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VolleySLIDE - Getting Started - Top Tips, by Matt Rogers (GBR)

Prior to this I had no experience of working in disability sport, sport development or even performance sport.  At times it was a steep learning curve, but some lessons that I learnt along the way that stick out when looking back now are:


•  As Albert Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You need people who are comfortable with ‘change’, who are able to separate what is best for the sport or a team from a personal preference.  


•  You cannot develop Performance teams without a development base to support it.  It is also hard to initiate any kind of major development without a Performance outlet for the players involved to aspire to.


•  Explore all leads for player recruitment.  Top level sitting volleyball players need to be selected on more than

just their disability, but that is the foremost important factor and difference from traditional sports.


•  Don´t be afraid to talk about an individual’s ‘disability’, just talk in a straight and factual way.  Ask what they

can do, rather than assume what they can’t.   In any team sport you need to maximize strengths and cover

weaknesses,  Sitting Volleyball is no different.


•  Be careful what you give for free when trying to get things going, quite often the more you give the more

people expect.  Receiving lots and giving very little themselves isn’t a mindset or environment that will facilitate performance.


•  When undertaking a whole sport development there are so many areas that need attention, the key is to try and keep all areas progressing alongside each other.  At times it felt like we were spinning multiple plates, but the most important thing is to delegate where possible and have people around you who you can reply on.  Then focus on the areas that are most important, and give whatever it takes to keep them moving forwards.


•  Most individuals, particularly those that you want playing your sport are competitive by nature.  Competition can drive a number of key areas, but it needs to be relevant and frequent enough so that teams push their own development in an effort to achieve success.


•  Don’t rely solely on results to gauge your progression, there are many different ways to play and evaluate the game of Volleyball.  To achieve at the highest level you need to control the ball and generate an attack to take points off the top teams.  Some teams, even at international level, rely solely on sending the ball back randomly, often on the first touch.  This is fine and often brings more short term success as they only have 1 touch of the ball on which they can make a mistake as opposed to 3, but to compete at the highest level you need to play the game using all 3 touches, so try to instill this mindset early on.