Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Best Parenting Tip Ever

The following "blog" comes to us from the Talent Code blog. With the fall volleyball season in full swing and with club coming up soon the information provided in this blog is great for all parents. We hope you enjoy it.

Parenting is hard, because it’s complicated and full of doubt. As a result, we parents tend to try harder — because we want, quite naturally, to get involved, to fix things. We think it’s about us.
Which is why I love the approach of Rob Miller and Bruce E. Brown, who run a coaching outfit called Proactive Coaching LLC. In their quest to understand what makes a successful parent, Miller and Brown used a stunningly simple method: They asked kids what worked.  

For three decades, Miller and Brown made a habit of asking college-age athletes about the ways their parents had made a positive or negative impact. After several hundred interviews with a wide cross-section of kids, their informal survey had two insightful discoveries.

Number one: what kids hate most, by an overwhelming margin, is the conversations during the ride home after the game. You know, that quiet, strained, slightly uncomfortable time when parents ask questions, give praise, offer critiques, and generally get involved by saying things like:

Great job today. So what happened on that play?

What did your coach tell the team after the game?

Do you think the team could have hustled more? 

These types of moments, Miller and Brown point out, are well intentioned, and often contain truth, but the timing is toxic. The moments after a game are not the time for judgement or pressure and definitely not for instruction (which is the job of the coach, not the parent). In fact, many of the kids said they preferred having grandparents attend games, because they are more joyful and less pressurizing than parents.

But it’s not all bad news. Because there’s a second finding to emerge from their work, and it might be the best parenting tip I’ve ever read.

The kids reported there was one phrase spoken by parents that brought them happiness. One simple sentence that made them feel joyful, confident, and fulfilled. Just six words.

I love to watch you play.

That’s it. Six words that are the exact opposite of the uncomfortable car-ride home. Because they reframe your relationship — you stop being the watchful supervisor, and you start being a steady, supportive presence.

I love to watch you play. 

A signal that sends the simplest, most powerful signal: this is about you. I am your parent, not your coach or your judge. You make me really, really happy.

I love to watch you play. 

Try it out, like this parent did. I know I’m going to. Let me know how it goes.

 To see more information about the Talent Code you can find them at 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Volleyball Shopping

With only a few more weeks left of the regular club season families and players are beginning to think about next club season. It's not unusual for club director's and coaches to get questions from families "what do we do now?" or "will we have a spot on the team next year, when will we find out?". As a club director I am also hearing from families, outside the club, who are expressing interest in our program. 

Whether you've had a great season or a less than stellar season families are already thinking about next club season. This is the time to start shopping for a program! While we are still in season is the best time to gather information about the club you are currently playing for as well as the other programs in the area. There are some things you should be looking at during the season and on competition days. Here is a short list of things to look at while we are finishing up the 2012-2013 season. 

1) The most important aspect to place on your shopping list is the COACH. While your athlete is competing you'll want to take note of how your coach interacts with the athletes and your child. Is the coach treating your child in a respectful way, is there feedback being given, is there encouragement? Or do you have a coach who spends her time yelling and belittling? What do you find acceptable and what type of coach would you like? In addition to watching your own coach be sure to watch the competition, see how other coaches relate to their players. 

Decide what is most important to you, is it winning, your child improving, a fun season, a balance of a number of items? Because coaches must consider 8 - 11 players each season it is unlikely you'll find everything you are looking for but prioritize your list. If winning is most important then you may overlook a coach who is aggressive with your 13 year old. If improvement and learning is high on the list then you may overlook a team that is not highly ranked and look instead for a team that has continued to improve throughout the season. 

If you find a coach that you think would be a good fit be sure to introduce yourself and visit with the coach. Although we can not recruit players until September 1st visiting with the coach will give you a better idea if this is a program you should purse. 

2) The second aspect you should consider is the DIRECTOR and the PROGRAM.  While the coach is the most important aspect, since they will be working with your child, the director sets the tone of the program. Director's tend to hire people who are like themselves and also set the philosophy of the club. The first question to ask yourself about the director is, "do I like them as a person?" Volleyball is a career of passion (not finances), we bring a lot of ourselves to the program. If the director is someone you can visit with and get along with that is a good start but if you find yourself having challenges with the director as a person you'll get the same response when you are trying to work with them. Find someone who has a similar philosophy when it comes to your child. Directors have to consider 100 - 200 players per season, we may not get it right for all athletes, but if you agree with the program/director's philosophy you'll be much happier with the decisions that are made in the club. 

