One of the main reasons why volleyball is such a fun sport to both coach and play is because when it comes down to it, volleyball really is a team sport that requires a cohesive unit to have any success. It’s therefore important to get players to understand and really internalize a team-first philosophy.
Here are 6 ways a coach can develop an unbreakable team bond.
Praise the Team
Sure, on the surface it might look like the opposite hitter gets all the glory as they most often win the point, but that play wouldn’t have been possible without some excellent defensive work at the back of the court, or the setter whose delicate touch perfectly set up the ball.
While casual fans might not appreciate the player who doesn’t score the point as much, as the coach you want to make sure the entire team is appreciated. Therefore, during practices recognize and praise team effort more than you do any individual player. If you do this, players soon understand that each of them has a vital role to play when scoring a point.
It’s great for a player to be praised by their coach. But do you know what is even better? For a player to be praised by their teammates whose opinion they probably care more about (don’t take it personally!), want to have a stronger bond with, and see more often throughout the school day.
A great way to promote peer praise is to encourage players to give high-fives and say things like “Nice hustle” or “Great pass” to each other.
You may want to share the following quote with your players: “The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Just because a player is sitting on the sidelines, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be involved in the game. Encourage players who aren’t on the court to cheer and support their teammates to provide that extra push and encouragement when they need it. The players will probably value this support more than the fans sitting in the stands.
Spread the Captaincy
As a coach, it can be easy to just rely on a couple of players to serve as team captains throughout the season. But if you’re coaching a group of young kids, it’s a better idea to give all players the opportunity to be the captain or take on other various leadership roles by leading warmups, for example.
In sport, it is the attackers who get plenty of praise through cheers and applause from the fans – and volleyball is no exception. This is why you want to make sure that after the game you spend some time praising other players, like the player who might not have touched the ball much but hustled really well to keep the point going.
Recognizing and praising these plays and players goes a long way in reinforcing the idea that volleyball is a team sport, and it isn’t just the player who has the final touch that wins games.
Give the Players a Small Gift
Buying an inexpensive gift like some volleyball-related keychains or hair ties can go a long way in forming a stronger bond between the players and letting them know that they’re all part of the team. Check out our best gifts for volleyball players for some ideas.