3 Myths in Junior Volleyball
Ryan Miller - Ballistic Club Director
There are common pitfalls while navigating the murky waters of juniors volleyball. Heres how to avoid 3 of them:
Tip: Keep ties with the community. I’m not saying you should ever stay with a bad experience, but also don’t leave a good experience on a whim. There’s always this strange perception that there is some incredible opportunity awaiting somewhere else. The problem with this kind of mentality is it literally separates your athlete from their peers in a bad way. It also deprives your athlete of taking responsibility for their own success. Your athlete has plenty of opportunity to better themselves every day. Your athlete will likely spend the most amount of time and have most of those learning moments playing with their peers. They need to absorb and adapt. They need to learn how to be positive leaders and cope with adversity. You and your athlete should find local coaches they trust and have access to so they can work together on issues. Whether your athlete is in the top percentile or not, they always will have something to contribute and have something to work on. The essence of developing at the fastest possible rate is not about stacking the deck and eliminating obstacles. It’s about the individual athlete learning how to best use their strengths, then they will be able to pinpoint and whittle away at their weaknesses. But as I mentioned before, don’t stay in a toxic environment either. If there is no light at the end of the tunnel you are in the right to seek out a different opportunity.
Tip: Keep your emotions in check. It’s natural for club directors and coaches (or parents who have already taken a dive) to want success and separate themselves from the pack. But be perceptive of when their persuasions turn into fibs. Don’t be suckered, bullied, or sold-out by anyone who uses your emotions to persuade you. They may use every trick in the book. Your athletes skills and adaptations to tough situations are the biggest things that will drive their success. Bigger clubs does not always mean more success or opportunity. Higher cost does not always equate to better quality or faster development. The two most common and diabolical mechanisms of persuasion (that unfortunately work!) are flattery and fear-mongering… beware.
If you ever have questions or concerns, seek answers from someone you trust and who is invested in your athlete, not from hearsay. When you’ve been at the club for years, the club is deeply invested in your athlete. The question to ask is from the beginning to end of season did you see progress? If the answer is yes, keep doing what you are doing!
Tip: Find a great process and it will eventually lead to confidence. Volleyball is a great equalizer of the truth. If you or your player is overconfident, the truth will quickly come to light. If you or your athlete lack enough confidence, it may be because they are seeking something that does not quite fit reality. Thirdly, if your athlete is in the upper echelon of skill but confidence still seems weak, they need to work on positive self-talk methods. Instead of acting confidently they are using a coping mechanism to prepare for a let-down. Skill and confidence belong together. Neither can be crammed in, faked or replicated! To avoid deviations, seek out and find a great process that you believe in and keep at it! Confident or not, the one thing that you do have control over is your effort today and every day from here forward. Do what you can do and you will find confidence and skill become synonymous.
Myth #1: Elitist Complex
“My athlete needs to play with older players to make them better.” “They need play on a national team.” They need the club to push them harder. “My athlete needs to go to ________ (far-away) club.”
Myth #2: Gimmicks
“This coach or parent says they have a better team and my athlete would fit perfectly on it.” “They say we have a greater chance of being recruited if we go out there.”
Myth #3 Confidence:
“We are worried about making the team unless we do something drastic immediately.” “My athlete is not getting playing time and it’s ruining her confidence!” “My athlete needs to be more confident.”