We all have goals, things we want to achieve. Our goals in volleyball can be for example to become a professional player, to be the best outside hitter in our country, to become a coach, to beat the team from the next town or we just want to learn how to play volleyball.
But many of us don’t have a system or process for achieving these goals and so we often fail to meet our goals.That’s what millionaire and bestselling book author of Principles Ray Dalio talks about, and Ali Abdaal made a great youtube video on the subject. Their ideas on how to achieve your goals are relevant to volleyball players as well, which is why I focus on them in this video.
In his book, Ray Dalio talks about the 5 steps how to achieve everything you want in your life. Let’s go for it.
1. Set goals.
Ray talks about the fact that “You have to have your audacious goals”, that we are often limited by the setting of our mindset. We don’t go after some audacious goals because we think they are unattainable and instead we stay in our comfort zone and try to achieve the goals we know we can achieve.
I’ve experienced this myself during my career. For example, we played against Brazil in the World Championship, before the game we were already saying to ourselves, They are the Brazilians, we can’t beat them. We went into the game with a lot of respect and almost a defeatist attitude. But because we played good volleyball and played as a team, we were able to match the Brazilians and lost a close game in fifth set.
Or in the second case, I must admit, I wasn’t very good at defending in the field, I wasn’t a true defender. I set a lot of limits in my head… I can’t have this ball, I’m not gonna jump in the field for this ball, I’ve never defended it.
And Julio Velasco, when he coached our national team, immediately recognized my weakness in the field. He didn’t let me drop any ball in the field, if I didn’t jump for the ball or try to take it, he immediately took the basket with balls and started throwing one ball after another to me, I was flying from side to side in the field, often falling down. And in about a month I felt a great improvement in the field, not that my technique improved radically, but in my mind my limits dissolved and I went for every ball.
That’s why in volleyball don’t set goals in advance that you haven’t attempted. Don’t tell yourself something is not possible. And make a list of your audacious volleyball goals.
2. Notice your mistakes
After we have set our audacious goals we need to find out what problems we may encounter on the way to accomplishing our volleyball goals. Ray says,
“As you go to those, you are going to encounter your failures, your mistakes. You have to identify those and not tolerate them.”
Most of the time it is our mistakes, weaknesses or problems that we sometimes don’t want to admit to ourselves because of our ego. And we all know that volleyball is a lot about mistakes. Sometimes it’s only the mistakes that decide whether our team wins or loses.Often it is not easy to find these mistakes and problems, we ourselves don’t realize or even our coach doesn’t reveal all of them. So try to find as many of your mistakes and imperfections as possible, you don’t have to share them with anyone, they will only be your personal mistakes.
A great way to find your mistakes is to look at your volleyball skills. In my videos I talk about the 6 basic volleyball skills. Take a look at yourself and tell yourself. Am I good at serving? How am I hitting? What about my reception? Am I really great in the field? Can I set from a difficult positions? With these and similar questions, you will find out if you are strong in volleyball skills. If you are not sure of the answer to any of the questions, count it as a your weakness.
And if you want to look inside yourself, into the details of your volleyball performance, you shouldn’t just stick with volleyball skills. There are many more elements that affect our performance in volleyball, I call them the 8 elements of a volleyball player and we should work on all of them. So ask yourself questions for each element as well. How am I physically, am I well prepared? What is my tactical preparation, can I read the match report? Am I mentally resilient or am I stressed at the end of the set? How about my coordination? Do I stretch honestly after practice or matches? Also, these questions and many more will help you find your weaknesses and mistakes.
And all of these potential flaws and weaknesses will affect your journey, your efforts to achieve volleyball goal and should not be ignored. So write down these weaknesses, mistakes and problems as well.
3. Understand why you are making those mistakes
In the third step, after identifying our problems and mistakes, we focus on the cause of them.
“You have to get the diagnosis to the root cause of them, which could be that you have a weakness or somebody has a weakness.”
Sometimes our faults and problems are not as obvious as they seem and we have to dig very deep to find the root cause. And if we want to solve them, we should cure them and fix them rather than going around the cause.
And an excellent technique to get to the core of the problem that Ali Abdaal recommends is the 5 whys technique, which means to ask why at least five times on a given topic to get to the core of the problem.
So if I want to become an excellent volleyball player and I use the why technique five times so, my first question could be why am I not an excellent volleyball player? My answer would be I can’t receive well and I’m weak on attack. Why can’t I receive well and why I’m weak on attack? Because I practice twice a week and I’m more practising serve. Why do I practice twice a week and concentrate on serving? Because we have team practices only twice a week and the coach gives a lot of importance to serving. Why don’t I practice more times and also focus on receiving and attacking? Because I don’t want to go to individual training or the gym. Why don’t I want to go to individual training and the gym? Because my performance in our competition is enough for me.
So from this example, we have the answer to why I’m not a great volleyball player. Because I practise twice a week, I don’t want to go to individual training and I’m actually satisfied with my performance in our competition.
This questioning technique can be applied to any problem and you can get to the root of your mistakes and problems.
4. Fix your mistakes
The fourth step is to design a solution.
“You have to design what you are going to do about it to get around it.”
Review your past, what all you did that brought you to where you are now. And then visualize and imagine what all you need to do to achieve your volleyball goals.
I like this attitude because you’re not just looking at the future, at what you should be doing, how to train, how to play, how to take care of your body. But it all starts with the past, with what we’ve done so far and why we haven’t reached the goal we want because of it. And only after that comes the idea of the future, what all is waiting for us.
So, if my goal is to become a great volleyball player, I’ll look to the past. I will see how I didn’t want to devote more time to volleyball, how I didn’t want to train individually or in the gym. And I know that if I want to reach my goal, I need to train more. I should go to individual training sessions where I should focus on receiving serves and my attack. I should also start going to the gym to get stronger and make my attacks have more power, and also work on my legs to be quicker to the ball in low positions for better reception.
And if I realize these steps, I can design a solution, a system that will help me achieve these goals. I can literally write down on my calendar exactly when I want to train, what I want to do, when I want to go to the gym. I can also make arrangements with my coach or the gym instructor to help me on this volleyball journey.
I can then write down what incremental goals I want to achieve in a month, three months or a year. And the important point is that this effort and trainings gradually become my habits, the things I do regularly without thinking about them. They just become a natural part of my life.
And the final fifth step is to implement these things that we have planned.
“You have to push through to results”
Of course our goals should come from us, it should be about our intristic motivation. External motivation, is not as strong and will not usually lead to achieving our personal volleyball goals. Therefore, it is mostly up to us, how we personally approach it and how we regularly work on things that will lead us to our goal.
For example, if I have a goal or a workout in front of me, I always try to do the hardest part at the beginning, the part I don’t really like, so I can get the worst part over with.
For example, in the gym I never enjoyed doing abdominal exercises, but I gradually learned that whenever I’m in the gym I always lie down on the floor after stretching and go for abdominal exercises, once I’ve done that I’m already working on exercises I enjoy or don’t mind.
This is just one example of the path I have taken in the gym. The important thing is to find a path that works for you. We are all unique, one thing will work for someone, something completely different for another. Either way, if you want to reach your volleyball goals, expect that it won’t be right away, your journey to fulfillment may be a long one.
Count on encountering many obstacles on your way to your dream volleyball goal. But the longer the journey you take with your achieved goal at the end, the more joy and pride in yourself you will feel.