Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

The Value of Chaos and Failure

I had the opportunity to speak at the Netherlands Volleyball Coaches Association’s 35th anniversary national clinic this summer. It was a nostalgic moment for me, as I reminisced about the time I first introduced variations of small-sided games to warm up the players. I incorporated elements like 4 v 4 games, where players rotated between spots and even included roll shots. These exercises aimed to create randomness in the learning process and foster better retention and creativity in play.

Even now, I emphasize the importance of incorporating fast rotations into each practice session. By checking for understanding and observing techniques executed less flawlessly, I can assess how well players comprehend the game flow.

The challenge for coaches lies in differentiating between technical errors and strategic adjustments. Sometimes, a player may seem technically incorrect, but their action is a clever response to being in the wrong place or time. This highlights the significance of coaching for performance rather than just practice. I firmly believe that no two volleyball points are the same; while they may be similar, there will always be subtle variations. For instance, the U.S. Women’s National Team spends almost half of its training time practicing out-of-system scenarios. Similarly, my youth teams spend a significant amount of time in imperfect situations, preparing them to perform under adverse conditions.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  U.S. Women’s Sitting Team Shines in Paralympic Victory over Rwanda

In contrast to coach-controlled practices that focus on technical perfection, my warm-up exercises involve small-sided games like “weave pepper” and “loser becomes the net.” These activities simulate imperfect game scenarios, allowing players to adapt to the variety and randomness inherent in volleyball. Although some may find coach-controlled warm-ups visually appealing, the reality of the sport lies in the challenges posed by being out of system.

It is interesting to note that teams that rely heavily on coach-controlled practices often experience more losses. These coaches may punish players for failure while absolving themselves of any responsibility for the outcome of the game.

Despite our pursuit of perfection, we often overlook the importance of trial and error in the learning process. The brain thrives on failures and mistakes as it strives for improvement. In order to succeed under pressure, the brain must anticipate the flow of the game, not just the previous actions or set up. When practice is made too easy for players, their performance in real games suffers. I resonate with Brené Brown’s quote, “Perfectionism is a hustle.” Many programs and private lessons may promise perfection, but true growth comes from learning, reading the game, and cultivating a growth mindset. Embracing failure and losing are integral parts of this journey.

As we contemplate the reality of being a “loser,” let’s consider a few thoughts:

  1. In our sport, where millions of matches are played, 50% of the teams lose. Playing your best requires taking risks that not everyone is willing to take.
  2. Winning and losing are team efforts. Victory and defeat are not individual player’s achievements or failures. The game itself is random, but the way we care for our teammates remains constant.
  3. The memories we cherish from a season or a team are the relationships we build, not the scoreboard. Take the time to express gratitude to coaches, non-starters, and even opponents who outperformed us on a given day.
  4. It is crucial to separate the performance from the performer. Failing to win does not equate to being a failure. Failures are an essential component of the learning process.
  5. If your child experiences a loss, regardless of their age, sometimes all you can do is embrace them, show them your love, and remind them that their competitive spirit and journey towards success extend far beyond a single game. Remember, win or lose, the sun will rise again tomorrow, offering another opportunity to work towards becoming the best they can be.
Tham Khảo Thêm:  Results from the Second 2016 Beach NORCECA Playoff

Someone wise once said, “Failure is growth swag.” To gain a deeper understanding of the lessons hidden within the toughest losses in sports history, I recommend reading Curt Menefee’s book, “Losing Isn’t EVERYTHING.” It sheds light on the untold stories and valuable insights that arise from defeat, just as the Warriors experienced after their 3-1 lead against Cleveland.

[Call to action: Visit Alpinetgheep.com for more insights and resources to enhance your volleyball coaching journey.]