As a volleyball coach who will come across all kinds of kids who will fit into one of the following descriptions. Being aware of the kids you deal with is important. It can go a long way in making sure that you have positive interactions with them and are able to coach them as effectively as possible.
The Average Kid
No surprise that most of the kids who you come across as a coach are your average, everyday kids. These kids enjoy playing volleyball and often signup because their friends do. They’re well-behaved and are happy to learn from you, play for you, and generally take in all the guidance and instruction you provide.
Over the course of a season or two, you might see some of these kids either develop a real love and passion for the game, or they will decide that volleyball isn’t right for them and move on.
The best way of coaching these kids is to make the experience of playing volleyball a fun one but to still take the time to positively challenge them and develop their skills. Show that you care about them as individuals and let your passion for the sport shine through.
The Inattentive Kid
While not all kids will be inattentive, just know that the younger the child the shorter their attention is likely to be.
As it can be hard to keep these kids attention for long periods of time, it’s important that you are able to come up with fun and creative skills to keep interest and excitement levels high.
The Shy Kid
You know you’re dealing with a shy kid when they avoid contact, don’t ask for help, are quiet, and do everything they can to not draw attention to themselves. You may have even been a shy kid yourself, so you can probably relate to wanting to blend into the background.
The key to dealing with these shy kids is to be patient as you slowly work to get them out of their shells. Pushing too hard will just scare shyer players away and might even further isolate them.
The Kid Who is Scared of Getting Hurt
Even adults who play a casual game of beach or backyard volleyball know that the ball can sting the arms and hurt. Not to mention the soreness that comes from sprinting and diving all over the court. So, it’s no surprise that many kids are also afraid of getting hurt.
Besides making sure that the kids you coach wear protective gear like elbow pads and knee pads to minimize any bumps and bruises, let them know that a little pain shouldn’t affect their enjoyment of the sport. It’s just like scrapping their knee on the playground. Sure, it hurt a little at the time, but it hasn’t stopped them from continuing to go out there every day and have fun.
Yep, that’s right. Unfortunately, you may come across a bully on the team who affects the enjoyment of all the other players. The first thing you need to do is actually be able to spot who the bully is as sometimes their behavior is more apparent before and after practice instead of during it.
The key to coaching the bully is to speak with them away from the team. Let them know that they must change their behavior and channel that energy into playing. Instead of making fun of their teammates, it’s better to encourage and support them so the team becomes stronger.
The Talented Kid
It’s pretty easy to spot the most talented kid on the team. You will know, their teammates will know, and they will probably know too.
When coaching a player who is clearly more advanced in their skill development than others, make sure that you don’t constantly single them out for praise because it can affect and alienate other members of the team. Remember that a talented kid may also feel more pressure that can take the fun out of volleyball. So make sure that the emphasis is still on enjoyment and a love of the game.
The Ball Hog
The ball hog is the player who can’t get enough of going after every single ball, even though they have five other teammates to rely on. They want to do it all, but this can affect the enjoyment of everyone else. Not to mention, any tactics you have soon go out the window.
To help the ball hog become more of a team player, make sure you emphasize the importance of communication and teamwork. Additionally, encourage the players to yell out when the ball is in their area of the court and theirs to hit. Soon everyone on the team will understand their role and the value of teamwork.
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