1 Step to Making the Team – Volleyball Tryouts
FOR VOLLEYBALL ATHLETES:
I have written on this before, but with seasons starting up again, I wanted to try and help those of you that are preparing for volleyball tryouts.
The single most important factor in making your high school or club volleyball team is EFFORT.
EFFORT is defined as “a rigorous or determined attempt.” What I suggest is that you give more effort than you ever have in a volleyball practice or game when you show up at tryouts. Effort is the most easily recognized “talent” that a coach can see. I call it a talent because as a coach, it is hard to teach effort. We can motivate, encourage and support our players, but we cannot force our players to give intense effort.
If you are new to a high school volleyball team or volleyball club, the coaches generally have only a short period of time to evaluate you. The impression you make in the first few hours is very important as many decisions are made during this very first day. Everything from position to playing time is often thought of in a coaches mind as tryouts evolve.
If you are going to give your very best effort in a volleyball tryout, you must be giving it your all, all the time. An athlete that plays hard in a scrimmage, but then is the last to finish when its time for conditioning is not giving their all. What coaches are looking for is some kind of natural talent that you may possess that they can cultivate and turn into an elite volleyball player. Natural talent is often visible in the ability of an athlete to run. By giving your all in tryouts, the coach can have confidence that you are a hard worker and are going to be able to work hard at learning the skills the way they want you to.
If you are a returning player or bench warmer wanting more playing time, EFFORT is going to be critical to this process. Each year as a coach enters tryouts, they give every athlete a window of opportunity. You and your coach may know that you weren’t as good as some of the other athletes the previous season, but showing more effort than your teammates sheds new light on this subject. As I mentioned before, EFFORT is going to be the most dramatic visible improvement you can make between seasons. In all likelihood, you didn’t go from average skills as a bench warmer to elite skills over the summer, so to get recognized you must give added effort to stand out from the crowd.
WHEN TO GIVE EFFORT:
Effort is demonstrated in many ways. Effort to follow instructions during tryouts is very important. If a coach teaches a skill or asks you to do something in practice it is critical that you give your best effort to do what is asked. Think if I ask you to go to the store and buy me a birthday cake for my grandma. You say “Sure!” I get super excited because you are going to help me accomplish my goal of being a great grandson. Now you come back from the store without a birthday cake. I ask why and you say, “Oh, I forgot.” Immediately I get disappointed and in addition I probably won’t ask you to do anything for me again. Volleyball is exactly the same. If a coach asks that you don’t flip your wrists, you act like you understand, and then you continue doing it for the rest of tryouts, he/she will lose confidence in you. The coach will no longer trust you to be able to do what is asked. If you stop flipping your wrists, the coach will get excited that your are trying to help them accomplish their goal.
In between play effort is critical. Many girls and boys I coach often try hard in games but when it comes to anything else, their effort is disappointing. If you want to gain the advantage at a tryout, you must give extra effort any time possible. An impressive girl I coached last week during volleyball camp showed some great effort. We spoke of the importance of practicing movement for liberos in between plays. Not standing up, but rather remaining in ready position. As we went through our next digging drill, the coach was attacking balls at a line of girls trying to learn a double knee drive. As this athlete rotated between the front of the line and the back of the line, she remained in defensive position. She worked on shuffling her feet and staying low at close to a 90% of maximum. She stayed in ready position in the line as she waited for her turn. While other girls witnessed this, no other girls chose to do the same. This is the type of effort that stands out! This girl was not the very best libero in camp, in fact she had some difficulty following the first rule of advice that I suggested above. But, given the amount of effort she was willing to put into one silly little drill, I would have chosen her for any of my team immediately.
IS THIS JUST A QUICK TRICK?
While you may think that effort is only a trick to get you on a team, I might agree if you only gave effort during the tryout. Continued effort throughout the season will give amazing results. You see, I have never witnessed a lazy athlete that progressed more than a hard working athlete. It may be that and athlete that came into the season with much more skill was able to keep their starting spot, but progression is attached to effort. Individual maximum efforts are difficult to measure, but what I can guarantee is that as you push your levels of maximum effort each day, what you did the day before will become easier and easier.
Good luck to you all at tryouts this and every season!
See you on the court!