Listening seems like the obvious thing to do, but it’s also the hardest. Our belief that our position is objectively correct means that we don’t want to hear anybody else’s.
In a perfect world, every player would follow direction on the first ask and every decision would be met with no resistance. But volleyball is a game of imperfections, and that means you’re bound to have disagreements with players. While these are never pleasant, they are opportunities to understand your players better and to learn where you can improve as a coach.
More often than not, a disagreement arises when a player has a different idea than the coach on how to achieve the same goal. I’ve been on both sides of these disagreements, and I’ve also been formally trained in rhetoric and communication. Here are a few key communication tips that will help you when you have a different point of view than your player:
Don’t panic: When we hear the word “panic,” we usually think of a response to fear, often freezing and sending our neurons into overdrive.