A Complete Guide To Helping Your Child Succeed In Volleyball


The sport of volleyball can be an incredible confidence and character booster for your teen or preteen daughter. Volleyball teaches valuable lessons like collaboration, dedication, and passion.

If you are wondering what you can do to help your athlete improve in the sport, you’re in luck! A parents role is vital in an athletes success, so long as there is mutual interest and dedication from the athlete. The best ways you can help your daughter improve at volleyball are

  1. Ensure that your child is interested in playing a team sport, specifically volleyball. Make sure they understand what it means to dedicate themselves to a sports team and the time commitment involved.
  2. Help your child practice the fundamental skills of volleyball by providing a school with an excellent program, a club team which practices regularly and has an experienced coaching staff, helping them with at home drills and supplying equipment, considering private coaching if you want efficient results.
  3. Provide your athlete with online resources to build their volleyball IQ. These can include reading material on strategy and form, watching college game footage, checking out YouTube videos, and purchasing online programs to help them understand their position and receive expert advice on technique.
  4. Provide resources at the house to help your athlete improve. There are tons of products on the market that supplement practice time and a volleyball court.
  5. Help them identify their goals within volleyball and beyond and help them make a plan of action, but don’t micromanage.
  6. Frequent their games and practices and show support by being a team mom or dad. Make sure they have all the equipment they need to be well prepared for practices and games.
  7. Teach your child respect for others by showing it yourself. Set a good example by being positive, and supporting the coach, other players besides your child, referee, and the other team.
  8. Emphasize that winning a game is not the ultimate goal of playing sports, that it is competition, working towards a common goal and having fun that make sports a success.
  9. Teach healthy communication techniques. These are invaluable for solving disputes with their teammates and coaches. It is also an awesome skill that will benefit your child throughout their entire lives.
  10. Help your athlete identify further opportunities in their game and encourage them to continue to grow both as an athlete and as a person.
  11. Reduce burnout by encouraging other sports as well as volleyball.
  12. Encourage recovery, nutrition and overall health! Not just athletic performance in one sport.

Confirm That Your Son or Daughter Actually Wants To Play Volleyball

It is not enough that you want them to be involved in the sport alone. Parents play a huge supporting role in adolescent athletics, but your child is the star of that show! If they are not interested then they will not find success and happiness, but you as a parent will find frustration.

The best thing you can do as a parent is to have a conversation with your child and see what sport or extra curricular activity really interests them. You may love volleyball and assume that your child does as well when in reality they want to learn how to throw pottery or play tennis. As a parent you should be supportive of whatever positive skill set your child wants to pick up even if it is not something that you yourself are interested in.

If your child does want to play volleyball, make sure they also understand what it means to dedicate to a sports team and the time commitment involved. Teams demand up to 20 hours of time a week in some cases which can be challenging for a full time student. They should evaluate what their situation is and if that matches up with the team they are considering joining.

Help Your Athlete Practice The Fundamental Skills Of The Sport Of Volleyball

The best players are a result of athlete dedication, excellent coaches, self education and time. Since we have already established that your athlete is dedicated to improving, the first thing you can do for your athlete is give them the opportunity to learn from the best.

Ideally if your athlete wants to readily improve at volleyball they should be learning from an established coach, both at the varsity and club levels. This is not always realistic. Most parents are not going to buy property and change their residence for a more successful high school volleyball program.

If your high school coach is less established, don’t worry. There are tons of ways that you can continue your athlete’s volleyball education outside of the varsity program!

An Online Volleyball Guide Written By An Experienced Coach Specific To Your Player’s Position

This is a major one. You want to teach your son or daughter the fundamentals of volleyball both in skill and strategy and you can do it at home in a cost effective manner. Even if your high school coach rocks, this is an awesome way to supplement learning and reiterate the principles of the sport.

An online program will elevate your child’s volleyball IQ, help them understand proper form and footwork in a skill, and even teach them proper court communication. It can be an invaluable resource for your child, and to share with other members of their team.

Private Coaching

If your athlete’s coach isn’t cutting it, it may be time to reach out to a club organization (if you are not already part of one) to hire a private volleyball coach. On any team you are going to have a coach who is splitting their time among 8-14 players. The best way to improve is to get individualized attention. It is pricey, but it is worth it.

Online Volleyball Consulting

Another great way to supplement a less experienced coach is through online consulting. The process is simple: record video of the skill your athlete wants to advance in and upload it. One of our Volleyball Solutions coaches who is an expert in that skill will respond within 1 day. The best part is that it won’t break the bank. Get a personalized evaluation and answers to all your questions from a professional for under $100

Club Volleyball

Every athlete who wants to play competitive volleyball should look into a club program to identify whether playing club volleyball is feasible for them.

Club volleyball is the widely used name for USA Junior Olympic Volleyball which is organized through USAV. These are generally travel teams who take volleyball to a higher level. The coaches of club organizations tend to be more experienced and the level of play is more competitive.

