Monday, 27 May 2024

How to Become an Effective Court Leader

Originally published in Your Court, the official digital magazine of USA Volleyball.

Looking to play a more active role on your team and improve your leadership skills on and off the court? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with valuable advice from top athletes and coaches to help you become a better court leader.

Karch Kiraly – Head Coach, U.S. Women’s Indoor National Team

According to Karch Kiraly, the key to becoming a better leader is to focus on self-improvement. Kiraly suggests starting by looking at yourself as the person you can control. Leading by example is essential. If you give your all in every play, your teammates will respect your thoughts about effort and follow your lead.

J. Dee Marinko – U.S. Men’s Sitting National Team

We also have insights from J. Dee Marinko, who emphasizes the following qualities for effective court leadership:

  • Passion: Love what you do and play with enthusiasm for the game.
  • Understanding: Have a deep understanding of the game and be mentally engaged from start to finish.
  • Focus: Overcome distractions and motivate yourself and your teammates to push through challenges.
  • Presence: Embrace the moment and show that you belong on the court.
  • Unity: Support your teammates wholeheartedly and stand by them no matter what.
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Jordan Larson – U.S. Women’s National Team

Jordan Larson believes that leadership is not just about talking, but about actions and setting the right example. Here are a few examples from Larson:

  • Demonstrating a strong work ethic during practices.
  • Maintaining a resilient attitude when facing difficult conditions during travel.
  • Approaching the game with consistent focus and dedication.

According to Larson, being able to set and maintain a high standard is the best way to lead.

Tyler Hildebrand – Director of Coaching, Beach National Teams

Tyler Hildebrand highlights the importance of adaptability in modern leadership. Athletes nowadays value information and emotional understanding more than strict discipline and authority. Leaders need to influence rather than control. Hildebrand believes that this shift is positive and allows for more effective and meaningful leadership.

Kawika Shoji

Kawika Shoji believes that effective leadership starts with selflessness and love. Being a leader means leading by example, demonstrating a strong work ethic, and finding ways to uplift and connect with your teammates both on and off the court. True leadership is finding joy in lifting others up and witnessing their success.

With the advice and insights provided by these experienced athletes and coaches, you now have the tools to become a better court leader. Embrace these principles and watch your leadership skills soar to new heights!


Q: How can I become a better leader on the court?
A: To become a better leader, focus on self-improvement and leading by example. Give your all in every play and show your teammates the importance of effort.

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Q: What qualities make an effective court leader?
A: Effective court leaders possess qualities such as passion, understanding of the game, focus, presence, and unity. They support their teammates and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Q: What is the role of adaptability in leadership?
A: In modern leadership, adaptability is crucial. Athletes value information and emotional understanding over strict discipline and authority. Leaders need to influence and adapt to meet their team’s needs.


Becoming a better court leader requires self-improvement, leading by example, and demonstrating key qualities such as passion, understanding, focus, presence, unity, and adaptability. By following the advice of experienced athletes and coaches, you can enhance your leadership skills and make a positive impact on your team. Embrace the opportunity to lead, and watch your team thrive both on and off the court.

Ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Start by implementing these valuable insights and lead your team to success! For more information and resources, visit