Visit with friends in other clubs to find out what they like or dislike but be sure to take everything with a grain of salt, everyone is looking for a different experience and personal preferences will color their responses. 

If you are interested in a particular program be sure to attend their summer training sessions, find a way to get involved to begin to find out more about the program and coaches. It is also helpful to develop a relationship with the coaches so we are familiar with your athlete. But a WORD OF CAUTION, as you are shopping for a program coaches are also shopping for players. Some things to keep in mind as we finish out the season.

Your athlete is ALWAYS trying out. For athletes in a program, coaches will begin to evaluate a few things, a) is this player coachable. Has the athlete been able to take feedback and make changes, have they worked hard to earn their position on the court? If you child comes to practice and has not improved during the season it is likely the coach will look at finding a replacement for her. It is important that your athlete train hard and improve. Every time they are in front of the coach understand it is a tryout. 

Coaches will also look at b) a players attitude, is your athlete adding to the team, making it better with a positive attitude or do they drain the team with a negative attitude. This attitude also includes how they handle pressure, do they handle it on the court or do they "throw" their emotions on the court for their teammates to deal with. Nothing is more damaging to a team with an immature player who throws "fits' when they or their teammates make mistakes.  It takes all of the players mental ability to stay involved in a game and having a teammate who makes their emotions more important than the game takes away from their teammates. It is nearly impossible to win when you have a player who can not deal with their emotions, these are the first players to lose their positions in their current club. Small note, players who cry on the court are always replaceable, coaches do not want to "babysit" athletes. If you child has cried on the court, outside of an injury, it is unlikely they'll be asked back to a program. 

Another quality coaches look for is c) focus and player goals, is the athlete focused on improving and reaching personal goals or are they more interested in the social aspect of sports? If an athlete would like to play for a successful squad they need to make decisions that are best for them and that may include playing on a team where they do not know any of their teammates. Players who will only play with their friends need to realize they are limiting their possibilities, top coaches will look for players who have their own goals and are focused on reaching them. 

While we evaluate our current club members we are also watching other athletes in the programs we compete against. Coaches will assess players with the above qualities in mind. If your child is unhappy with their current club and they no longer make an effort to add to their team other club coaches will take note. It is important that you athlete continue to bring their best effort, "game" and attitude to the court. If your child attends training sessions or camps with a new club they need to come with a good work ethic, positive attitude and control their emotions. While it is important to develop a relationship with a club you are interested in it could backfire, if your child does not impress the coaching staff it is likely to be remembered. Remember, the athlete is ALWAYS trying out and like families who are looking for a good coach and program, club programs are looking for great players. Great players are those who are coachable and improve, work hard and have a positive attitude and control their emotions. 

Clubs provide a service and there are numerous programs to choose from, find one that fits with your child. While families try to find the best fit understand that clubs are also looking for athletes that will help them reach their goals. It is important to be honest about what you are looking for so everyone can have an enjoyable season. Good luck with the remainder of your season and we'll see you on the court. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mamma on the Bench: Prepping for our Second Season of Club Ball

I have been coaching the same group of girls for about three years in recreation volleyball.  We have been successful, won our divisions and moved forward in the leagues.  Three of my ten girls made club ball last year.  I expect that I will have a couple more girls join club ball this fall.  I was new last year to club ball and shared everything I did to try and get my daughter on a club team with the parents of girls that were  also pursuing club ball.  I was definitely a newbie and wish I knew then what I know now!

So how am I going to get my daughter ready for tryouts this year?

