How many countless times have you yelled, "TALK!!!!" at your players after an error? Maybe your players aren't communicating because they don't know WHAT to say! Have you spent time teaching your players HOW to communicate? Communication is a skill just as much as serving and passing. It's something that must be taught and practiced every day. Communication needs to be broken down part to whole just like you would do with any other skill of the game. To create great communicators in your program you must make communication a standard in your program.
A standard; something you do every day and are held accountable for.
Laying out an explicit guideline for what needs to be communicated before the ball is in play, during the rally, and after the point is the crucial first step to teaching your players to communicate with a high volleyball IQ. Communication is different than chatter. We don't need players yelling, "Setters down" five times and then jumping with the back row setter. Communication is saying what you see and processing that information.
At Summit our communication standards are broken down into Pre-Contact, During Contact and After Contact. We take time in every practice to teach these communication standards to our players. It is up to coaches to hold every player accountable to these standards.
Pre-Contact Communication (Defense)
Pre-Contact Communication (Serve Receive)
During Rally Communication
Between Points Communication
Add great communication to your team and program and you will reap the rewards! Communication is a difference maker. It raises intensity level, it helps players think the game, it makes teams harder to defend and exhausting to play against. It helps teams be one step ahead of the next play; anticipating what is about to happen. If you make communication a standard in your your gym it will light the passion and intensity in your players and the level of play will be elevated. It creates energy and FUN! Communication is the ultimate engager and game changer.
Everything in life takes communication. To be a great employee, a great friend, a great spouse, a great teammate, you have to learn to communicate with others. It's a LIFE SKILL! Just like being a great hitter, setter, or passer, it takes PRACTICE. So, WORK at it every day. Set goals, think outside the box.
There is a spot on every team for a great communicator! Share the Magic!
About the Author
Tricia Miller is the Executive Director of Summit Volleyball in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has 28 years of coaching experience from kindergartners to 18 year olds, and is also the head coach at Concordia High School in Indiana.