Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Time Out on the Court

By Dennis Belaire (Wixom, Mich.), USA Volleyball CAP Level II Article

In a gripping silver division championship match, I called a time out to compose my team of 12-year-olds. We had previously faced this team in pool play, splitting the match 25-27, 25-19. With both teams evenly matched, we anticipated a highly competitive championship match.

After winning the first set 25-20 and losing the second set 24-26, we remained confident in our ability to outplay our opponents in the deciding set. However, a missed serve at the start led to a 6-0 run by our opponents, putting us at a disadvantage. I called a time out, hoping to disrupt their server’s momentum and regain our own. Despite getting the ball back, we were trailing 1-6. The odds seemed stacked against us.

Down by seven in a deciding set to 15, we were facing a tough challenge. Our performance declined, and our opponents demonstrated poor sportsmanship as they laughed and celebrated their seemingly imminent victory. However, we refused to give up. Through spirited rallies and incredible plays, we fought back, trailing 10-12. Our opponents called a time out, and during this break, our parents overheard their coach discussing a previous match where they had lost in a similar fashion after building a big lead.

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Reflecting on the difference in coaching approaches, I realized the impact of positive reinforcement. Instead of focusing on their previous failure, during my time out, I reminded my team of the successful practices we had leading up to the tournament. I encouraged them to recreate the same positive atmosphere and mindset on the court. This shift in perspective seemed to have a positive effect on our gameplay. Ultimately, we achieved an impressive comeback, winning the set 15-13.

This experience made me appreciate the valuable training I have received from USA Volleyball. The knowledge and guidance I have acquired over the years have shaped my coaching philosophy and enabled me to make informed decisions during critical moments. I credit my coaching reputation to the training I received, which seamlessly guided me to deliver an effective time out speech without pre-planning.

For aspiring coaches or those considering further training, I highly recommend pursuing the training opportunities offered by USA Volleyball. The skills and insights gained might surprise you when you face challenging situations with the match on the line.