10 Jan A Message from Gators Club Director
At Gators Volleyball Club, our motto is “People First, then Volleyball”. This is one of the first things I talk about whenever I describe the club to a new athlete or coach interested in getting involved. The motto embodies our values of personal improvement, a growth mindset, and a sense of community. From a coaching perspective, this translates to a focus on process, rather than outcomes. By focusing on the processes by which we coach, manage a match, or run our programs, we devote more of our attention to things over which we have some control, rather than things we cannot control.
U12 Black: Impressive at Spikefest in Springfield
A perfect example of this approach was at Spikefest in Springfield. Our U12 Power Team was the only U12 team in the entire U14 division. In order to prepare the team for this competition, we redesigned practices to get them used to the higher net and heavier ball. Those were things we could control.
What we could not control was the opponents – indeed we never can. When it came time to play the matches against the older teams, we felt it would be more important than ever to de-emphasize the scoreboard by focusing on something our athletes could control – playing as a team. Instead of discussing or looking at the scoreboard, the coaches instead kept track of how many times the girls used all three touches, pass-set-spike, to get the ball over the net. By focusing our attention on and keeping track of the process of teamwork – something we can control – the girls stayed focused on playing good volleyball regardless of the outcome. In fact, they ran our “score” up by using the pass-set-spike teamwork 329 times over the course of the weekend! Take a look at this video for an example of an exciting rally they experienced during a match during that weekend.
The U12 team did end up winning a couple matches that weekend, which was a nice bonus. However, my favorite moment was when they won their first set, and they were momentarily confused about why the game ended because they had not been looking at the score. Trusting your teammates, working together, and confidently using your skills is the best way to play volleyball, just as it is with many things in life. The learning and improvement we see among out athletes during the season is the real gold we seek.