, that they know there are things demanded of them, but they choose to accept those demands and accept the accountability for what it is that they have to do rather than me beating them over the head with it.”
2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year (along with 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014 EIVA Coach of the Year), Mark Pavlik is a one of the most loyal volleyball coaches in history. He has coached Penn State for 21 years as it stands and has compiled a career record that few can boast – 482-142, winning 77 percent of his matches.
Mark has also had a hand in producing some of the biggest talents in volleyball during his tenure as head coach of Penn State, including Ivan Contreras and Matt Anderson, and has coached 21 different players to 41 All-American awards.
On the importance of practice
“I feel that the coach’s role is extremely critical in training and creating the environment in which the team can improve…I think I am more concerned about practices than I am about matches.”
“I have the philosophy that the team is going to win or lose the match. I tend to be more demanding in practice where the work gets done. During the matches, I like to help the team use what they have been trained to use.”
On being an observant coach
“I think the best coaches are the most observant. They are good in convincing young people what it takes to succeed in life, not just on the court. “I do not think about coaching as being the boss. Rather, I am here to see how all the parts fit together. I am in the middle of this storm, and that is where the calm is supposed to be.”
Marc Hansen may not be a coach – he plays for Cathage College and is a three-time All-Southwest Suburban Conference honoree and named all-area his junior and senior years – but he certainly has some wise words for coaches.
On the maintaining players interest
“Players want to play volleyball for many reasons, one of which is to have fun participating. Players who are not kept active in practices nor allowed to play in matches will quickly lose interest.”
On coaching with passion
“You can learn the player technique, tactics, strength, everything but psychologically, emotionally transfer to them the passion is a challenge for the coaching staff. Coaches need to inspire, to be idols, to transfer love for the sport.”
“It’s the most important to teach the young players to enjoy the game, to play with the passion.”
Kathy Gregory’s importance to the women’s game cannot be overstated, and for this reason she was the third woman inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame. She has won many awards along the way, including the USVBA All-Time Great Volleyball Players Award, and was selected as the USVBA Most Valuable Player four times in her playing career. She was also two-time World Beach Champion
As a coach, Kathy cemented the University of California as one of the finest volleyball programs in the nation and later went on to serve as Executive Director of the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association.
On the will to win
“What I have tried to instill in my players is that competitive fire and will to win. I have a competitive nature, and that’s what has kept me going over the years. I’ll keep coaching until I lose that fire. After 38 years of coaching, I still get up every morning ready to charge ahead.”
There’s no doubting that Doug Beal was a fine volleyball player – competing in over 200 international matches for the USA and earning USVBA All-American honors five times – but it’s his success as a coach that he will most be remembered for.
When Doug took over head coach duties of the US National Team in 1977, the team was ranked 19th. However, seven years later he led the USA to its first ever Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in 1984. After this win he also went to lead the USA to the “Triple Crown”: Olympic Gold, World Cup Gold and World Championship Gold.
Doug is not only an inductee of the Ohio State University, Cleveland Sports, Shaker Heights, and International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, but is also an inductee of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. He currently serves as the CEO of USA Volleyball.
On players’ comfort zones
“A coach should take the athletes to their limits, should go beyond the comfort zone… If you are concerned about being friends with the players, you are not going anywhere.”
On the key to constructing a successful team
“The best way to quickly construct succeed team is to allow the best or most experienced players to set standards or reference points for younger players during the everyday practice.”
On taking risks
“I am proud of how creative we were, for taking some chances, some risks. As a player, as a coach or as a manager we get to take risks sometimes. We did that and we were very successful.”
On the importance of positioning
“Good players rarely look like the game is stressful for them, and they never seem rushed because they adjust their position all the time based on what’s happening. They’re always compensating for the movement of their teammates and the movement on the other side of the court, whether it’s blocking or back court.”
By Non-Volleyball Coaches
The following quotes don’t come from volleyball coaches, but the coaches are and were very well regarded in their respective sports and you can certainly learn a lot from reading what they have said.
On the difference volleyball makes
“Coaching? It was never what I envisioned doing. It’s stressful, difficult, and it doesn’t pay well. But I’m hooked. Knowing that I can make a difference in kids’ lives is a big positive, and the reason I’m here.” – Anne Donovan (Olympic Games Gold Medallist as a player and coach in Women’s Basketball)
On being consistent
“The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.”
– Tom Landry (Legendary, innovative NFL Coach)
On developing youth players
“At a young age winning is not the most important thing… the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.”
– Arsene Wenger (One of the most loyal and longest serving managers at the very top level in soccer. Known for his development of youth players)
On making a difference as a coach
“That’s the beauty of coaching. You get to touch lives, you get to make a difference. You get to do things for people who will never pay you back and they say you never have had a perfect day until you’ve done something for someone who will never pay you back.”
– Morgan Wooten (Legenedary high school basketball coach)
On the importance of your players believing in you
“I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman, and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.”
– Phil Jackson (Record 11x winner of NBA Championships as a coach, highest winning percentage of any NBA coach)
On getting players to reach their potential
“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.”
