Volleyball and the Real World Application
By Mikayla Catani
To some, volleyball is just a sport, while to others it is an art form. Understanding volleyball allows individuals to develop critical thinking skills, organizational skills, and self-awareness skills. Bystanders may find the sport fun and fast paced, but they rarely understand all of the effort that goes into playing it. Playing volleyball involves more than learning how court chemistry comes together and how plays are run. Playing involves learning the moves and habits of your teammates as well as gaining a sense of awareness. By practicing, a person can develop awareness and critical thinking skills that are important in the game and life.
Skills to be Successful
For a setter, volleyball is like a game of chess. It is all about reading the other players and keeping track of his or her own team. A setter has to be more aware than the other players on the court because he or she controls the pace of the entire game. To play this position successfully, a setter must be witty and smart. He or She must be able to think faster than the pace of the game. On top of that, a setter needs to be able to express his or her thoughts to teammates as well as to listen to teammates. Communication, like in anything else, is a key factor of success in volleyball. A defender must communicate with teammates about positioning. If one player cannot reach the ball, his or her teammates need to know, so they can reach the ball. Players talk to each other during a play to help make decisions about if the ball is in or out of bounds, and players will normally give advice on what play to run. Sometimes players will voice encouragements if another teammate is not playing their best. Another example of communication in volleyball is how a setter and hitter communicate effectively to set the ball along the net where it will not be blocked. Some skills that a setter needs to be successful are as follows:
• Know where everyone is supposed to be on the court at all times.
• Read his or her opponent’s behavior and make small adjustments.
• Communicate thoughts and intentions to teammates.
• Move swiftly and think rapidly.
• Plan moves steps ahead.
• Make calculated movements that do not indicate plays to defenders.
Real Life Application
Communication, strategy, and critical thinking are skills that educators work hard to teach effectively. College focuses on testing a student’s ability to perform critical thinking activities. Some professors do not understand how students are coming to college with such limited practice in this area. While students have practiced critical thinking in a classroom environment, many students have never been exposed to critical thinking in a realistic setting. Sports are a realistic outlet that can give students an opportunity to begin developing these very important skills.
When someone is able to grow up practicing these skills in a scenario that he or she enjoys, that person learns faster and gives motivation to solve complex problems in life. Passion to learn infused within these necessary skills, one is able to gain experience in a fun, involving way.
By actively participating in sports, individuals practice at problem solving and forming strategy goals, skills which gain importance with age. Particular roles in certain sports, such as a setter position in volleyball, may offer more in-depth practice of these skills than other sports. In addition to learning physical skills, athletes develop mental skills that are relevant to life through the sports they play.