Progressing Through the Ranks of Volleyball
I just got back from evaluating at the USA High Performance tryout in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was evaluating the setters in the Junior and Youth National Team age group, and there was some great talent there!
The top court had some heavy hitters as well. I’ve been involved in the USA High Performance program for almost 15 years and it has been a joy to coach some great athletes who are now competing on the National Team.
If you have not been to a tryout, I would encourage you to do so! And if you will be seeing me at one of my camps this year, please feel free to ask about these tryouts, and what you can do to stand out. You might be surprised at the things coaches are looking for, and what impresses them the most.
Playing Volleyball Through Diversity
Something I’m always reminded of when evaluating players is the one thing that’s often hardest to control - consistency. We’ve had girls come to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado or New York playing great, and then they fall apart. It’s like they’ve become a different player. Unfortunately, at times we’ve left them at home as the rest of the team goes overseas to compete.
It’s so hard to watch another player take your spot, especially when your parents have bought tickets to come watch you play overseas.
In my own career, there was a period of several weeks while on the USA National Team that I couldn’t do anything right! I know how frustrating that is - everything you know, all that practice and the techniques you’ve memorized just leave you, and it seems like nothing you do can bring it back.
And I can see girls at evaluations who let the pressure of a bigger stage get to them. The game goes from being fun, to being full of pressure, because really, not many players like being evaluated!
Is Volleyball Your Life?
The causes for ups and downs often happen when volleyball is all that matters to you. In truth, a well-rounded person is able to focus better on volleyball because there are times when they can take their focus off of the game as well.
In saying that, I’m a bit hypocritical - volleyball has been my life since middle school. For me, it’s how I relax and forget my problems. If this is you, then evaluations and high-pressure events are probably fun, like they were for me. But not everyone plays for those reasons.
If you get stressed out and can’t play when in pressure situations, just remember this - the coaches are people too. And chances are, they’ve been in your position. They are your friends, not someone trying to keep you from having fun.
Because if it’s not fun anymore, why do it?