Motivating Your Team To Be More Competitive

by Betsy
(Ocala, Fl)

How to motivate your team to be more competitive? How do you teach your team to want to compete harder? How to improve your team’s motivation to get a win?

Answer for Motivating Your Team To Be More Competitive

Volleyball Practice Drills - DefenseI’ll approach this from the training perspective. Let’s hope somebody with the knowledge of sports psychology will contribute further.

1) You can help your team to compete better by running practices in which players compete. Ex. make two serve receivers compete with each other when doing the serve receive drill. Calculate the points for them. If they are fighting for the same playing position, most likely they want to beat each other in it. Use same idea to other positions also.

2) Probably the fastest way to get better and more competitive is to challenge yourself to compete with the tougher competition. If you want to raise your team’s level, one efficient way to do it is to arrange a scrimmage against a higher level team, or practice together with them. Ex. if you are coaching a 14 silver team, practice with or play against the 14 gold team. Or you can try to do it with the older age group.

I add few words about sports psychology..
Sports Psychology in Volleyball - Andrea Lucchetta Italy

Even though majority of the volleyball players who compete say they want to win, many of them have other reasons to play the sports. Some people are motivated by participation; they like to make friends, etc. The winning is not the major driver for athletes who are there for participation.

People who are motivated by participation need to be motivated differently than those who compete to win. Coaches need to find participation related triggers to get the best performance out of the people who are motivated by participation. Since I am not a sports psychology expert I’ll stop here and let somebody who knows more about the topic to continue.

Coach @

Answer II - Motivating Your Team To Be More Competitive

You can ask 100 volleyball players, are you a "volleyball player, or a girl/boy playing volleyball?" , and you'll get 100, "I'm a volleyball player", replies.

But are they really? Do they truly understand what defines being a "volleyball player"?

"Volleyball players" work as hard as they can everytime they take the court. They are focused, positive, team-first athletes, who are always "doing their best" to improve and achieve success.

"Girls/boys playing volleyball" are involved for the social aspects of being part of a team sport. They aren't interested in giving a maximum effort at all times because it it too hard for them to do this (in their minds).
Volleyball Game-like Drills

So what it comes down to is how much they want to "do their best".

Coaches need to help their players find a way to take how they feel about this personally. Doing everything they possibly can to achieve their goals must be connected to their sense of pride. They must be proud of being a "volleyball player", and realize it is the only way they will ever achieve the success they strive for.

How do you do this?

You must get them to realize that it is not easy to be successful, that it takes a lot of time, effort, sweat, focus, sacrifice, etc. (That's why not everyone is successful!) And, if they are putting as much effort into their game as possible, if they are, by our definition, "volleyball players", that they need to be proud of themselves for doing this!

Once they have developed this sense of "pride", then they need to take it personally when another team tries to stop them from achieving success on the court, from reaping the rewards of their commitment.

In otherwords, "They are trying to stop us from achieving what we have worked so hard for! We can't let that happen! We have to work even harder to make sure they don't stop us!"

Once a coach gets their athletes to have pride in "being volleyball players", then it becomes unacceptable to give anything less than their best 100% of the time, because that is not what "volleyball players" do!
Volleyball Spiking Skills

Coaches: This development takes time, and not everyone of your players will "buy into it" at first. But if you stick with the concept you will over time put together a team of "volleyball players".

Once you do, the "winning" will take care of itself. Will you always take home the championship? No, sometimes your opponent will simply have too much more talent, and sometimes they will just play better 'that day".

But, you will always walk out of the gym with a team that can hold their heads up with pride, knowing they gave everything they had to be successful.

And, more times than not, you'll also walk out with the "w".

Dave Cross
National Director
Yes I Can Volleyball

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Triggers vs. Beliefs or Perceptions
by: Loren

I don't think motivation is about finding the right trigger. The idea that triggers create reactions is flawed... there is a piece missing. And that piece is beliefs or perceptions.

It is a players beliefs or perceptions that interpret a trigger, therefore creating a reaction. So rather than search high and low for the right trigger, start helping players form a beneficial belief or perception about the situation.

We can rarely control triggers come match time, but we always have the ability to control beliefs and perceptions.

I believe it is a coaches' job to create an atmosphere that helps instill the beliefs/perceptions that are conducive to performing the sport at its highest level.

Re: Triggers vs. Beliefs or Perceptions
by: Coach at

Nice comments, Loren.

If I understood you correctly, I couldn't agree more with you.

Feel free to correct me, if I didn't.

Let me be more specific and practical. I'll use the situation above as an example.

Situation: A team is motivated by "working hard together and doing their best on the volleyball court".

Belief/perception: A volleyball team has a state of mind "We're volleyball players, not girls/boys just playing volleyball. We are always working hard and give 100% for the team."

Trigger: the coach motivates the team based on the belief/perception. Ex. the opponent is several points ahead and it looks like it is on the way to an easy victory. The coach could remind the team to prevent them giving up: "We are always continuing to work hard and give 100% on the court on every single rally - no matter what the score is. The game ends when the opponent has made the very last point. We all have seen it happen that a team which has been X points behind has made the comeback and won the game because they worked hard as a team until the end of the game."

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