Volleyball is a great sport but it is definitely not perfect. No hobby or sport is and volleyball definitely has its flaws. Let’s go over some of the things that you have to be aware of before you decide to pick up volleyball as a hobby. This will make sure that you know what you are getting into before you buy the equipment.
Tight knit teams
Players on a team are often very close as they have been playing together for years. It can be difficult to get accepted into a team. You might be competing for the position on the field of one of their best friends. This can lead to a lot of jealous behaviors and could make you feel unwelcome. Sometimes it is just best to switch teams and go to a team that is more open to newcomers.
There are also often a lot of rumors and gossip in volleyball teams. Players know each other quite well as they have to spend a lot of time together and some players enjoy launching stories and rumors about other players. If you don’t have a good coach or open communication between players, this can lead to big conflicts.
Some players also have big egos and if they don’t get the pass, they can be very upset as they believe that it is their right to score a point. It can be challenging to deal with this and you will have to have a lot of insight into psychology and social dynamics if you want to deal with all of this. For some people, this is too much and they prefer sports that they can play on their own. That way they don’t have to bother with other players. If they have a bad day, it doesn’t affect your outcome.
It takes a lot of time before you get good at it
You will have to spend a lot of time practicing volleyball before you get any good at it. There are a lot of rules that you need to know. Furthermore, there are several offensives and defensive techniques that you have to master. Since you are playing in a rotation, it is not possible to focus exclusively on defense or offense as you have to play on all the positions on the field. If you are not good at certain passes or interceptions, you might lose your spot on the team. Therefore it can take a long time for a new player before they can make the team.
Let’s take a look at some drills:
You will have to practice the same drills over and over again to improve your hand-eye coordination. This can get quite boring after a while but if you want to improve your volleyball skills, you will have to put in the time.
Some people prefer to play sports where they see faster progress. Volleyball is a difficult sport to get good at so this might not be the right hobby for you if you want to see fast results.
Difficult to play after your thirties
You have to jump, leap and run around a lot when you play volleyball. This can be harder once you get older. A lot of players, therefore, prefer to stop playing volleyball in a competition once they hit their thirties. They can still play casual games but high-intensity competitive games are often not possible at that point in time as you get slower and are not able to jump as high anymore. This can be frustrating as you have spent so much time perfecting your technique but are not able to play at the highest level anymore.
Once you start to play on a lower level, the other players might not be that good and it is often not that much fun anymore. This is why a lot of players stop when they are in their thirties. At that point, they also often have less time to devote to this hobby and therefore decide to stop altogether. Once the team starts to break apart, it is difficult to keep going as you are losing all the great friends that you have made over the years.
Other sports such as bowling can still be performed at the same level when you get older. These sports don’t require that much muscle movement and can be played for several decades.
No way to play it professionally in the USA
If you are great at a lot of sports, you are able to play them professionally in the USA. From football to baseball and basketball. You can even earn a lot of money by being an athlete. At the moment there is no professional competition for volleyball in the USA. You will have to go to Europe or Asia if you want to play volleyball as a job. This might change in the future but at this point in time, it is not completely certain that it will. Therefore it would be a big risk to take if you are counting on this. Some of the bigger sports brands don’t even produce volleyball gear because they think that the market is not big enough. This provides an indication that volleyball is still a sport that has to grow.
Volleyball doesn’t get as much respect in the USA as other sports as it is still gaining popularity.
Luckily the USA Olympic volleyball team is performing very well so we could see more interest in this sport in the coming years.
You will have to dive a lot if you want to defend in volleyball. This means that you will get in contact with the floor a lot. You can wear arm sleeves and knee pads to reduce this impact but you will still feel it. Especially if you plan to play volleyball on hard surfaces (such as concrete), this might leave an impact for a few days.
This is also something that can impress younger players and make them afraid to really go after a ball as they think that they won’t be able to stick the landing. This requires a lot of trial and error before you get good at it. This is something that can’t be avoided and floor contact is an essential part of volleyball. Even professional players wear knee pads as you just can’t avoid hitting the ground when you play volleyball.
You can run into other players as well but the hardest hits will come from when you hit the floor. It is possible that you have to end your match if you do it in the wrong way.
This might be less of an issue if you plan to play beach volleyball or pool volleyball as these undergrounds are a lot softer. If you play on grass, this is also less of an issue as you can slide and avoid a big impact.
Hard to get started
You need to learn a lot of skills if you want to start. You have to be able to set, pass, dig and block. You have to learn underhanded and overhand passes. All of these have specific techniques and rules and regulations that affect them. Therefore it can be quite overwhelming to start playing volleyball as you have to learn about all of these. You also have to learn how the rotation works, when the libero can join when you are not allowed to touch the ball, and so on. If you make a mistake against this, you will annoy experienced players as they expect that you understand these ‘basics’. Learning to play volleyball takes several hours and it is not something that you can just start with if you don’t have any prior experience.
A lot of sports are easier to understand than volleyball and this might explain why it is not that popular. The movements of the players might confuse the audience and therefore make this sport less relatable than sports that are more intuitive to understand.
Below are some drills that can be seen as an example:
You have to wash a lot
You will sweat a lot when you are playing volleyball. This means that you will have to wash a complete outfit after every training. Considering that you train 2 times a week and there is often a match as well, this means that you will have to wash a ton of socks, shirts, pants, and underwear if you don’t want to play with smelly gear. All of this takes quite some time. If you don’t enjoy washing clothes, this might be a drawback of picking volleyball as a sport. In other sports, you sweat less and therefore you don’t have to wash your clothes that often.
Your gear has to be dry before every training starts so you might have to use the drying machine as well.
If you forgot to wash your gear, you might have to rush to the store if you don’t have spare equipment. Playing with gear that hasn’t been washed is not a lot of fun as it can still be wet and smell terribly.
It is difficult to skip a training
When you don’t want to go to the gym, you just don’t go. The same is true with a lot of other hobbies or sports. In volleyball, however, the coach might be really annoyed if you don’t show up. You have to be very disciplined if you want to keep your spot on the team as most coaches won’t let players join that didn’t show up for all the training.
Your team members might also be mad if you don’t know how to perform a certain attack during a match. Therefore it is not accepted that you miss a lot of training sessions as you might miss crucial information that can affect the rest of the competition. There is a lot of social pressure to attend the volleyball training. Some people might find this overbearing and have other commitments that they want to make or they might want to spend time on other things. Therefore you have to know this before you start playing volleyball as it will take a lot of time every week.
To conclude, we can say that volleyball is a lot of fun to play but it is definitely not perfect. You have to deal with a lot of rules, other team members, and intense situations. All of these can make it feel overwhelming and it can take quite some time before you start to understand all the nuances that are involved with playing volleyball.