As the volleyball season winds down it becomes more and more important to keep focus and continue to work hard. It can be so easy to let the last few practices become free for alls where there is only Kings of the Court being played or constant scrimmaging.
This may not be a huge concern at the varsity level, but at the JV and Freshmen level it can be. You have played all of your conference matches and maybe one or two non-conference games are left.
What is the point of working hard when the team is basically finished?
Even though your season may be coming to an end, it is important to maintain an environment of hard work and dedication. As a head coach, I demand hard work throughout every level, and I make this the statement of the program. My players must understand that when they come back next year, they will continue to work hard.
Steps to take at the end of the season.
1. Always continue to have a solid practice plan. To have a successful practice, a coach must always have a well thought-out and planned practice. Continue to add new drills, continue to do workouts and conditioning, and definitely continue to teach. Make them know that this is how it is and they should expect it when they come back next season.
2. Do not flake on any of your rules. Your athletes will start to trickle into practice a little later, set up nets a little slower, and end practice on a lower level. Continue to plus your players until the very end.
3. Let your players know what they need to do over the off-season to succeed next season. Have one-on-one meetings with your players and make them aware of what they need to be doing to succeed. Also let them know that the last few weeks of practice and play will leave an impression on the coaches.
What about Varsity?
There are two possibilities for a varsity squad at the end of the year. The team is either in contention for a push to state or the team is just flat out terrible and will definitely not be going far in the playoffs.
If the team is succeeding, follow the steps above and continue to push them. Make the practices before the playoffs some of the most difficult practices that they have had all season, like you are preparing for war.
Be sure that you are still coaching and teaching them. Find opportunities to be a coach and make the team smarter.
If your team has all but given up (and you have too), it is still important to keep them focused by having a good plan. This point of the season may be good for trying new games and maybe making practice “fun” for them. There probably i no need to kick their butt at practice, but if you do not have something fun planned, they will lose all focus and maybe even finish the season early.