“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John Maxwell.
Some people think being a leader is easy. They think all it involves is telling people what to do and when to do it. The fact of the matter is that being a leader isn’t a fun job, especially on the volleyball court.
I stepped out onto the court as the starting varsity setter my sophomore year in high school. I had other leaders around me, some I could learn from, and some I could learn what not to do. Even with this year of experience, I cannot say that I was fully prepared to lead when my junior year rolled around.
Looking at a leader from the outside, either as a follower or as a parent, is nothing close to what it is actually to have the full experience. The weight of every single game rests on your shoulders, and especially so if you’re the setter. (The general rule of thumb is that if a game is lost, it’s the setter’s fault. If it’s won, it’s the hitter’s actions.) Thus, being a setter in a leadership position puts a huge target on one’s back for criticisms from not only teammates but also parents.
To the parents, I say only that you should not get involved unless the case involves physical abuse. Beyond that, your child has decided to become a follower in that they have done what the leader has asked of them. There is nothing you should do to interfere with the leader or their methods. A leader’s job is hard enough as it is without meddling parents who, most of the time, don’t know the complete situation. There are always two halves to the truth: one person’s side of the story, and the other side of the story.
To the followers on the court, try your best not to criticize the leader openly in public. This will usually result in some sort of mutiny, which can only bring the team down in the long run. Also, your job is to be a follower and to do what is asked of you, even if you don’t agree with it. If you are so inclined, you can do the following things listed below in order to become the leader, and then to have things done your way. A lot of times, there are numerous leaders on a court. Also, being caught in between a follower and a leader is a detriment as well.
The Leader’s Job:
* be respectful
* be firm
* tell people when they aren’t doing well as well as when they are
* deal with the officials
* keep the team calm when necessary; fire the team up when necessary
* deal with any problems between teammates in a quick manner
* be the one to do the unwanted jobs (shagging balls, cleaning up water bottles, etc.)
* be loud on the court
* know everyone’s rotation at all times
* to talk with the coach when problems arise
* be honest and direct
* be focused, serious, and intense
Types of Leaders:
* physical leaders: those who lead by example
* emotional leaders: those who can pump a team up and be supportive teammate
* informal leaders: those who are dependable players; confident, steady, consistent players
* reluctant leaders: those who lead because they have to
And remember, hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
How to Lead a Volleyball Team