Did your season not start as well as you hoped? Or maybe you pulled out the wins your needed, but didn’t start matches well? Here are 6 things that can help you start matches stronger.
1. Write down and review your game and season goals. Looking to make post-season? Trying to become MVP of your league? Where your mind goes, your energy goes, focus yourself and strengthen your resolve to make it reality. When you believe it is possible you are halfway there.
2. Create a pregame routine. Whether or not this is a new concept, the beginning of a new season is an opportunity to determine what you need to do before a game to be mentally and physically ready. A routine should include time to yourself as well as activities that connect you with your teammates, since volleyball is after all a team sport!
3. Warm up your body before going full throttle. Yeah it’s fun to pound the ball into the ground during your partner warmup, but you know what isn’t fun, torn shoulder ligaments. That goes for all your muscles from your toes to your fingertips. Do something your future body will thank you for, that means completing dynamic stretches and doing a gradual warm up of the joints (arm/hip circles are your friend).
4. Bring your game face. You are waiting for the first serve of the game, what do you know about the other team? Is there a short setter playing in the front row that can be hit over? Or a go-to hitter? Chances are you have played against this team before or maybe you are even playing against some of your club teammates. It is not cheating to use the knowledge you have about your opponents; chances are they are already using their knowledge against you.
5. Win the mini-game. It is difficult to play hard for points 1-5 as if they were points 20-25, that’s just the way it is. But what if you were playing a game to 5? Creating a mini-game is a great way to add some urgency to your play early and build energy that can be carried through the game.
6. Start communicating and share information. Is the opponent’s setter front row or backrow? When the serve is coming at you, is it your ball? Or a short serve? If your outside hitter is going up to swing what shot is open? Line, seam, angle? Volleyball is great because you don’t have to do it alone, helping your teammates succeed means that the team succeeds.
Is there something you do that helps you get ready to play? We want to hear it! Comment below to share.