With club volleyball you can expect your son or daughter to practice 3x/ week, typically one of those will be on a weekend. You can also expect to travel to tournaments a couple times a month.

Tournaments will be held mainly within your state, no more than a few hours drive, but there will also be a handful of out of state tournaments where you may want to fly. Each club will travel differently, some pay for athletes to travel in their price of admission. For others that cost will fall on the parents throughout the season. Make sure you have a clear idea of how much a club costs and what that covers before you tryout.

Increase Your Athletes Volleyball IQ Using Online Resources

Getting better at volleyball is the same as getting better at anything else. You need repetition and to collect as much information on the subject as possible.

There tends to be limited knowledge on the internet concerning the sport of volleyball from reliable sources. At Volleyball Solutions we are working hard every day to change that! Stay updated with us as we pool our information from our coaching staff by signing up for our email list. We’ll send you a free Ebook to help your athlete improve their serve.

What Types Of Online Resources?

Online resources can include reading material on strategy and form, watching college game footage, checking out YouTube videos, and purchasing online programs to help your athlete understand their position and receive expert advice on technique.

One of the best ways to improve on your knowledge of volleyball techniques and strategies is to read as much as possible. You can rent books from the library or do your research online.

Programs and guides are especially useful because it is something they will own and be able to revisit in the future. Taking in new information is all about repetition, unfortunately a coach only has time to touch on a subject so many times in a season. The are managing 10-14 players who may have different positions and goals than your athlete. A supplemental guide which provides online self guided teaching can make a huge difference.

Make sure you are getting your knowledge from a reputable source. All of our free resources and those available for purchase are written by a team of retired college volleyball players. Our staff have dedicated 10+ years of their lives to learning the sport from various coaching platforms and mastering the skills needed as a player. Most of our staff are also coaches with several years of experience.

Providing Your Athlete With Proper Equipment For Court Time and At Home Practices

Make sure they have all the equipment they need to be well prepared for practices and games. Volleyball players should have specific volleyball shoes and should always have knee pads unless they have been properly taught how to fall without them. Even still I recommend knee pads as a safety precaution.

There are also ways to practice the skills that volleyball players use most in the comfort of your home. With recent global health concerns this is especially relevant.

There is equipment for all price ranges from strength and conditioning equipment to volleyball specific gear meant to supplement a volleyball court at home. Check out our article on volleyball equipment and strength training gear for more help.

Be Supportive And Listen To Your Child About What They Want For Their Future

You should help them identify goals within volleyball and in other areas to help them make a plan of action. Just remember not to micromanage. If your son or daughter just wants to play a sport for fun and be a part of something, let them know that that is okay and you fully support them.

You don’t have to go pro to find success as a volleyball player. The real success is finding yourself and building character along the way! Know when to help and when helping hurts.

Frequent Your Child’s Games And Show Support By Being A Team Mom Or Dad

Being a team mom or dad is a great way to get involved and show support to your athlete, the team and the coach. Talk to your child’s coach about ways you can help them and get involved.

Tell your child just how much you enjoy watching them compete and appreciate not only their dedication, but the hard work they have put in on improving themselves. Notice I said hard work NOT how good they are. Studies show that children who are praised for effort not for their ability are more successful.

Set A Healthy Example For Your Athlete By Being Respectful

We’ve all experienced that fan who can’t help but get too worked up by a youth sports game. It starts as a friendly game and then someone lets their emotions get the best of them and ends up yelling at the ref, players, coach or another fan.

Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the players who are trying to focus on the game, sometimes it happens to be the parents who should be setting a positive example for their son or daughter. Be sure to avoid being this person by being respectful of the other players on the team, their parents, the coach, referees and the other teams they compete against.

“Let the coaches coach, the parents parent, the players play, and the officials officiate.”

Never bad mouth anyone in the volleyball world especially in front of your athlete. You want to teach your child to navigate the world of team sports with dignity and grace.

Emphasize Competition NOT Winning

Be approachable on subjects like losses. Remember when teaching your athlete the values of athletics and team sports that it is competition, working towards a common goal and having fun that make sports a success.

They are not going to remember the games that they lost, what they are going to remember are the values that sports taught them, the camaraderie of their teammates and the taste of personal progress achieved through hard work and dedication.

Help Your Athlete Develop Healthy Communication Techniques

Volleyball is a team sport, but not only is it a team sport, it is the sport with the most people working together in the smallest space. So how do all of those players manage to stay in that small area without running into each other? Communication of course!

More than in-game communication you want your athlete to be able to discuss differing opinions with their teammates and coaches in a healthy way.

You can teach your child healthy communication skills by:

  1. Teaching them to listen to other people’s feelings.
  2. Encourage them to look for other underlying feelings that may not be as obvious.
  3. Educate on positive communication and respect for others and their feelings.
  4. Advise your child athlete to choose their words carefully when talking about their own feelings and to truly mean them.
  5. Teach assertive communication practices so that your athlete is comfortable opening up.

