How satisfied are you with your mental game? Would
your coach rate you as having a strong mental approach to volleyball?
If you could improve just a few things in your mental game, what
would they be?
I've been the mental game coach to Olympic, National and State Championship
volleyball players and coaches, and to NCAA Division I collegiate
volleyball programs. I recently helped a youth team win the Northern
California Girls Championships, and earn a bid to the national championships.
Here are four mental strategies you can use to ignite your mental
game of volleyball into the next level.
- Know What You Can Control And Let The Rest Go: Smart
volleyball players know what they can and cannot control. They
make this distinction so they can manage their minds better. Can
you control what someone may be thinking about you? NoLet
it go. Can you control what you are thinking, about anything?
Yes. It's very simple, but it takes discipline and mental control.
Try ityou'll be amazed at how something so simple can be
- Stop The Drama In Your Mind: In a perfect world, everyone
on your team would get along and support each other. In reality,
people can tend to snipe, complain and backstab others. This strife
and drama can ruin your on-court focus, even though some of these
social antics may be taking place off-court. Your task is to erase
these negative behaviors with your unconditional support of your
teammates, at least when on court. Forgive people for being imperfect
and simply focus on the ball, not the team dynamics.
- Turn Your Superstitions Into Rituals: Do you pull up
your kneepad a certain way when you really need to turn in a big
play? Or do you have other lucky charms you call on to bring you
good results? These are superstitions, and if they don't get in
your way, they can be good harmless fun. But if they cause you
or others time issues or other problems, it's time to convert
them into compact, manageable rituals. You should have a ritual
before every point, and it should be easily accomplished, no matter
- Take Responsibility For Yourself: When you think, "My
coach runs such a boring practice session!", you are giving
away your mental powers to that negative thought. Yes, maybe the
coach could be livelier, but you are in charge of how you respond
to every situation, so take responsibility for yourself and make
the most of the situation. Work hard, ask questions, be focused
and you will find that those once-boring practices suddenly are
a whole lot more interesting and worthwhile. And all because you
decided to tune in, instead of tune out.
Now you know more about the mental game of volleyball, and about
how to manage your own mental process. You are in charge of what
is in your mind, and about how you react to situations. As you take
more responsibility for yourself you will gain a growing sense of
power and mastery. Take that power, because that is what will make
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an
assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths
and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and
weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating
your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program
you undertake with mental coach
Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment
would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture
about your mental game.
Copyright © 2014 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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