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Today’s question is a real one, and it’s a tough one. The names and identities were asked to be kept private, but this is still a question I wanted to address.
The problem for our volleyball player is that her current high school started a volleyball program for the first time this year, and therefore they aren't very competitive. Meanwhile, she has played club for years and is a competitive in the sport. Some of her friends have played club with her, but most the girls who tried out have very little experience. An even bigger problem, is that the coach has never coached volleyball before, and is therefore less experienced then our volleyball player.
So how should she handle it? I offer my best advice in the podcast episode, but here are a couple things you need to understand.
If you find yourself in a similar spot, the first thing you need to accept is that this is a delicate situation. You cannot come in and act like a bossy know-it-all, and assume that will lead your team to victory. The chance for that approach to work is almost zero.
You will need to develop a close relationship with the coach. This relationship will be important if you want to do any winning at all.
You need the respect of your teammates. You need your teammates to like and respect one another. If you want to take the lead in this situation, you’ve got to gather their support.
Start by addressing the coach in a polite and respectful way. Remember, you might not actually know more than the coach. Maybe they have been reading 2-3 books a week on the topic in preparation of the season. Your coach will also have more experience in areas outside of volleyball that they can bring to the team. If they are a good leader, or a good teacher, they are going to be able to help the team, even without as much technical knowledge.
Thinking you know more, helps no one. So, don’t go around boasting about your knowledge. Instead, talk to your coach about the goals for the season. What do you want to accomplish personally, and what do you want for the team? Ask the coach for advice on how the two of you can work together to hit your goals.
Start an ongoing conversation where you work together and can move the team towards a goal, together. Your job needs to be to keep the team following along. If you badmouth the coach, or start to lead the team in a different direction, the likely outcome is losing and general misery.
I want to make sure that point is emphasized, so I'll say it again. Create a goal together, and work together towards moving the team towards that goal. You and your coach might offer two entirely different skill sets, but both skill sets need to be used together, in unison. So if you have technical knowledge, and the coach has leadership knowledge, use them both!
Las thing before I go. Talk to your coach about how much "coaching" you can or should be doing. The coach might want you to be a captain and be vocal in your instructions. Then again, the coach might want to give you some info and have you be a quiet leader, do what you're supposed to be doing and the team will follow. Once again, that is a topic that you should talk with your coach about. Create a strong dialog between the two of you, and things will hopefully work out.
Listen to the podcast if this topic interests you. :) Good luck this season. I want to know how it goes.
If you have any questions or advice, be sure to leave a comment!
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