How to be a good volleyball player (answered)

Being a good volleyball player can have its advantages. You can gain respect from your other team members, you might make the team, make your parents proud, or just make yourself feel good. All of these are valid reasons for wanting to get better at volleyball. How can you be the best player that you can be?

How to be a good volleyball player

Be realistic

There is no magic trick or special drill that will improve your game overnight. You will have to put in the work and time. Even if you don’t want to, you will have to show up for training and perform all the exercises to the best of your ability. You have to be honest with yourself. Do you really want to put in all that effort? If you are doubting, maybe it is not for you. There has to be a burning desire in you because you will have to deal with a lot of disappointments along the way. If you want to keep going despite these, you will need to have a strong internal drive that pushes you to keep going even if a lot of things are going wrong. 

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Compare only with yourself

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to see other players on your team doing very well. They might have started a lot earlier or just be more talented. You have to accept where you are and start from there. We all wished that we started earlier but we can’t change that. We can only begin today and build from there.

It is a great idea to write down what you are learning. In that way, you see the progress that you are making. If you are in the midst of it, you sometimes feel that things are not moving fast enough and this can be frustrating. You often evolve more and faster than you notice. Therefore it is a good idea to have a logbook that allows you to track your progress. 

You also have to trust the process. A lot of things take time and you just have to perform the drills. If you constantly switch between training schedules, it will not work. Use the one that you have and stick with it. It is easy to get distracted by a new trend or new ideas. Stick with what works and trust that you are making the required progress. 

Train every day

A lot of it comes down to consistency. If you train every single day, you will make a lot of gains. You can (in theory) improve 7 times as fast if you do so as someone that only trains once a week. All of these gains compound over time so you will make a lot more progress than players that don’t have this drive to train every day. 

Let’s take a look at how Racheal Adams, a player for Team USA improved and eventually became a pro:

For me, this helped me a lot as I gained confidence after repeating the same drills over and over again. I started to feel that I knew what I was doing. This confidence made it a lot easier to play volleyball as I didn’t have to think when a ball came my way as I knew what I had to do. Other players often have small moments of indecisiveness that is costing their team a lot of points.

If you train often, you will get into a certain flow and things will be easier as you have made the same movements over and over again.  

Train with friends

Volleyball is a team sport. You can’t learn everything by playing on your own. Therefore it is a great idea to invite friends and play together. This will make you realize how volleyball players move and how you can communicate with them. There is a lot of nonverbal clues that you can provide to show what you will do. This can avoid a lot of confusion and make sure that the other players on the team know what you are going to do. This can make the difference between catching and dropping a ball and is an essential skill.

You will also have to learn how to deal with team dynamics. Volleyball players often have big egos and you might insult them without knowing it. This can only be learned by being part of the team and by talking to other players. Spend a lot of time with the other members of your team to see how they are doing and what they are thinking. You can read books about team communication and team management to get better at this. Becoming the captain of your team is also a great idea as this will provide you with a lot of insights into the team dynamics. 

There are drills to work on your communication with other players:

Ask your coach for advise

Your coach often knows what your points of improvement are. This person can help you with these by offering advice. Sometimes it is mental blocks or some insights that you need that need to be resolved. You can often ask your coach all the questions you have. Everyone has doubts and a coach can often share personal stories about how they were able to grow as a volleyball player. 

Film yourself

Another great way to improve your volleyball skills is by filming yourself. You can ask someone in the audience to film you and create short clips. This allows you to see what movements you are making and to compare this with how professionals do it.

Sometimes small nuances such as hand positions or timing can have a big outcome on where the ball lands. You can rewatch your own actions and the reactions of the opposing team over and over again to see which parts can be improved upon. You can implement these changes and tape them again to study them. This creates a fast feedback loop that will allow you to learn a lot faster than other players. 

This takes quite a lot of work and dedication but can be a great way to experiment with different playing styles. Every player has his or her own approach to playing volleyball and you have to find your own unique strengths. 

Hire a personal trainer

If you really want to make a lot of progress, it can be a good idea to hire an experienced personal trainer that gives you personalized attention and exercises. These can help you to grow rapidly. You have to make sure that you hire someone with experience as a lot of good players are not good at coaching other players as they can’t explain what they are doing.

Coaching is a skillset on its own so make sure that you work with an experienced person if you decide to make this investment. 

Watch professional games.

On youtube, it is possible to watch professional games or highlights of games. Watching these can give you some insights into how these players approach a match and what movements they make. This will also provide you with a lot of tactical insights that you can implement yourself.

For example, faking a smash can distract your opponents and send them in the wrong direction. All these techniques can be seen when you watch a professional volleyball game. I would recommend that you start with games by the USA Olympic team as they did great. 

There are several reasons why you might want to improve your volleyball game. From making others proud to make yourself feel important. These are all good reasons. In this article, we discussed some ideas that can help you to improve your volleyball game and become a better player overall. They take time to implement but you will notice the progress over time if you are willing to put in the work.