Volleyball season parent survival guide & things to consider

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As we approach JH/HS season, things are getting heated, especially in the parent lineup. In my experience, these are regularly some of the parents’ biggest concerns: 


My child is not getting enough playing time 

My child is one of the best but she is not getting playing time

My child is playing the wrong position. 


In this post, I will go over these and share my opinions on what needs to be considered by parents in each of these scenarios.


Not enough playing time


There are many reasons why an athlete is not getting playing time, especially early in the season. So, before jumping to conclusions, please consider:


  • Coaches tend to try and experiment with different line ups, different positions, different systems. 


  • Coaches test their athletes to see what they can get out of them. They may know the ability of their best players, but they also have to know who they can count on if things are not going well or somebody gets hurt. 


  • Some athletes could be the best in practice, but not the best game players and vice versa. 


  • Things such as chemistry, attitude, work ethic can also play a role, regardless of one’s skill level.


  • From a coach’s perspective, playing your very best athletes early in the season is a risk. It can mean they get tired or injured later in the season when stakes are higher. 


  • MS/HS season is only 5-8 weeks long and that is a very short time for new teams and new coaches to figure out how to make the most of what they have with the time they’ve got.


Remember, not getting a playing time can serve your child well. It can help cultivate motivation to keep working hard to get more playing time, it can promote re-evaluating their own behavior, as well as re-evaluating their goals and interest in the sport. 


If an athlete is considering a lengthy career, they will have to learn to be both the bench player and the superstar. Both will come at some point in their career


Another great thing about not having enough court time is acquiring another perspective to the game. You can learn a tremendous amount by simply observing the game. 


My child is playing the wrong position


If you think your child is in the wrong position, the only thing that’s wrong is, unfortunately, you. There is no such thing as a wrong position, especially at the younger ages. Young athletes need touches, they need to learn all skills and they need to learn the game from different aspects and positions. Eventually they will settle at the correct place, and this usually happens later in their HS years or collegiate career.


My advice

The worst things parents can do is to take all the mentioned concerns, and start discussing it with their kid on the way back home, trashing the coach or other players. This is not only not helpful to your child, it’s extremely damaging. The path of an athlete, on all levels, is full of challenges of all sorts, and your job is to help them persevere, not give up and stay true to their goals. Gossiping and blaming everyone else, without taking the time to understand how things work and why, will only hinder your child’s success.

So dear parents, my best advice would be to avoid gossip and any kind of negative talk about the coach or other athletes. Avoid blaming anyone else in front of your child, even if your concerns are legitimate. if you need to discuss anything, you should go to the coach.

What you should be focusing on is enjoying the short season, encouraging your child to keep improving, to keep working hard and to be respectful.

Keep in mind, 5-8 week long season does not determine your child's career, but the action before, during and after does.