Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Seven Mistakes I’ll Never Make Again

Stretching before practice or a match is a must.

Originally published in the Winter 2016-17 edition of VolleyballUSA

It’s impossible to go through life without making mistakes, and that’s okay! Mistakes are often a good thing, assuming you learn from them. Here are seven that I’ve made in my volleyball career that I don’t plan on repeating.

Not stretching enough before playing

Every time I tried to play without properly stretching, I ended up with an injury of some sort. Stretching and warming up before playing is even more important when you’re sore from previous workouts. Just a few extra minutes can prevent you from months of injury rehab.

“Really, I’m fine coach! It doesn’t hurt!”

I’m not going to say that you should never play through some soreness, because that’s part of being an athlete. But there are no benefits to playing through serious injuries, and you need to clear it with a certified trainer or medical professional before you play with any kind of injury.

Playing while injured elevates the risk of injuring yourself even worse, and you won’t be playing at your full potential. In my experiences, playing through injuries has only slowed down the healing process and kept me off the court longer.

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Pigging out before practice

Diet affects performance on the court more than most people realize. Even though it seems easier and quicker to go grab some fast food or an unhealthy snack, you’ll thank yourself later for choosing something healthier. Trust me, you will regret that cheeseburger when you’re doing your third set of sprints.

Staying up too late the night before a tournament

Whether you’re hanging out with friends or binge-watching Netflix, I know how easy it is to lose track of time. You thought you’d just stay out for a little longer with your friends or watch just one more episode of your show. But pretty soon you’ve wasted a few hours you could have spent sleeping. I’m never able to perform at my best when I’m sleep deprived.

Dwelling too long on the last play

Volleyball is a fast-paced game, and you have to be able to move on from mistakes quickly. It’s impossible to have a career as an athlete without making mistakes. They’re part of the game. But thinking too much about the last play has a snowball effect, with one mistake turning into another.

The only thing that should matter is the current play and what you’re going to do at that very moment to earn the point. You can’t change the past, and you definitely can’t worry about the future.

Ignoring coach instructions

One of the most important things I’ve learned through playing is that when coach gives you a specific instruction in a game, you do it. Coaches have a lot more experience and knowledge about the game than their players do. If your coach tells you to block line, you block line. If they tell you to commit on the middle, that’s exactly what you do. More times than not, you’ll be successful by following their instructions.

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Expecting that it’s enough to just show up for practice

There’s a lot more that goes into success than just going to practice a few times a week. Weight training, healthy diet, proper sleep, stretching, and studying the game are all factors, among other things. As I began doing more outside of practice, I saw huge improvements in my play.

Kendall Kipp was a 16-year-old junior player when she wrote this article. She played middle on the 2016 and 2017 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team.


Q: Why is stretching before playing important?

A: Stretching before playing helps prevent injuries and prepares your body for physical activity. It is especially crucial when you are sore from previous workouts.

Q: Should I play through injuries?

A: While playing through some soreness is a part of being an athlete, it is essential to consult a certified trainer or medical professional before playing with any serious injuries. Playing with injuries can worsen your condition and impair your performance.

Q: How does diet affect performance in volleyball?

A: Diet plays a significant role in performance on the court. Choosing healthier options over fast food or unhealthy snacks can enhance your energy levels and improve overall performance.

Q: Why is it important to get enough sleep before a tournament?

A: Getting enough sleep is crucial for optimal performance. Staying up too late the night before a tournament can leave you feeling tired and unable to perform at your best.

Q: Why is it important to move on from mistakes quickly in volleyball?

A: Volleyball is a fast-paced game, and dwelling too long on mistakes can negatively affect your performance. Being able to let go of the last play and focus on the current moment is crucial for success.

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In this article, we discussed seven mistakes that should be avoided in volleyball. These include not stretching enough before playing, playing through serious injuries, indulging in unhealthy food before practice, staying up late before a tournament, dwelling on mistakes, ignoring coach instructions, and expecting practice alone to be enough for success. By learning from these mistakes and making necessary adjustments, you can enhance your performance on the court. Prioritize your physical well-being, follow your coach’s instructions, and put in the necessary effort outside of practice to improve your game.

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