So much of what happens in volleyball – and in the larger scope of life – is beyond the individual control of a player. A while back John Kessel at USA Volleyball wrote a blog post highlighting the 10 things he believes players can control themselves. I think it’s a list well worth sharing with our teams. Only one item actually is specific to volleyball. Mostly, it’s stuff that goes on between the ears.

Here’s the list:

1. Effort

2. Serve

3. Communication

4. Motivation

5. Conditioning & Diet

6. Learning

7. Attitude

8. Leadership

9. Goals

10. Deliberate Practice

I think having players focused on these things is useful in a couple of ways. One is to be able to steer them away from worrying about stuff out of their control. They cannot control how good or bad the other team is. They cannot control the ability of the player they compete with for starting time. This is part of the reason why making outcome-based judgements can be problematic.

The other reason to have players thinking about the items on this list is to ensure they have an understanding of expectations. These are the things we expect from our players – effort, attitude, desire to learn, motivation, etc.

It’s not a bad idea for we coaches to reflect on this list ourselves as well in terms of our own behavior and mindset and the expectations we set for those playing and/or working for us.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.