– Pete Carroll (One of only three coaches who have won a College Football National Championship and the Super Bowl)
On how failure can be a good thing
“Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching, I’ve learned from making mistakes.”
– Rick Pitino (2x NCAA Division 1 Championship winner, hall of famer)
- Resources for New Coaches
- The Art of Coaching Volleyball
- AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Official Website
- The Biggest Mistake I Never Made (Biography of Lloy Ball)
- Karpol: Lunatics – That’s What I Need (Biography of Nikolay Karpol)
- The Sand Man (Karch Kiraly Autobiography)
- Karch Kiraly’s Championship Volleyball
Volleyball Quotes by Situation
Like the previous section, the following quotes don’t just come from volleyball players and coaches.
Instead, we made sure to round up and also include the greatest quotes by sportsmen and sportswomen, coaches, businessmen, and even world leaders that can inspire and motivate you before the game, during the game, and after the game, regardless of whether your team wins or loses.
Before the Game
Before the game starts there is usually a bit of nervousness, no matter whether this is your first game or your thousandth. These quotes on volleyball will ensure that you are put in the right mindset to give your all and play to your maximum ability from the very moment the whistle is blown. Take note of just how important training is to become fully ready for the game, with particular emphasis on how important practice is in being fully prepared.
On being prepared
“There’s nothing worse than the feeling of wishing you had another chance at a play because you weren’t ready. Every athlete has those feelings to mull over, and over, and over… Don’t even expose yourself to the possibility of being caught off-guard.”
On having a mental edge
“Physically I’m not as strong as I was, but I try to make up for it mentally. It’s a big challenge, and I relish it, competing with guys half my age.”
On believing in yourself
“In other endeavors, you cannot succeed without believing in yourself, and that belief is completely under your control.”
On making each minute count
“Not everything you’re going to do in volleyball – or in life, for that matter – is exciting or fully functional, but if you have the willpower to make each minute count, you’ll benefit in some way. And it will make you a better player and a better person in the long run.”
Alan Knipe has had an impressive career as a player and a coach. As a player he was named to the All-America first team and also played for the US National Team in 1992 and 1993.
As a coach, he has won the AVCA National Coach of the Year and Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year awards, and has also coached the U.S. national team where he led the team to silver medals in the NORCECA Championships and FIVB World League.
On focusing on things you can control
“The best thing we can do is take care of the things we have control of and not be concerned with things we can’t. We can control our standard of training, preparation and commitment to executing our system at a high level each time we take the floor.”
On taking responsibility
“Superior athletes want to be accountable for their own results.”
John Kessel was named as one of the 50 most important people in the sport of volleyball in 1995 for all he has contributed to the sport. While he has been a coach at collegiate level and above since 1971, John is best known for his speaking duties, having spoken in every US state and over 50 nations. To put it bluntly, when John speaks people listen, and so should you.
On improving everyday
“You have to learn every day. You can’t be playing every day, but you can be practicing. If you cannot be practicing with a net and others daily, you still can be learning about the game by reading, watching and imaging. You must learn every day, if you want to be a real volleyball player.”
On the will to win
“The will to win is more important than the skill to win. It is possible to achieve only what you actively pursue. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. Keep your head high and work hard every day, because you’ll never get that day back.”
On traits winners have
“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”
– Paul Bryant
On winning as a process
“For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.”
– Emmitt Smith (NFL running back, 3x Super Bowl Champion and 1x Super Bowl MVP)
On being prepared
“The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”
– Bobby Knight (Winner of 902 NCAA Division 1 basketball games as coach and led the USA to gold in the 1984 Olympics)
During the Game
We would all love to take a commanding lead from the very first whistle and go from strength to strength as the game goes on, resulting in a comfortable win. Unfortunately, this rarely happens in every single game as some teams you meet you will blow out of the water from the get go, other games will be close, and others you will find yourself way behind in.
The most important things to remember are that you shouldn’t start blaming your teammates and at no point should you ever give up. The following volleyball quotes should serve as a gentle reminder on the correct attitude to play with.
On not being intimidated
“Sometimes your opponents will try to intimidate you by staring at you before they serve. You can avoid the cold-war tactics by staring at the ball instead of their eyes. It tells the server, “Hey, I’m ready for anything you’ve got – give it to me”.
Matey Kaziyski, nicknamed “The Emperor”, is a Bulgarian volleyball player who has played for 9 different teams in 6 different countries so far in his career. He has won over 30 medals, including both at club level and internationally, with the majority of the medals being gold, as well as 13 individual awards. We’re sure “The Emperor” will add to his collection in the years to come.
On playing as a team
“If someone in the team has problems, the other teammates have to make up for his bad day. It is part of every team sport, not just volleyball.”
On taking control
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn (American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker)
On what it takes to succeed
“Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.”
– Charles Finley (American businessman best known as the owner of the Oakland Athletics)
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
– Thomas Paine (One of the Founding Fathers of the USA, political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary)
On not giving up
“It’s always too early to quit.”
