Volleyball: Building Team Spirit

To win at volleyball, team spirit must be the "star." Volleyball is a human chess game—a quintessential team sport where six players are, for better or worse (generally worse) better suited psychologically to solo sports.

The players are normally elite athletes who wander in from other sports, who present razor-sharp instincts and hand-eye coordination merged with the precision timing of a fine Swiss watch, and who have the power to move at lightning speed in a small space occupied by five other bodies, without knocking their teeth out. Regrettably, this high level of skill and finesse often comes gift-wrapped in an

ego the size of Cleveland. Self-importance is the bane of teamwork, and in that lies the rub.
Volleyball is the epitome of team sports, and every member is a part of a choreographed whole. One false move and the whole team goes out of sync. Unless team members work strongly to cultivate team spirit, they risk functioning like a collection of bright stars, each straining to outshine and undermine each other.

The greatest way to turn six stars into one winning team is to designate a team captain who's a well-respected motivator and who can rein in her own ego for the improvement of the team. Prior to the game, the team can rehearse team skills like a "trust fall" where team members join hands and each member in turn

is caught as she falls back into the arms of fellow teammates.

Another means to build team spirit is to join in a circle and have each team member say two positive things about each other's performance and personality. Because as volleyball players, you are usually hand-picked for a specific position on the team, this will verify your individual strengths, show how you're essential to the team and make you accountable for your actions.

Before the game, your captain must also go around the circle and highlight the skills she sees each player chipping in to the team effort.

Since volleyball players are generally elite athletes, they run to be perfectionists who are hard on themselves and to their teammates. As a team member you should realize that the team is just as strong as its weakest link, and that everybody must pull together to back up that weak link by what they say and do before, during and after the game.
Quality practice makes perfect when it comes to building team spirit. The more sweat, blood and tears your team expends collectively, the deeper your bond, and the more easily you will be able to accomplish your personal goals within the team context.

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