If you plan to partake in a volleyball competition, it is important that you are prepared. This means that your equipment is ready but also that you are ready to play for a long period of time.
Therefore it is needed that you go over several items to make sure that you have everything handled before you set a step on the court. Let’s go over what needs to be done.
Can you play volleyball with long nails?
The question every volleyball coach gets is: “How do I play volleyball with long nails?”
My answer is that you can’t.
One of the things that I always tell my players is that they have to cut their nails before the game starts. While they can be beautiful, it is possible to scratch your team members if you have long nails.
You have to move a lot during a game and it can happen that you dig/dive for a ball close to someone else. If you have long nails, this could touch them and lead to a bad feeling.
It is also safer for you as tearing a nail can hurt as well. Finally, it might even be possible to damage the volleyball itself if you have really long nails.
Some players are really disappointed when they hear this because they enjoy having long nails. I understand that you might have other preferences but this is one of the sacrifices that you have to make as a volleyball player.
In the off-season, you can grow them longer but when we have a competition or are training, you have to cut them. Other coaches might be more open-minded about this and mention that it is OK to have long nails if there are no competitive games planned in the coming weeks.
If you play in a competition, some referees might check your nails and ask them to cut them.
They want to avoid injuring your team members and will therefore make sure that you don’t have long nails during a game. I have seen it happen where a girl had to cut her nails just before the game started as the referee was demanding this.
In most cases, the rules of tournaments and competitions also state that you can’t have long nails.
Professional volleyball players don’t have long nails as they know that this is not a good practice if you are part of a team and have to move close to each other. You can try getting fake nails and removing them before a game if you really want to have long nails.
This can become expensive and quite a hassle but can work if it is something that you really want or if you have to go to a party where long nails would fit.
Equipment: what should you prepare?
If you have long nails, you should consider bringing a nail cutter and file. If the referee or coach asks that you cut your nails, you will be able to do this. If you can’t cut your nails, it is possible that you can’t play.
It is important to bring enough water so that you can drink after training or a game. Therefore I always bring a big bottle with me when I go to the training.
Other than that, I also make sure that I have some spare pants and underwear. This will make sure that I can change if something happens. It can also help out a team member in need.
Sometimes they forget their pants and they will be very grateful to use yours. What is also important is that the clothes are washed often enough. It is not a lot of fun to have to wear smelly clothes. Before I leave I always check if everything is in my bag so that I don’t have to stress when I arrive at the sports facility.
If you wear equipment such as arm pads, be sure to check if they are still in good condition from time to time. It is really annoying if you are in the middle of a competitive game and suddenly your arm pad is breaking.
This can really break your rhythm and therefore you have to avoid this at all costs. You have to check all your equipment and shoes at least once a month to see if there are big tears or other damage that could break them. Not a lot of people do this but it is really important to maintain your equipment.
Bringing enough towels is important as well. Sometimes you sweat a lot and it can be useful to wipe off the sweat as it can make the ball slippery.
If you serve and you miss because your hand was moist, you will feel bad. Therefore make sure that you have a towel close by so that you can use it if needed. Some people use arm sleeves to do wipe off the sweat and this can work as well.
You also have to bring enough elastics so that your hair isn’t annoying you while you play. Be sure to comb your hair in advance and check what type of tail works for you. It might be necessary to go to the barber to make sure that it has a decent shape.
Make sure that you can focus on the game itself.
Life can be busy and you might be distracted by things at school or at work. Small things can spin around in your head and create a lot of distraction. Before you go to the training, make sure that you have written down what is going through your head.
You can also do some breathing exercises to calm down. Ideally, you don’t think about anything while you play volleyball. Experts call this a flow state. This means that everything just flows and you don’t have to think about other things or what is going on.
The ball comes, you know how to react and do so in a calm manner. If something unexpected comes up, such as a ball that lands in a different direction, you are able to deal with it as you are in the moment itself.
Being present and aware will improve your game a lot. A lot of players get distracted and therefore they react too late. If you are able to focus only on the ball, your team members and your opponent, everything will go a lot smoother.
I have seen a lot of players thinking about other things while they are on the court and it affects their game. If you notice that it happens to you, accept it and take a deep breath in. Exhale and focus on the ball. This will make sure that you can focus again on the game itself.
This can make the difference between winning and losing. There are a lot of things going on during a game and sometimes parents can be quite loud. Make sure to block out these distractions. This might take some time and practice but eventually, you will be able to ignore these and focus on your role in the team.
Games take quite a lot of time and it is not possible to notice every detail but try to see patterns. What opponent is weaker? How do they react to certain moves? What combination works really well? If you notice these, you can take advantage of them and use them to score a lot of points. Often players are thinking about other things in their life instead of what is going on during the game itself.
Volleyball is a team sport
Check up on your team members. How are they feeling? Is someone looking sad? You can talk to them and see what is going on. Sometimes there is a conflict between players.
If you want to become the captain of the team, you can try to find a solution to these problems. This is for more advanced players as beginners might want to focus on their own game. If you are able to do this though, you are increasing the chances that your team will win by a lot.
You can play great but if your team members are not working together, you won’t win. Try to discuss the strategy that the coach mentioned with your team members to see how you can implement it. Maybe they didn’t understand it completely or they want to hear more about a certain nuance of the strategy.
There are also several drills to build the team spirit:
By talking about it and showing them how it should be done, you will be able to avoid confusion and make sure that everyone is on the same page. My coach often said ‘reduce uncertainty, provide direction’.
As a team player, you have to make sure that your other team members know what they have to do and are not confused by a new strategy or position. This is one of the reasons why I always arrive earlier when I go to a game or training. It allows me to talk to my team members and see what is going on with them.
Sometimes they need to talk about what is going on in their life before they can focus on the game itself. Their dog might have run away or they might have an issue at school. If they are able to talk about it, this already helps a lot. After this, they are able to focus on the game again.
Don’t eat just before you start the training as this can affect your game. It is also a great idea to warm up already. You can already perform some drills at home. For example, you can warm up your fingers by holding the ball and turning it around.
You can also already try some serves as this is something that you often have to practice by yourself as there is not a lot of time for this during training. If you are already ready to go when the training starts, you will be at an advantage.
If you are competing for a spot on the team, your coach will see that you are prepared to go the extra mile and do some extra drills before the training (see here for more about this). You can ask your coach what you can work on and perform these exercises before the training starts.
This will make sure that you know what to focus on during the training or game. Improving a sticking point by focusing on it can really make sure that you improve quite rapidly.
In this article, we discussed some ways to prepare yourself for a volleyball game or training. This goes from cutting your hair and nails to making sure that your equipment is ready to prepare yourself and your team members. There are a lot of things that go in a good game or training.
Make sure that you check all of these before you leave for the sports arena. This can make you calmer during training and avoid distractions that can knock you off your game. All these small aspects add up and can be the difference between winning a game with a few points or losing it with a few points.