– Norman Vincent Peale (American minister and author, best known for the revolutionary “The Power of Positive Thinking.”)
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill (Prime Minster of the UK during WW2)
“Don’t give up at half time. Concentrate on winning the second half.”
– Paul Bryant
“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory.”
– Vince Lombardi (One of the greatest and most successful coaches in professional football history)
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
– Carl Bard
On what it takes to be great
“A good team can win a volleyball game when they are ahead, a great team can win when they are behind.”
“Don’t let the ball hit the ground without a body hitting the ground with it.”
After the Game
Everyone loves to win but sometimes things don’t turn out that way. It’s just as easy to get complacent and become arrogant when you win as it is to become disheartened when you lose and lose perspective. Therefore, win or lose make sure your attitude remains the same – one where you are constantly trying to improve.
On the importance of training
“When you’ve done everything you can to train yourself for competition, you’ll sleep well when the tournament is over, win or lose.”
– Kirch Kiraly
On recovering after a defeat
“We are all going to fall short. We are going to have some bitter losses, very painful defeats and failures. We have to use those to come back even stronger. That’s what makes it sweeter, when we can overcome those and figure out a way to win. The great teams can do that, and those are the gold medal winning teams.”
– Kirch Kiraly
On learning how to lose
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”
– William Rudolph (The first American woman to win three Olympic Gold Medals in a single Games)
“You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a six-time NBA champion)
On the plus side of losing
“You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.”
– Morgan Wootten
On never giving up
“I’ve certainly had periods when I felt like life was winning and I was losing, so I think everybody can relate to that quandary — the temptation to give in, to give up, and then what It takes to keep going.”
–Malcolm Gets (American actor)
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Chuchill
“Anyone can support a team that is winning – it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage.”
– Bart Starr (5x NFL Champion, 2x Super Bowl Champion)
On keeping perspective
“If you don’t succeed it doesn’t mean you are a failure. If you do succeed it doesn’t mean that you are king of the world.”
– David Beard
On redefining what winning means
“Winning is when you’ve given it all you’ve got, and it comes from the heart. You can never lose regardless of what the score reads.”
Funny Volleyball Quotes
Plenty of words of wisdom can be found in the dozens of quotes above, so we thought that it would be a good idea to take it down a notch and end the article in a light-hearted way by sharing some of the funniest (or cringiest!) volleyball quotes and jokes.
“Every volleyball player is a little bit psychopath, there are no normal people who would want to voluntarily dedicate their life to this sport.”
– Plamen Konstantinov (former Bulgarian volleyball player and captain of the Bulgaria men’s national team)
“Volleyball, I could be pretty good. After a few practices I could be that striker, or whatever they call it.”
– LeBron James (2x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP)
“If you serve up lollipops, you’re gonna get licked!”
“Volleyball is just a more intense version of ‘don’t let the balloon touch the floor’.”
“Some people say that soccer moms are crazy, but those people have never seen a volleyball mom.”
”Volleyball is not just a sport, it’s a way to express your anger without hurting someone.”
“If you wanted a soft serve, you should have gone to dairy queen.”
“You can hit it anywhere in Malibu.. just not in the net.”
“I wish love was like volleyball. You call ‘MINE’ and everyone backs off.”
“What is it called when volleyball practice is easy? Imagination.”
“Being a girl volleyball player means having stronger legs and a better vertical than most of the guys at your school.”
“Just forget it PRINCESS! Not even Cinderella is gettin’ to this BALL!”
“Pass like your life depended on it, set like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do, and spike like you’re hitting your ex-boyfriend.”
“Volleyball: Invented by men, perfected by women.”
“Pretty girls don’t play ball, so let’s get UGLY”
“If at first you don’t succeed… try doing what your coach told you to do the first time
“Oh volleyball is easy? Let’s see you make a perfect pass from a ball that’s flying 80mph at your face.”
“Feast on My Butter”
“You can hit on us, but you can’t score!”
“May your game be as tight as your spandex.”
I got 99 problems but a block ain’t one.”
“I’m a setter, not a miracle worker. I can’t help the fact you can’t hit my perfect set.”
“Did you need a Manucure with that Facial?”
“You wish you could hit like a girl.”
Just to let you know in advance, we apologize for these jokes!
Q: Why are fish bad at volleyball?
A: They are afraid of the net
Q: Why was Cinderalla taken off the volleyball team?
A: She ran away from the ball
Q: Why couldn’t the volleyball player cross the road?
A: There were too many bumps
Q: Why didn’t the nose make the volleyball team?
A: He didn’t get picked!
Q: Why does it take six players to carry the volleyball to a tournament?
A: Not one player can carry the volleyball and a whole team.
Q: “Don’t trust volleyball players with your drinks.”
“A: They might spike ’em.”
Q: What is the worst advice a coach could give at a nude volleyball tournament?
A: “Play hard.”
Q: What does a carpenter have in common with a volleyball player?
A: They both like to hammer spikes.
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