Refocusing Quickly in Volleyball
Mistakes during a volleyball match seem to be pretty inevitable.
Volleyball is a game of mistakes…
You’ll never see a match, even at the professional and Olympic level that didn’t include a few errors. Whether it be a missed serve, a shanked ball, or an error on the block; even the best, most skilled volleyball players fault.
In volleyball you’re always going to have a “next ball.” As a DS/Libero, hitter, setter, blocker, server; there’s continuously something coming to you.
Have you ever made an error, shanked a ball in serve receive for example, and were still thinking about that mistake as the next serve receive ball was heading towards you?
Right, happens to the best players.
As a result of that dwelling on the last mistake, you might make another error on the very next ball.
Additionally, if you just smashed an awesome set into the net as an outside hitter, and then had to pull back for serve receive, you’d be thinking so much about the great set you just bombed that you wouldn’t be able to focus on the next ball coming towards you.
This happens regularly in the game of volleyball and many players struggle to refocus quickly and let go of a mistake immediately. In turn, errors continue to build and you reach a point where you feel like you’ve dug yourself a hole.
The difference in great players making a mistake and good players making a mistake is their ability to instantly let go of that mistake.
Take Destinee Hooker for example… If you’re a volleyball enthusiast, you might recognize her name. Destinee was a standout at the University of Texas (volleyball and track and field- high jump) and went on to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
She earned a Silver Medal in those games and was also recognized as the Best Spiker, with a .379 hitting efficiency. Destinee currently plays professionally in Brazil and maintains the level of her competition and success.
She’s an athlete that brings a consistent game. When talking with her about errors and coming back or dwelling on a mistake, she said, “Every error in a game is crucial. I don’t have that mindset (to dwell) because errors happen. It’s part of the game. I’m a rare athlete. I don’t dwell. I just let it go and keep playing.”
After a mistake, Destinee is able to instantly drop it and refocus on her next ball. Due to this strength in her game, she’s excelled as a volleyball player; playing at the most elite level.
To simply say, “Let go of that mistake,” is easy, right?
The actual “letting go” of the mistake can be a bit more difficult for players. You have to understand your belief and emotional connection to an error.
For example, if you shank a pass and believe you let your team down and that your coach will now bench you, you’re going to feel pretty upset and frustrated with that error.
However, if you shank a pass and believe it’s part of the game, even the pros do it, you’ll feel more positive toward the mistake and be able to recover more easily.
Also, you want to have a cue phrase that is relevant to executing your very next task following an error.
For instance, a word or phrase that relates to your next responsibility on the court, like, “Next ball,” “Feet to ball,” or, “Quiet platform.”
Making errors for a volleyball player is a steady occurrence.
There’s no way past it. Although, your ability to let them go is what takes you to your next level.
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Boost Your Self-Confidence With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Expert mental game coach Dr. Megan Melchiorre can help you overcome your volleyball mental game issues with personal coaching.
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Dr. Megan Melchiorre is a mental game coach specializing in volleyball and is the newest member of the Peak Performance Team starting in office May, 2018. She competed collegiality in volleyball and coaches club volleyball teams. You can learn more about our mental coaching programs for volleyball players here.