How to Ace Volleyball Tryouts
As a volleyball coach, I know that many young volleyball players wonder how to make the volleyball team they are trying out for. Whether you are trying to make the best club team, Jr. High or Freshman team or you are trying to make Varsity, you may be wondering what it is the coaches look for in a player and why a coach may choose one girl over another when they have similar abilities. I'll give you some tips on impressing the coach and getting the best chance to make the team.
Attitude is Everything!
The most important advice I can give you is to have a good attitude! Even if you are not the best player a coach may give you a spot over someone with superior skills if their attitude sucks and yours doesn't.
Make a lot of noise, encourage other players, and cheer good plays by anyone. The best teams are made up of girls who make a joyful noise together. I want to see high fives, smiles, encouragement and cheering in practice, in matches and off the court. A team is like a family and nobody likes a Debbie Downer. I would cut a Debby Downer with superior skills because she will ruin my team and my practices. I don't ever want to hear, "I don't care", "I suck", or "this sucks"... ever. Even after tryouts, that kind of attitude will earn you laps and will stick in the coaches mind when they are considering who to put on the court.
Show some Respect - Be Coachable
As a coach nothing irritates me more than a disrespectful player. I don't want them on my team. Period.
This is more than just talking back. There many ways players are disrespectful to coaches. First, players need to realize that coaches are putting their time and effort in with the goal of making the team and each player better, so if they give you advice or criticism, they aren't just doing it for the heck of it, or to make you feel bad, they are doing it to improve YOUR skills. Keep this in mind.
When a coach is talking to you, always look them in the eye. If they ask you a question, answer it. Even if they don't ask you a question, nod your head. Really listen. If you don't understand what they want you to do, ask a question. A player who doesn't take advice or listen to criticism will most likely be cut.
There are many ways to come to a tryout prepared. For one thing LOOK like a Volleyball player. You don't necessarily need to go out and buy $150.00 volleyball shoes, but you DO need to wear your knee pads. Have your hair up and off your face. If you have volleyball shoes, wear them. Wear your spandex if you have them. If you have an impressive tournament t-shirt or camp t-shirt, wear it. Let your coach know with one look that you know something about volleyball.
And then KNOW something. Do your research! Know the name of each position. I want all my players to know the number, so if I tell you to go to 3, you know to go to front middle. Know when you show up what your ready position looks like, what a libero is, who the setter is. Make sure your tryout is NOT your first time playing volleyball. If that would be the case, then find an experienced volleyball player and have them come and play with you, or look up YouTube videos on how to pass and then pass off your garage or to a friend. Look up the footwork for hitting and practice it over and over until you have it right BEFORE you go to your first practice.
Know what position you would like to be and then know that the coach will only put you where you will be best for the team. If they tell you that you look like a Middle Blocker on day one of tryouts, come to day two of tryouts knowing EVERYTHING there is to know about a Middle Blocker. Use the internet to your advantage.
It's not Social Hour
You want your coach to know you get along with the other players, but make sure all chit chat in the gym is volleyball related. Don't let the coach catch you talking about boyfriend drama, your grades, where you are going after practice, or anything else.
ALWAYS do your best
If you are doing partner passing at the beginning of tryouts, don't giggle when you make a mistake and then walk to your shanked ball. Hustle at all times, take everything seriously. When warming up or stretching, do your best to push your stretch farther, concentrate on your muscles, make sure each pass in partner passing is accurate. You may not think anyone is paying attention, but these are often the most telling part of any practice.
... But what SKILLS do I need?
That's probably what you really want to know, but it depends on the level of play you are trying out for. If you are trying out for your first club team in 4th grade your skills needed will be different than the skills required to play varsity.
The basics though that apply at all levels:
Passing - Make sure you can pass to your target. Make sure you are down low in ready position while waiting for your pass.
Serving - Be able to serve the ball IN most of the time. If you have a fancier serve that you want to show the coach, great, but after that, show them your CONSISTENT serve. The one they can count on when the game is on the line.
Hitting - Practice your footwork and your arm swing. You don't need anything but some space and YouTube videos to do that. Even if your timing is a little off at tryouts, a good foundation will impress the coach.
Hustle - Don't let ANYONE on the court out hustle you and you are almost a shoo-in. If you give 150% when everyone else is giving 90, you will look good. Go to the floor, dive, run WAY out after shanked balls. Let the coach know that you will give it your all... ALL of the time. As I like to remind my daughters, "There will always be someone faster than you, stronger than you, more skilled than you are, but there should never be anyone who tries harder or hustles more. That is within your control and will make all the difference."
Good luck on making the team! The key to success in any sport is determination. Even if you don't make the desired team this year, don't give up, let it drive you to work harder. There are so many opportunities to play that you don't have to give up. There are always lower level club teams, rec teams or intramural teams to play on. If you really love the game you will find a way to play and come back the next year better than ever!
Other Great Volleyball Articles
- Learn How to Hit a Volleyball
Learning how to hit can be easy with this step by step guide with video. You can be hitting like a pro in no time.
- 50 Inspiring Volleyball Quotes
50 of the best quotes on the internet for volleyball players, coaches and lovers.
- Ask the Volleyball Coach
Ask a coach volleyball questions of any sort and get answers online.