·      I have already started. During the summer, Southwind Rising hosts an eight week camp called Summer Intensity.  The girls workout twice a week for three hours each time.  They work on physical conditioning, volleyball skills and game strategy.  My daughter has learned so much and has improved immensely. It began in June and will end in July.
·      This summer I have perused the club calendar, several times week.  There are a ton of opportunities for your daughter on the club calendar.  Besides Summer Intensity training, Southwind Rising offers two series, one called Skill Series and another called Game Series.  These are segmented out based on your child’s age.  The Skill Series works on focused areas of volleyball. For example, there are training sessions on specific skills, such as setting, serving with topspin, forearm passing, spiking, blocking and middle hitting.  These are great practices to fix or fine tunes areas of your athlete’s game. The Game Series teaches strategy of the game based on the player’s position. This training session focuses on the strategies of the game by training in game like drills and scrimmages. Both of these training sessions can fill up fast.  That is why you have to check the calendar frequently. We have done a several of the training sessions and they have been tremendously helpful. Theses sessions run during the summer and will go on in September and October.
·      We have done a few private lessons and group lessons with coaches. Opportunities for these are also listed on the club calendar. Parents should remember, that a coach has a team of nine players and may practice for one and half hours twice a week.  There is not enough time for the coach to break down any trouble areas for one player without sacrificing the time of the rest of the team.   Privates or group lessons can address problem areas for your child. We will continue doing these until tryouts to keep skills sharp. Privates and group lessons will go on in September and October.
·      Open gyms will begin in October.  The dates for these can be found on the club calendar. The times are allocated based on age groups.   There is a nominal fee ($10). Usually there are one or two open gyms per age group prior to tryouts.  The girls get to play and work on skills.  A club coach staffs the practice.  These fill up fast, so check the calendar frequently.
·      Tryouts are at the beginning of November, usually the younger athletes are the first weekend and the older girls are the next. At our tryouts last year, there were hundreds of girls.  We will definitely wear a notable shirt, shorts or something so she is easy to remember and pick out for the coaches.

Club ball is competitive and there are a lot of girls going for a few spots. This time around we are better prepared.  We have tried to take advantage of many of the training sessions. We have sharpened our skills and increased our exposure to the club coaches.  Finally, we are staying aware of the timeline of the club by checking the club calendar frequently.

See you at the gym!

Thank you to Jamie Hofmann for her final blog entry on our site. We hope you find her insight helpful as we get closer to the club season. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mamma on the Bench: Our First Year Playing Club Ball

Welcome back our guest blogger Jamie Hofmann.

We made Southwind Rising’s 12-2 team!  At first, we were not quite sure what that meant, but later learned it was based on the age (12 and under), skill level and number/type of tournaments you played.  Our first formal exposure to the club was a potluck dinner meeting for the entire club.  A huge hall was rented.  There were hundreds of folks there.  The meeting began with a great inspirational speaker for the players, and a “club talk” from the director, Rachel Magana. She discussed developing the players to the best of their ability but also about developing good character as a goal for the club.  We had an inspirational slide show and everyone was fired up for the season.  Rachel ended the talk with asking the players to go to their parents or to whoever brings them to practice and tell them “Thank you.”  Rachel wanted to remind the players to appreciate the people who got them to practice, to tournaments and paid for their club ball.  Without them, there would be no volleyball for the player. 

Southwind Rising asked for a couple of parent volunteers for the season.  One parent volunteer would be responsible for getting communications out to the team.  The other parent would help the team with scorekeeping and chaperoning the players at tournaments.  I chose the latter.  One of the first tasks of the season was to have the entire club to either “review” scorekeeping and refereeing rules, or to “learn” them. We had a big gym full of players, coaches and parent volunteers. Since we were new, we were in the “learning” group. We spent the better part of a Saturday working on learning to score a volleyball game and reviewing refereeing rules and regulations. Older experienced players were assigned to the new groups to assist in the instruction. Drilled throughout the day was emphasis in being confident in what you were doing, being respectful to everyone, looking coaches and other players in the eyes when you are speaking to them or being spoken to, shaking hands properly, and having good sportsmanship behavior at all times.  Of course there were lots handouts and overheads, but by the end of the day, we had covered it all.  We knew that we all represented Southwind Rising and that there were expectations of behaviors we must meet.  It was not just technical knowledge but being a good steward and sportsman.   As a parent, sitting in that crowd all day, I was thrilled to have someone impressing on my child these lifelong morals.

