Anna Bush, Director of Sports Information & Head Volleyball Coach
Many years ago, I heard the saying: "Boys have to battle in order to bond while girls have to bond in order to battle.” This has been very insightful to me as a coach and has applied to every season I have coached girls volleyball. Regardless of the level of talent I have had over the years, one of my biggest challenges is to find ways to mesh 12 or more personalities so that they play FOR one another. Good players have solid skills, but great players make the players around them better.
I have never asked any player to play for me or for themselves. Play for the team. It sounds simple but is far more complex than people on the outside can imagine. As a coach, I have to constantly teach players to communicate and ask questions. Otherwise, they are filled with their own perceptions (or their teammates’ and parents’ perceptions) about their abilities and how that fits into their role on the team.
You don't have to "like" your teammates, but you do have to "respect" them and the fact you are all trying to achieve the same goals. Respect, to me, means leaving your biases outside the gym. Find a positive trait about each teammate regardless of skill. This goes a long way in developing healthy relationships so the battle is against the team on the other side of the net rather than the same side of the net.