This is a tough period for many for multiple reasons, it could be health, loss of work or maybe just the mental struggles of having to be indoors for days on end. For others it could be the loss of a hobby or passion and I am assuming that for most of you reading this, the loss of playing the sport you love will be hurting you immensely and you are currently itching to get back on court as soon as you possibly can.
There is no winning and losing at the moment - which is great in lots of ways as WE CAN FOCUS ON THE LEARNING. I mean, we should always be thinking learning and growing our overall skills instead of the outcome but we all know that is easier said than done and happens over time and experience. Focusing on the learning doesn’t mean we don’t want to win it is actually far from it - it just means we try and take a different route and our focus is on figuring out as much as possible by using the knowledge that we have already acquired about ourselves, our game and the opposition.
It is my belief that if you focus on the learning, the fear of failure slowly disappears, we relax and are happy to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Instead of thinking about winning and the threat of losing, we think about the challenge a head and how we can become better player/person because of it.
I have been racking my brains and have come up with 5 quick ways that you can improve and learn during lockdown, all of which you can control yourself.
Reflection is in my opinion the most powerful tool. A coach's practice shouldn’t look the same as it did last year, a commentators commentary should ‘hopefully’ improve year on year and a players game/behaviour should evolve and the quicker that you make yourself evolve (Yes, You) the faster you will improve . Here are some things to maybe reflect on - which could help you become more successful.
• What are my strengths and weakness as a person and a partner and how can I improve?
• What effect do my actions have on my partners?
• How can I improve my weakness and make them into strengths?
• What can I do to improve my game as fast as possible?
• What can I do to access this knowledge?
• How can I make the most of my time to become successful at a later date?
I mean, we could go into way more detail but this is a good starting point and should give you a good understanding of where you are at the moment. You are the person that knows yourself the best and from here I advise you to simplify it and make a list of five things that you are going to change to improve your future self.
Get strong & be ready to restart. The UKBT have produced some great work out videos, so check them out. Here are some basic things that could work on to help you and you find stuff online to help you through workouts.
• Strengthen your Posterior Chain, it’s the most influential muscle group in the body(glutes, hamstrings, calfs, back) and there are lots of body things you can do online.
• Interval training (Skipping, Hills sprints)
• Agility, balance and co-ordination exercises
3. Watch Volleyball!!!!
If you want to be good at volleyball, you need to watch a ton of it. Here are some tips that could help:
• Figure Out Why To Every Action. Why are they serving like that? Why are they serving there? How does that serve impact the offence of the attacking team? It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes - the thought process will put you on the right track.
• Figure Out The How To Every Action. How do they pass so well? Watch an action from start to finish for example - Passing (What is the passer doing when the ball is in the servers hand, when they contact the ball, when the ball in the air and when the ball has been contacted) and try and find the key performance indicators (the how) to that action being successful?
• Learn How To Read The Game - can you start to get a grasp where the ball is going before it's gone there and how can you see that?
4. Listen To Or Watch Content Around Volleyball
Volleyball brains are bored too at the moment and are being really creative in their actions. There are no right or wrong answers out there, take it all in and then figure out what works for you. Make sure you make the most of this time as its rare to have all of these people sharing all of this knowledge.
Here are some of the things I watch/listen to and projects I will be helping with:
• Coach your brains out - I love this podcast, they are in season 5 ands there's lots of great knowledge in there to improve your overall knowledge of sport and learning.
• CEV The Ace Space - I am co-hosting this one and we will be hosting the best minds in the game to come on and talk volleyball.
• The Mckibbins Bros - Great channel to follow to improve your game and knowledge of the basics.
• Bounce Beach - have started to do some small interviews with players. Jake Gibbs was an awesome snippet.
5. Touch The Ball
Make sure you are getting your practice in - the myth has it that 10,000 hours of practice will make permanent - I am unsure if this is completely correct but what I do know, is that if every practice is really purposeful, challenging and transferable (Creates game environments and situations) then you have a chance. It is difficult to create these situations at this time but work on challenging your self, your technique and mind the same way in which a game would.
World Champion, Sarah Pavan has done a good job of this on her Youtube channel.(maybe skip the swing blocking though ;)) you can find the video here.
And finally remember, this is a great time to shift your mindset to be focusing on the learning - once this is over your challenge is to keep it that way.
I hope this has helped you and I look forward to doing a little more whilst we are all on lockdown
Deep Dish Head Coach