We had sat with our coach during the potluck, so we had met with her and had an opportunity to visit with her before our first practice.  There were nine girls on our team, all from different schools in the area. None of them really knew each other well. Practices ran for an hour and a half, twice a week. I liked to sit and watch the practices.  The girls all slightly varied in skill levels and attention spans.  Our coach was great about getting them to focus and improve their skills week after week.  She was always patient, yet firm with them.

We had about ten practices before our first tournament experience.  It was an intra-club tournament where we played teams in our club close to our age group.  This served two purposes:  one, to give them a feel of a tournament setting and two, to practice their scorekeeping and refereeing skills.  It was a crazy long day, but a good experience to prep them for the real thing. The first thing I noticed, was the noise.  There were about six to eight games going on with cheering players and parents. It was crowded. There were team campsites everywhere. Campsites were a general congregation site where the teams could rest between playing and refereeing.  The girls had sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, healthy snacks and few brought some form of electronic entertainment. The girls had to keep in touch with their coach and parent rep for the game schedule and their working schedule. (During the tournament we had to provide about six players to referee and scoring other games). There was a lot going on!

After the intra-club tournament, we had another ten to twelve practices and then our first real tournament.  We were nervous but played well. We got second place and brought home a medal. That was a pretty good way to start the season.

We deftly handled the refereeing and scorekeeping at our first tournament.  We made a few mistakes but most coaches were patient with the girls. At this age, everyone was pretty new to scorekeeping and refereeing.  I did say most coaches.  Sitting on the bench with the team during the season, I learned quickly that there were a few coaches from other teams that got a little nutty during the tournaments.  Some of the behavior was shocking!  I was very thankful for the high standards and expectations that Southwind Rising had set for our coaches and players.

We had eight tournaments during our season.  Most of them were local but all of them started very early and ended late in the afternoon.  Some tournaments were two days long. I sat on the bench for every game, keeping stats, helping the coach toss balls for warm ups, keeping the girls focused, scorekeeping or whatever she needed.  My daughter did not start as a player in the beginning of the season. Sometimes she played very little and that was hard on both of us. However, I had been a coach and a player before and knew she needed to play better to start. There was no other way around it.  I was not going to say one word to the coach.  I told my daughter she had to improve and work very hard for a starting spot. She needed to learn that lesson. Moving from recreation ball to club ball is a whole new world.  Club ball is competitive and the girls, the coaches, the club and the parents want to win. That means putting the best players on the court.  The coach is at every practice and she sees how the players perform. She sees their drive and their attitude.

As the season progressed, the girls and their coach became close and meshed as a team. Everyone improved her skills and knowledge of the game. We won another medal, a first place and had some very close tournaments that should have swayed our way. The parents made new friends and learned a lot as well. It was a ton of fun.

Here are the caveats we learned our first year of playing club ball:

·      Club ball teaches competitiveness, hard work, and that a good attitude pays off.  Those are a great life lessons, as we compete in life for so many things. 
·      Club ball also teaches responsibility.  Your daughter will learn that she is now responsible to her teammates and her coach.  She is responsible for:  playing to the best of her ability for the team; being a supportive teammate; a good referee; a scorekeeper; a line judge; being where she needs to be at all times for the team; keeping herself healthy and well nourished.  The success of the team depends on everyone doing her part.
·      Parents and players need to understand that at a club level, not everyone will get to play.  To win, the best players need to be on the court.  It may or may not be your child.  Trust your coach and encourage your player work hard.
·      A good club will emphasize good character, as well as skill development.  Sports offer so many opportunities to learn great life skills that will carry them on into the future to become successful individuals.
·      I was very glad that our club had a limit of nine players to a team.  Some teams had ten or more players, meaning more sitting on the bench.
·      Finally, a club team and coach should model proper behavior on and off the court.  I definitely learned there were a few clubs with coaches and teams that could improve on their behavior.

This summer will be full of hard work with the Southwind Rising Summer Intensity Program.  It will be fun working to improve our game and skills.  We are looking forward to another exciting season of volleyball and know where we want to be! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mamma on the Bench: Getting on a Club Team

Welcome our guest blogger Jamie Hofmann.

