College Athlete

Conquer Your Fear Of Making an Error

“Be bold. If you are going to make an error, make a doozy, and don't be afraid to hit the ball”.

—Billie Jean King

You will make mistakes and that is the truth. Whether in life or in volleyball practice, we all make our share of errors. How many times did you fall just to get up and be stronger than before? The process of falling and getting back up repeats daily in our lives in almost everything we do.

While coaching, I am consistently coming across of “fear to make a mistake” in my athletes. If this is you remember: fear is not pushing you forward but holding you back. Being gutsy gives you by far bigger results and advantage than being timid and playing safe. Whether a beginner or a professional athlete, the errors will happen all along the way. 

One way to get over the fear is to practice visualization. Visualize...yourself hitting/serving/passing ball the way you want it..winning championship, getting a scholarship, playing in front of the big crowd…Visualize and you are more likely to do it. Take time before practice, game, point and simply imagine the outcome that you want. Your mind will be occupied with thoughts of success rather than failure. Visualization comes naturally for some players but not the others. You have to practice visualization it like any other volleyball skill. Try it today and work on it everyday. It will take the edge off. 

Athletes use your mistakes to your advantage. Be aware of them, analyze them and try to fix them. Use your time in practice to learn but not to fear. You are in practice to make things better, not to be perfect. Repeat, repeat and repeat: that is the only price you will have to pay to be great at something. Repetition will lead to change, change will lead to greater confidence and confidence will lead you to success. 

Be resilient in the face of the failure and see it as necessary for learning and achievement. Be fearless. That is the only way you will grow. It is time to let go of your fears. It is time to visualize your success and achieve it.

Responsibilities of a Collegiate Student-Athlete:

Responsibilities of a Student-Athlete

“I would like to play volleyball in college on a scholarship” - I hear this sentence almost daily. However, I am not sure if perspective athletes understand what they are in for. You must be able to balance a lot of things. It is a lifestyle that you chose. It is never easy and you have to master the time management. 

As a former collegiate Division I Athlete, I would like to clarify some expectations and responsibilities that come with it:

  1. You are getting paid (your tuition/ fees, books, travel, wardrobe, athletic training, tutors, meals, etc). Therefore, this is your FULL time job. 
  2. You are a student-athlete but the athlete really comes first. 
  3. You are expected to pass all of your classes and maintain certain GPA, otherwise you can become ineligible to play and possibly lose your scholarship. 
  4. You practice 6 days a week ( 1 day off during the week- traveling counts as a day off). 
  5. Most of the practices are 3 Hours long
  6. Weight-room doesn't count as practice so that is an additional hour a day.
  7. Meetings/ Athletic training/Pre-game Meals/ Team Bonding Activities/ Volunteering/ Fundraising are mandatory and don't count as your training hours.
  8. Most of the traveling is Thursday-Sunday and you will miss classes and exams, that you will have to make up.
  9. Unless you are really sick or injured and considered “Unable to practice” by a medical professional- you are expected to be in practice/ game.
  10. If something hurts, take Aleve or two and an ice bath. 
  11. If you are injured you are still to be in practice and do your rehab. This is not a time off. 
  12. You do your studying whenever you get a chance: on the bus, on the airplane, at the airport, in hotel.
  13. On the game day, there is usually 1 hour pre game practice, watching tape/ team meetings -count that your day is taken completely. 
  14. If you have been up all night studying, nobody cares. You are expected to be at your practice/game at your very best.
  15. You must be on time (really 15 minutes before) anything. Tardy is not an option. 
  16. You will eat on to go most of your meals. 
  17. Your personal life comes very last. You have to leave it outside of the court. 
  18. You have study hall at least 6 hours per week.
  19. If you make it to the NCAA Tournament, you will compete and travel during your final exams week. Your athletic commitment will not change just because you have exams or 20 page paper due. Find a way. 
  20. Whether you are pre-med, engineering or history major, nobody cares. You still have to make good grades and pass your classes. 
  21. You are to make an appropriate personal sacrifices for the good of the team.

Collegiate Athletics is however worth the sacrifice: No student debt, and the time management skills that will help you for the rest of your life. It teaches you to balance responsibilities. It teaches you to prioritize in a very stressful situations. It teaches you to ditch the excuses.

One day, you will still have to meet job deadlines while you have crying babies at home, health issues, family responsibilities,financial issues, etc. No worries, you already been through that for 4 years and you'll do just fine.