Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Enhancing Your Mindset for Success in Volleyball

Do you want to improve your volleyball skills? You might be surprised to learn that your mindset plays a crucial role in your success on the court. While physical abilities are important, mental skills such as focus, positivity, and the ability to turn challenges into opportunities are just as crucial for achieving your goals.

Courtney Thompson, former U.S. Women’s National Team setter and Olympic medalist, understands the power of a strong mental game. She believes that everything you need to achieve your dreams is already within you. However, sometimes you need to train yourself to overcome mental barriers and reach your full potential.

In this article, we will explore some valuable mindset training exercises that can help you transform your performance on the volleyball court. These exercises, similar to physical training, should be practiced frequently to build a strong mindset. Let’s dive in!

Control the Controllables

One effective technique to develop a resilient mindset is to focus on the things you can control. Courtney Thompson suggests using a T Chart exercise to identify what is within your control and what is not.

Step One: Take a piece of paper and draw a T-shaped chart. Label the left column as “Things I Can Control” and the right column as “Things I Can’t Control.”

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Step Two: List four things that you have sole responsibility over during a match. For example, you can control your attitude, effort, thoughts, and behavior.

Step Three: Write down a situation in your volleyball career that makes you nervous (e.g., a tryout, being a starter, or getting a scholarship).

Step Four: In the left column, list three actions you can take daily or weekly to address your concerns.

Step Five: In the right column, write down anything that gets in the way of accomplishing your goals, such as winning/losing or other people’s opinions.

Step Six: Tear the paper in half, discarding the right column. This symbolic action represents letting go of worries beyond your control. Focus only on what you can control.

By practicing this exercise daily, ideally before practice or a match, you can start honing your ability to focus on what you can control and let go of distractions.

Morning Mindset Routine

Starting your day with the right mindset can have a significant impact on your performance. Rather than immediately checking your phone or emails, take a moment to cultivate gratitude and set a goal for the day.

Step One: Upon waking up, think about two things you are grateful for.

Step Two: Ask yourself, “How do I want to show up today?” Instead of focusing on what you need to do, consider how you want to approach the day.

By practicing this morning mindset routine, you train your mind to prioritize what is within your control and set a positive tone for the day ahead.

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Building Resiliency

Resilience is a key trait for success in volleyball. To develop resiliency, two techniques can be particularly helpful: reframing and curiosity.

Reframing: Our brains often perceive important moments, such as a crucial volleyball match, as potential threats, triggering a fight-or-flight response. However, it’s essential to train our minds to stay focused and effective in these situations.

Step One: Identify two challenges in volleyball that you enjoy and excite you.

Step Two: Identify two challenges that make you uncomfortable or that you dislike.

Step Three: Reflect on how these challenges differ. Unpleasant challenges often involve external factors such as outcomes or others’ opinions.

Step Four: Reframe the challenges that make you uncomfortable by asking yourself, “What’s the opportunity?” Shift your focus to the aspects within your control.

Curiosity: During a match, it may be challenging to reframe challenges in the heat of the moment. Instead, engage in curiosity by asking questions that create emotional space and promote clear thinking.

Step Five: Consider what questions you could ask yourself during challenges you dislike. These questions will help you approach the situation with curiosity and open-mindedness.

Remember, reframing is not only beneficial for players but also for coaches. By reframing challenges, both players and coaches can unlock their full potential and improve their performance on and off the court.


Q1: How often should I practice these mindset exercises?
A1: Consistency is key. Practice the exercises daily, ideally before practice or a match, to build a strong mindset.

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Q2: Can these mindset techniques be applied to other sports besides volleyball?
A2: Absolutely! While the examples provided are specific to volleyball, the principles of mindset training apply to any sport or aspect of life.

Q3: How long does it take to see results from these mindset exercises?
A3: Results may vary for each individual. With consistent practice and a genuine commitment to personal growth, you will begin to notice positive changes in your mindset and performance over time.

Q4: Are these mindset techniques suitable for athletes of all levels?
A4: Yes, mindset training is beneficial for athletes at any skill level. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, developing a strong mental game will undoubtedly enhance your overall performance.


In volleyball, a strong mental game is just as important as physical skills. By enhancing your mindset, you can unlock your full potential and achieve your goals on the court.

Through mindset exercises like controlling the controllables, morning mindset routines, reframing, and curiosity, you can develop a resilient mindset capable of overcoming challenges and staying focused on what matters most.

So, take the time to train your mind, cultivate gratitude, and set positive intentions every day. Remember, your mindset can be your greatest asset in elevating your volleyball performance to new heights.