“Never let the ball hit the ground without a body part hitting the ground with it.”
I had the great opportunity to watch my daughter’s Junior High volleyball team play against a tough opponent, a team that had quickly and easily beat them in straight sets in the first game of the season. As I reflect on the game they played last night, this quote and fundamental technique rings true to volleyball players of all ages and levels.
There was a tenseness in the air, it reverberated throughout the entire gym. I knew my daughter and her teammates were anxious, she’d been talking about it for two weeks, they hadn’t won against the opposing team in years and they wanted to get a win on their home court. Her team has come a long way since that first game and they came ready to play.
The score was close and back and forth, they took the first set. During the second set they were up 24-21, then served out of bounds and the ball went to the other team. At 24-24 they were tied and got the ball back. At 25-24, they served and scored for the winning point. Not only did they win but they beat their rivals in straight sets.
Throughout the game I witnessed how quickly the girls bounced back from mistakes and miscues. They supported each other while keeping their own emotions under control. After the win, I watched the team celebrate with class, inviting the opposing team to cheer with them.
As we drove home my daughter explained to me that she felt a buzz through her body. In order to maintain her composure during the game she said focusing on what it would feel like to win kept her calm. She resorted back to the times in practice when she landed a serve or bumped the volleyball just right to one of her teammates.
Athletes deal with adversity and competition whenever they step out onto the court, field, or pitch. Resilience in Action (Island Resilience Technique) is a technique athletes can use to manage emotions though strategic thinking and physical fatigue. Resilience is more than using coping skills, practicing self-care and using I-statements to overcome life obstacles. As I witnessed when watching her team play, the desire to win can provide athletes with all the resilience they need.
Athletes who tap into prior successes can overcome being down in the 4th quarter, down by two points, or facing off with a team that has already had your number.
Way to go Lady Bulldogs!