My daughter and I started the “Club Volleyball” journey as novices.  We really did not know any other kids that played club volleyball.  I had a few older friends that played/or had coached club ball and I would occasionally ask them advice.  The language they spoke was foreign to me.  “She needs to do summer camps with the clubs, private lessons, go to open gyms, and she needs to be in front of the club before tryouts or she may not get a spot.”   Some would even say “don’t try out with this club or that club, it is very competitive, or it is very strict or it is not very good…….”.  WHAT?  I kept remembering back to when I played ball; you showed up and “tried out.”  You were either picked or not.  This was much more sophisticated and competitive.

What I did not realize was the popularity of club volleyball. I had been coaching recreation volleyball for a few years and knew how much people loved the sport.  We sure did!  I had attended several coaching clinics by different clubs and knew these folks were serious.  What I did not fathom was the mass number of girls at tryouts and the very limited spots available.  We went to tryouts and there would be hundreds of girls all vying for spots on the club teams.

I had been fortunate to attend a coaching clinic by Southwind Rising Volleyball, Club Director, Rachel Magana.  She impressed me with her volleyball knowledge and her ability to break it down for the coaches to effectively coach the sport at a recreation level.  I liked her smooth, patient teaching style and they way she slipped “life lessons” in her coaching.  I promptly signed my daughter up for one of her clinics through Blue Valley Recreation.  I sat through my daughter’s clinic watching and learning hoping to glean even more pearls for my recreation team. After that clinic, I started perusing club volleyball websites.   I wanted to know more about the clubs. I read the coaches qualifications and coaching styles in their bios. I looked for club mission statements.  It was very important to me to learn about the coaches that would be spending so much time with my daughter. Some sites provided very little information about their staff.  Others had a bit more information and the really good ones had qualifications and coaching styles listed for all their coaches.

When the time came for club tryouts, I knew I wanted my daughter to tryout for Southwind Rising Volleyball.  We did attend some other club’s tryouts to increase her chance of getting on a club team.  I ran into some of my gym friends who had daughters the same age as mine at these tryouts.  They had gone to two or three clubs in one day for tryouts or had attended numerous open gyms.   They had spent many weekends going from one club to another in hope of their daughter getting on a team. 

We were so fortunate to get on a team with the club we wanted. We learned a lot from this experience.  Here are a few pearls for Mammas (or Dads) on the bench.

·      Research each club’s web site yourself.  Read about the staff, their bios, coaching philosophies and the clubs mission statement.  Make a determination on how organized and informative the information is you are receiving.  An organized and seasoned club will make you and your daughter’s life much easier.   It also set your child up for success.
·      If you ask around, be careful of the advice you may receive. Find out why someone might say yea or nay on a club.  Sometimes when you delve into an opinion, you will be shocked at their reasoning. You are the best judge for your child. 
·      Prepare your daughter for the experience. Use the club’s calendar and find open gyms. Open gyms allow any athlete to come in and play.  Drills and scrimmages are usually facilitated by one of the coaching staff.  Look for opportunities for clinics or private/group lessons, as well.
·      As the season approaches, visit the calendars of the clubs and coordinate your tryouts and open gyms. 
·      There will be a lot of girls at tryouts, camps and open gyms. Have your daughter wear something flashy, so she is easy to remember.  Bright shirts, shorts, crazy socks are all good choices.  Make sure your daughter has kneepads and good athletic shoes.
·      Volleyball is a sport, therefore encourage your daughter to be engaged at all times.  Hustle to get to the ball, react quickly to all the coach’s commands, and always pay attention.  Making good eye contact and effective listening, instead of gabbing with their friends will make positive first impression.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Journey

Mizuno is asking young volleyball players to submit video diaries, photographs and essays, showcasing their own personal journeys and elaborating on how competitive volleyball has affected their lives and made them better, stronger individuals. 

Video submissions to The Journey will be evaluated by a panel of judges and winners will be selected on a monthly basis to win prizes including Mizuno Volleyball footwear.

Mizuno Volleyball's The Journey Facebook experience offers candid video diaries fromUSAV's top stars while challenging young volleyball players to share their own "journey" for the chance to win prizes.


Here are the words to our National Anthem... Read and remember the men and women who fought and died for our human rights. There is no place else in the world like the United States. Of course, we have our faults but we are privileged and blessed to live and be a part of this great nation. Freedom is not free...

