1. Agree on a goal
As a team, we need to be focused on the same goal. Teams that are united under a common cause always stretch forward as a team. The whole team needs to “buy in” and believe that this goal can be met. Once the team is united and focused on the team goal, the rest of the keys to success start to fall into place.
2. Your role on the team is not to improve just yourself, but to progress as a team
A team is only as strong as the weakest player on the court. Identify the players that need help, and give them the help and support they need. We do our best to select the very best players, but every player has strengths and weaknesses. Stronger players can help offset the weaker players. It is ok to give a helping hand on the court and help out with coverage, or blocking. Identify the areas you need to improve on, and strengthen them for the goal of the team. We win as a team, not as an individual!
3. If things aren’t going well, DON’T COMPLAIN!
There are going to be games or practices where things are not working out. Don’t blame anyone. Remember, we are a team. There is no room on the court for negativity. The number one cause of team “break-down” is negativity and the “blame game.” You no longer become a team, but become individuals loosing sight of the goal. Yes, this does include the parents! Remember that your children mimic your opinions because they respect you and trust your opinions. If you speak negatively about another player or the coach, it will shape their attitudes and feelings on the court.
4. Have Fun, Have Fun, Have Fun
We all start the season because we love the sport of volleyball. We enjoy it so much that we are willing to invest a lot of time, money, and energy into it. At times we lose focus of the enjoyment of volleyball due to over-competitiveness, on-court drama, egos, and selfishness. We need to recommit ourselves several times throughout the season to enjoy the game we love. Remember to celebrate the small improvements made on the court. After many small improvements you will be surprised how far you have come.
5. There are no bad teams, only bad team leaders
Guess what. Everyone on this team is expected to be a leader. Everyone leads in different ways and at different times. Never be afraid to step in and be a leader. If you wait for someone to step in as leader, many times they are doing the same and no leadership emerges.
6. If you want to look good, forget about yourself and make your teammates look good.
This is one of the hardest lessons to learn. Teamwork is contagious and it spreads like wildfire! Yes, it is even infectious. If you make your pass to the setter that is spot on it makes her look great, and she can return the favor by giving you an even better set! By getting great sets, how do you think it is going to make you look as a hitter? Do you see how making your teammate look good can make you look good.
7. Make sure we all live and breathe #6
8. Don’t be afraid to give it your all, it is expected
A matrix player is expected to give 100% every practice and game. We understand that there are outside influences that are constantly a distraction such as family life, heavy school loads, church responsibilities, and other influences. However, when we come through the gym doors we need to leave it all outside and give our best. Your teammates are depending on you to concentrate at the task at hand and perform to your best ability.
9. Don’t be afraid to fall flat on your face
That’s the best part of being on a great team. If you fall, your team will be there to help you back up and encourage you to try again. It is ok to struggle, while your teammates help you through your obstacle. Remember to do the same for your teammates when they need it.
10. Be an example for other teams
We have had the opportunity to play many teams over the past few years. Some have been gracious and others have been outright rude! Let’s remember who we represent and treat other teams with respect and courtesy. Do we want to be the team remembered as the “mean team”, or do we want to be the one that is the “cool team”? It is ok to be happy for the other team if we battled it out and they won. Everyone is trying to win, and there can only be one winner. The question is; Did our team do our best and leave it all on the court?