What do coaches look for at volleyball tryouts? How to get noticed at volleyball tryouts

Tryouts can be very exciting. Coaches are looking to select the best players. Each coach has his or her criteria. The main things that they are looking for are skills, a positive attitude, coachability, team player, hustle, and consistency. 

You have to show that you master the five volleyball basic skills. The coach will also check how you react when things do go wrong. Do you stay positive or get annoyed? It is important that you accept feedback. Therefore they will check if you listen to the input that is being given. Volleyball is a team game.

If you hog the ball, your team is not going to score a lot of points. Therefore, the coaches will check how well you communicate and play with other members of your team. Finally, the coaches also check if you are consistent. A lot of players have a good dig or serve but they get sloppy once they get tired. You have to play for the entire duration of a volleyball game and you shouldn’t lower your game because you are tired.

We are going to discuss each of these items in detail so that you are prepared to participate in the tryouts. 

Skills: do you know the basics?

We have discussed the 5 basic skills of volleyball before. You have two defensive skills: blocking and digging. There are also three offensive skills: setting, serving, and spiking. Blocking is stopping the ball just behind the net and stopping the attack of your opponents. Digging is diving to get the ball after an attack of the other team to make sure that the ball doesn’t hit the ground. Spiking is attacking and sending the ball over the net.

Setting is giving an assist so that a player can spike. Serving is restarting the game behind your court after you have scored a point. A coach will rate you on all of these. They want to see if you are able to do each of these and how fast you can execute them.

You can specialize in one of these skills but should also be able to perform the other ones or at least know how they work. These can take years to master and you might have to spend a lot of time repeating them over and over again to get better. 

 Furthermore, they will also check if you know the basics (not touching the ball two times in a row, don’t set your feet over the line under the net, not touching the ball four times, and so on). 

They also might take a look at your historical statistics to get an idea of how good you are at your current position. This gives a coach a quick overview of what you are good at and what needs to be improved upon.

Positive attitude: do you give up easily?

Some players get upset when things don’t work out. This is not what champions do. Champions remain cool and find a solution for the problem. If you get angry at your team members or start looking upset, the coach will notice it. They know that players can make mistakes but they need to move on from this.

If you are wasting too much time or energy being upset about something, this might indicate that you can’t handle the pressure of being a great volleyball player. A lot of coaches select players based on their attitude as they know that things will go wrong.

You can get lose several games in a row. If you are not going to pick yourself up after these setbacks, the coach knows that you won’t achieve big things. 

A positive attitude can lift up the team during difficult moments and can push everyone to give the best of themselves. If you are going to criticize everyone, they will feel left down by you and might not pass the ball in your direction. Therefore you have to consider the impact of your attitude on yourself and your team. If you start being negative, try to notice this as soon as possible and stop this bad energy by accepting it but letting it go as well.

Coachability: do you listen to the instructions?

Can you listen to the coach and execute instructions? If you don’t want to learn and think that you know everything better already, coaches are not going to select you. They want to be able to take your game to the next level and this is not going to happen if you don’t want to listen.

Therefore, you have to be willing to listen to the coach and execute what you have been told. This can be a challenge if you are a good volleyball player but even professionals listen to their coach as they know that the coach can teach them new things. 

You don’t always know what your blindspots are or what you are doing wrong. If you are unwilling to think about these, you will stagnate and coaches hate this. You won’t improve anymore if you aren’t willing to listen to others. Sometimes you have to set aside your ego and accept that you still have a lot to learn. This can be hard to do but needs to be done if you want to become a better volleyball player.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Team player: do you work with the rest of the team?

Volleyball is a team game. You are not going to win a lot of games if you don’t play well with the other members of your team. It is important that you are going to communicate your intentions. This can be done through words or movements. Even a look can work in some instances. You also have to anticipate how your team members are going to move.

If you play together for a long period of time, you should be able to predict where your team member wants the ball and also send it there. Coaches don’t like players that want to do everything themselves or are not good at working together. Volleyball is one of the sports where the team is the most important aspect and coaches pay a lot of attention to this. They don’t like divas or people with big egos as these won’t work together with others.

A lot of players are so determined to prove themselves that they hog the ball too much and actually disappoint the coaches instead. You should touch the ball from time to time but be sure to involve your team as well. You can make a spectacular dig but if your pass afterward is not that great, you are not doing a good job.

Consistency: how do you play when you get tired?

A lot of players are great at the beginning of the match. They are excited about playing and are ready to do so. Once they get tired, however, their passes and serves tend to get sloppy. Coaches really hate this as you can lose a lot of points if you don’t keep playing at the highest level. Therefore they will check if you keep playing at a high level during the full duration of the tryouts.

Everyone can get a few lucky touches in a row but you have to show that you really master the skills and that you are able to bring the results over a long period of time. If you will let your team down because you are tired, you are not going to be able to push your team at the end of the match. They can always substitute you but coaches prefer players that can go the distance.

Photo by Josh Duke on Unsplash

How can you work on this? Check how you act when you are tired. If you lose your focus, you have to work on your durability. This can be done by playing a lot of matches. If your endurance is a problem, you can also start to run more often.

Players often find it difficult to play for a long period of time at the beginning of the season and it gets better once the season drags on. You have to find out how you can improve your stamina and keep your focus. It is also possible that you just have to drink more. Find out what works for you and make sure that you can keep playing at your highest level for the whole match if you want to get selected during the tryouts.

In this article, we have outlined what coaches look for from players that participated in volleyball tryouts. These things depend on the coach and everyone has his or her own list. In general, coaches will look for the following: skills, coachability, consistency, positive attitude, and how well you play with the other members of your team. If you miss one of these elements in your game, the coach might not select you.

Try to find your weak points and work on them before the tryouts start. You can consider working with a personal trainer or work with other players on your team to make sure that you can address your weaknesses and get selected during the tryouts. Good luck. If you work hard, you will make it. Remember why you started and this will motivate you when you are going through a difficult moment.