Is volleyball right for me? Find out now

It is a question that I get all the time as a volleyball coach. Volleyball is not for everyone as some people don’t like to run and jump around.  Let’s discuss what volleyball is and why you might like it or dislike it. At the end of this article, you will be able to decide if you will like volleyball or if you should pick another sport.

Volleyball is a ball sport

Volleyball requires a lot of practice. You are not going to be good at volleyball overnight. There are several layers to the game. You have to know how to handle the ball, how to play with the other players on your team, the rules of the game, potential strategies, and so on. It is also necessary to learn digging, which is a defensive move but also setting, which is an offensive move.

Since you have to take on all the roles in the field as you rotate over multiple positions, you have to be good at everything. In a lot of sports, you only focus on defense or offense but in volleyball, you have to get good at both if you want a place in the team. There is no excuse for not working on your weak points as these will be tested during a match. 

It is a spectacular sport, as can be seen below.

If you don’t enjoy playing with a ball, I would recommend another sport as this is the main goal of volleyball. There is some running involved but mostly you have to be able to handle the ball in the correct way so that it lands at the right height and in the correct position. This makes sure that your team members can pass or attack. 

Volleyball has clear rules. In some sports, the rules are fluid and there is room for interpretation. Was it a fault or not? In volleyball, the rules are very clear. If the ball is outside of the court, the point does not count. If it is inside the court, the point counts. If the player touches the net, he or she made an error. This makes volleyball a very interesting sport as the rules are black and white whereas in other sports it depends on the interpretation of the rules by the official. I really like that you are not able to cheat or push the boundaries of the rules in volleyball. The game has been played for a long time now and we all know what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Volleyball is not a contact sport

In some sports, it is possible to get injured because an opponent was using too much force. This is not possible in volleyball as you are each on another side of a net. It is possible to crash into your team members but this shouldn’t happen too often and it is often not that painful. Therefore I really like volleyball as you don’t have direct contact with your opponent. It is more about ball-handling technique and strategy than it is about raw muscle power. This can create very exciting back and forth matches where you can play for a long time before a point is being scored. You can be smaller or lighter than your opponent but you can still win as it is not all about the raw physical appearance of the players.  If you want a more physical sport where you can push and pull your opponent, you might want to take a look at football or basketball as you come in direct contact with your opponent during these games. 

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

Volleyball is a very athletic sport. You often have to dive to catch a ball that is almost hitting the ground. Just a moment later you have to jump very high to block the ball of your opponent. This means that volleyball is very intense and you will be tired after training.

There is not a moment of rest as the game goes very fast and you have to keep defending and attacking all the time. You can’t decide to take it easy for a moment as you don’t know where the opponent will point the ball towards. You have to be able to run during the whole game and be attentive. This is definitely not a sport for people that want a chill workout as you will have to move a lot during volleyball. 

Volleyball requires a lot of attention. The ball can move very fast in volleyball. You can be on the attack one moment and just a few seconds later you already have to defend. This requires a lot of attention for a long period of time. If you are a person that enjoys predictability or is easily distracted, volleyball might not be for you as it is a very dynamic sport during which things constantly change.

The game is played in 3 sets per game so even if you win one set by a lot of points, you can still lose the game if you don’t perform in the other sets. This means that you have to be on point during the whole match. Not everyone wants this as they just want to perform for a short period of time. You might want to look into sprinting if that is the case. 

Volleyball is a team sport

If you want to be a star athlete, volleyball might not be the right sport for you. Here you often have to pass to other players before you can score a point. It can happen that you block your opponent or have a great serve but in general other team members will be involved in defensive or offensive plays. Therefore it might not feel like you did all the work but this is part of volleyball. If you don’t like this, you might want to think about individual sports such as cycling, running or boxing.

In these sports, the outcome all depends upon your own actions. It can be frustrating if your team member does something stupid but this is part of the game. You will start to get a very strong bond with the other players over time as you learn together and win and lose games as a team. Someone that wants to hog the ball will not last very long in volleyball as other players will notice this and they will make a remark about it. 

Let’s take a look at some passing action below:

Does height matter for a volleyball player?

Being big can help a volleyball player as you need to get the net over the ball. At the same time, a lot of smaller players are able to play the game professionally because they are better at running or diving to get the ball. It is definitely a myth that volleyball players are all big giants that are able to get the ball over the net without any effort. If you can jump high, you can even compensate for the height difference. There are several exercises to improve your jumping height and this is definitely something that you should work on if you are a smaller volleyball player. 

You also need good ball-handling and strategic insight. These are also areas where smaller players can stand out. If you understand how to use an advanced attack to surprise the opponent, you can score a lot of points. Volleyball can be a very strategic game where you can make a lot of unexpected moves. So height can be an advantage in volleyball but is not the end all be all of the game. I have won from a lot of bigger players because they were not able to move as fast.

Volleyball involves a lot of tactics

Some training just consists of running in certain patterns to make sure that you understand the roles in volleyball (from libero to setter). This can be quite theoretical as you discuss several ways to defend and attack. For example, you can discuss a sequence in which you are going to pass or you can talk about how you are going to react if a specific defensive maneuver is needed.

This might sound quite boring as you have to think before you act. A lot of players just want to go with the flow and don’t want to follow the same pattern over and over again. If you plan to play volleyball professionally, you will have to spend a lot of time studying these tactics. If this is not for you, you might pick another sport such as running that is more solely focused on action and the movement itself. 

Players rotate over the court during the match, making it quite complex if you are still learning how this works.

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To conclude, we discussed several points that can determine if volleyball is right for you. If you enjoy playing with a ball, are a social person, and are dedicated to focusing and practicing for a longer period of time, volleyball can be right for you. You can also join a training session and see how it goes. If you don’t like it, you can always stop. A lot of clubs offer a free practice session so you can try the sport and afterward decide if you want to keep practicing it or try something else.

Every year I have multiple people join the training and afterward, they notice that they really like volleyball while they were unsure about this before the training. You have to experience it yourself to see if it is something for you. Just a warning, volleyball can be a lot of fun and before you know it, you have been playing it for several years. 

Volleyball will teach you a lot about life as well.