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly sworeThat the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,A home and a country should leave us no more!Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall standBetween their loved home and the war's desolation!Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued landPraise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Summer Camps and Training

Each summer I have families calling me about our training programs as well as advice on other camps or clinics they should attend. It seems that the focus shifts from club season to making the school squad. Here is some advice I give to parents looking for a great program for their athlete to attend.

Many parents are excited about the idea of sending their athlete to a large university for a camp or advanced skills clinics. While I think large universities do offer some great volleyball I always remind parents that it's more about the experience of being on a big campus. My suggestion is that athletes that are looking to increase their skill and knowledge attend smaller camps with fewer athletes and larger coach to athlete ratio. Athletes in high school would do better to attend a camp at a large university for a couple of reasons. First high school athletes are now looking for a college or university and this a good way to see the coach and learn more about the program. Second, high school athletes are now working on specific skill sets and attending specialized clinics for their position will allow them to gain more knowledge and skill. For athletes in junior high or elementary school they would be better served going to a smaller college camp close to home. The small camp allows the athlete more "touches" on the ball and also a good nights sleep to come back day after day and train hard.

My biggest struggle as a club coach is that athletes attend "fundamental" camps week after week and continue cover the same information over and over. There is no doubt, that an athlete interested in learning and getting better will gain from any camp they attend but after a couple of fundamental camps it seems like all the material is similar. Please don't misunderstand, FUNDAMENTALS ARE KEY to being competitive, however, I would suggest an athlete finding programs designed to help them in weak areas and strengthen their specific position. I would encourage a camp or two to cover fundamentals and them some specialized position camps as well.

The best form of training over the summer months would be small group training and individual training. These sessions are designed specifically for the athlete in training. The more I coach the more I believe in individual training with a coach who can communicate and train fundamentals into an advance level of skill. What a coach can cover in an hour session with one player far outweighs group camps. However, once an athlete begins to consistently perform fundamental and advanced skills then working with a team becomes extremely important. Volleyball is a game that demands each player is capable of performing graceful skills and then implement them in a game setting while considering strategy.

Ultimately the goal is to have your child touching the ball as often as possible. Even if you attend a clinic where the coaching is not strong if your athlete is playing and touching the ball they will learn just from experience.

Most of the effort involved in summer camps and clinics is to ensure a spot on the school squad. Each summer it seems parents are looking for ways to have their child prepared for tryouts and to catch the eye of the coach prior to the tryout process. Parents want to know, how do we decide what we should try out for, which position, and how do we let the coach know what we are doing over the summer.

I would suggest visiting with your school coach, ask them what they are looking for, what positions do they need filled and when they will be holding their own camps. Getting in front of the coach prior to the tryout process is a good idea... most of the time. If your child is a hard worker and strives to improve the coach will see that desire. However, if your child is lazy, does not care to impress the coach, and would rather sleep in then getting her in front of the coach will only do damage. Remind your child that they are always trying out... even if you are taking individual lessons with a "club coach" be sure they work hard. Many times coaches in the community know one another and one coaches impression of a player may go a long way, even affecting your child's chances of making a school or club team. I know it's hard to believe that your child does not work hard but it happens. If you want an honest assessment of your child then ask but be prepared to hear the truth... it has been my experience that parents who believe they have an outstanding athlete but yet she/he does not play much there is usually a reason, many times that reason has to do with the child's true ability or true desire. Asking for an honest assessment means taking off the "rose colored" glasses and being willing to see things objectively.

I would also recommend visiting with other parents, what positions are already full, what positions are the stronger players trying out for... is there an open spot for your child in her chosen position? If you daughter players setter and there are already 3 other setters in front of her then she may have her work cut out for Her. She'll need to out play someone and earn her position or she may want to consider a different position. Also, consider the physical abilities of your child and be realistic. If you have a 5'2 daughter trying out for middle hitter that may not be a good fit if she is a competing against 6'0 players.

As coaches we are not looking just at your child we are looking at the entire team. We may ask your child to work on certain skills and we may see improvement but that does not ensure a position. While your daughter may be improving other players may also be working on skills. At the end of the day, your athlete will have to "out play" other kids on the team to be on the court.

Please feel free to leave a question or comment on this post and we'll do our best to respond.