Help Your Athlete Identify Further Opportunities In Their Game

You can do this by asking the right questions after games. What do you think is the strongest and weakest part of your game? What would you like to improve on? Why do you think that team beat yours tonight?

If you want the help of an expert you can always participate in online volleyball consulting. By uploading footage of a game or just a particular skill you can learn ways to help your athlete improve.

Encourage Your Athlete To Play More Than One Sport

One of the best ways to broaden your players strategic mind is by introducing them to other sports. Playing multiple sports, especially other team sports helps to build out the tactical brain of an athlete.

Playing other sports also helps to prevent burnout in volleyball players. This sport is a late development sport meaning in later years is when volleyball athletes tend to really pick up key skill sets and improve. Because of this it is okay for athletes to start practicing the sport at a later age or practice other sports at the same time.  

It is best to start playing young, around 8 or so, but to play other sports as well. Playing four sports in high school made me incredibly well rounded as an athlete and prevented me from burning out on just volleyball! Sports like baseball and basketball are great for building hand eye coordination. Sports like track and field increase the over all fitness of a player.

Nurture A Healthy Athlete

Encourage Rest Days

Athletes NEED breaks. I always encourage players to have 1-2 active recovery days throughout their week.  Active recovery is a physical activity that is not related to their sport. Here are some examples: bike riding, swimming, yoga, walking, dancing

Nutrition

Volleyball players need a proper fuel source to assist them in their athletic goals. It is tough to get essential muscle growth and build strength if you are not feeding your child properly. You want to minimize sugar and unhealthy fats while encouraging your athlete to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Establish that your athlete is receiving enough carbs, fat and protein and that these are balanced in the proper ratios.

It is also encouraged to provide a meal/snack before and after practice or a game so they have the right fuel at the right time. The food before activity should include carbs and natural sugar like those found in a banana.

After activity, the food should be more protein based to encourage muscle recovery. Protein bars and shakes are a good substitution for when you are on the run, however a majority of protein should be consumed by means of lean meats or other whole foods such as lentils that are high in protein. 

We encourage players to see a nutritionist as well for individualized advice, especially in the case of metabolic disorders, food allergies, or food preferences such as vegetarianism or veganism.

Especially important to note here is “Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S)” which was formerly known as female athlete triad syndrome, the name change is because it can occur in males athletes as well. Typically symptoms include fatigue, missed periods, and increased risk of bone fractures.  Read more on RED-S:

See A Physical Therapist

Volleyball Solutions Physical Therapist Stephanie Habryl, DPT

What does a Physical Therapist do? 

A physical therapist, or PT, has undergone rigorous education to become a movement expert and has advanced knowledge of the human body. They may hold a bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree. The profession has transitioned to a doctorate degree in the last two decades. 

It may be worthwhile to seek out a specialist that has more experience with athletes. Physical therapists may have certifications such as a Sports Certified Specialists (SCS) or Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS). 

What would an evaluation with a physical therapist look like?

Scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist can be especially important when a player has been injured, is feeling pain during or after activity, or has a pre-existing condition which affects their ability to participate in sport. An evaluation with PT can start with a review of medical history and current symptoms, testing of strength and range of motion, along with balance and agility testing. 

Keep in mind, that physical therapists have to justify to insurance why treatment is medically necessary. If you are hoping for your athlete to jump higher or run faster, the physical therapist may have difficulty having insurance cover treatment if there is no physical impairment.

However a justifiable impairment such as decreased ankle mobility that is affecting the quality of their jump, would be more likely to be covered. Pain with activity is also a commonly justifiable impairment. 

Volleyball Solutions Physical Therapist Stephanie Habryl, DPT

A physical therapist could also help you create a home exercise program to prevent future injuries. For example, ankle injuries are highly prevalent among volleyball players, so a PT has the knowledge base to prescribe exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle joint to decrease the possibility of ankle sprains. 

Get Your Athletes Blood Work Done

It is important as a parent to make sure your athlete doesn’t have any deficiencies of nutrients that would hinder them in their athletic goals. It is also a great foundation for your athlete to compare their blood work to in the future. 

Be sure to check your athlete for the possibility of iron deficiency anemia. This is a common issue especially among female athletes where the player is not receiving enough oxygen due to a shortage of red blood cells.

Help Your Athlete Create A Recruiting Video

When they are ready, help your athlete create or purchase a recruiting video to send out to college coaches. Make sure playing college volleyball aligns with their goals before broaching the subject. Then check out our guide to making a recruiting video or have us make one for you

Coach Alyx

CEO and Founder of Volleyball Solutions. Coach Alyx has been playing and coaching women's indoor volleyball for over 15 years. "Volleyball is my culture. It is an incredible opportunity I have to share my knowledge of the sport, as well as the raw character it develops, with our next generation of players."

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