Taking Ownership of Your Game as a Player!

I had a coach years ago tell me “As a player you have to take ownership of your game, in your actions and improvement, if you want to improve and get more playing time.” What does that mean? You have to be willing to learn on your own beyond practice and season by watching video, reading, working on a skill 20 minutes per day, going to clinics or using software like coaches eye. These are just a few examples of taking ownership of your game. 

Other examples and more important are the willing to except defeat without making excuses on why you lost, not being a complainer but being an encourager. When you are not getting the playing time you think you deserve, don’t do the blame game with parents and friends, ask the coaches what you can do to get better to deserve more playing time, trust your team in public and in private, trust and confidence in each other will grow. This display of trust often encourages a desire to have ownership. Finally, stay humble! The best leaders on all levels have one thing in common, they are all humble. This statement is saved for last for one reason, ALL leaders take ownership in everything they do, even if it’s failure or mistakes! So again, “Take ownership in Your Your game and your actions.” 

Taking Ownership is a one step process, it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly campaign to make yourself better!

“As a player you have to take ownership of your game, your actions and improvement, if you want to improve and get more playing time.” 

Parents, How Can You Help Your Player Improve?

Passing is one of the most important skills in volleyball but it’s also one of the lest practiced and lesser of the skills worked on off the court! Passing is a skill that can be worked on in pairs on and off the court and parents, friends or other players can help an athlete improve with very little effort on their part. Most players want to play all around in the 6 positions during the game but if they can’t pass well, more than likely the coach will play a Definsive Specialist in the position when they rotate to the backrow. Playing “all the way around” is also one of the top discussions between the parents and the coaches and sometimes the discussion leads to argument and hurt feelings. So if your child needs work in the passing area.

So parents how can you help your player improve their skill of passing and possibly help them gain more court time? All it takes is a ball and 30 minute of your time each day. There are simple drills that you can run with your player to quickly help them grow as a player. There are many great sites and channels where you can find simple drills to run with your girl. Such as, YouTube, “The Art of Coaching Volleyball” or USA Volleyball to name a few.

Click Here for drill examples

So put down the phone and spend 30 minutes each day working with your player on the skill of passing. Your time invested now, will pay off in the future!

What to do next, if you don’t make the cut?

You trained hard leading up to tryouts, getting in clinic and camp time, putting in hours upon hours in off season time, and spending the last moments of daylight every sundown passing and serving in the backyard. You thought you were ready. You tossed and turned the night before tryouts and got up an hour earlier than you had to because you were just too excited and too anxious to sleep. Tryouts came and went and, even though you were under the impression you did well, your name was omitted from the final roster. What happened? You literally did everything you thought you should do to make the team and you got cut.

Getting cut from a team is an incredibly frustrating and uprooting experience. It shakes the core of your identity as an athlete. As much as it affects you, it affects your parents too. They feel awful for you and wish so badly that you would have succeeded. Parents, we all know how it feels when your child is hurting. It’s awful and often times leaves you feeling helpless.
As we know, and as in life, sports are not always fair. But we must learn from our mistakes and build on our success’s.
Here are some steps to take to help you (and your parents) rise above:

Step 1: Accept the coaches’ decision

Don’t complain that you should have made the squad or reprimand the coaches for their decision. This will make things worse for everyone involved. The truth is, at this point, you don’t know why the coaches chose not to accept you as part of the team. It could have been something as little as too many dropped balls, or maybe you were just south of the cutoff line for the number of individuals the coaches were comfortable accepting. If it makes you feel better, think of all the famous athletes and professionals who have been cut from teams like Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, J.J. Watt, Jordy Nelson, Johnny Unitas…the list goes on.

Parent Translation: Curb your reaction

As much as you may want to strangle the coach, reacting angrily will only exacerbate the situation. It is important that your child understand that you are disappointed for them and not in them. Becoming too upset and blaming the coach, saying it is unfair, or denouncing the decision will only add to your child’s grief and send the message that 1. they are not good enough and  2. it’s okay to take our your frustrations on others.

Step 2: Understand and embrace your feelings

  Take a moment to figure out what it is that you’re feeling. Are you angry? Are you sad? Are you embarrassed? Are you confused? Understand your emotions and allow them to happen. There’s absolutely no shame in crying or feeling upset. Don’t push away your feelings and try to convince yourself that you don’t care about what happened. You do care, and that is great! Once you have accepted your feelings, you can use them as fuel to help propel you to get better.

Parent Translation: Validate your child’s feelings

Allow them the space to feel grief, anger, and disappointment. Sympathize. Actively listen. Hug them. Let them know that it is okay and totally normal to feel discouraged. Dismissing the situation by saying it’s “ok” or “not a big deal” or “you’ll get ’em next time” will invalidate feelings. Take a moment and remember for yourself what it feels like to be rejected. Reassure Your Child that They Still Belong. As kids navigate adolescence, their desire to “belong” becomes stronger, almost paramount. Being cut from a team highlights feelings of being different. Remind your child that all kids experience disappointment at one time or another. They are not alone in their disappointment and their disappointment certainly doesn’t make them abnormal.

Step 3: Talk with the coach or coaches

Once you’ve had time to accept the decision and understand what you’re feeling, ask the coach or coaches why you didn’t make the team. They may be able to let you know what skills were needed or in what areas you were lacking. You can use this constructive criticism to help you train harder.

Parent Translation: Schedule a time to talk with the coach and your child

Children tend to focus on being cut as an ultimate disallowance and concrete proof that they aren’t up to snuff. Oftentimes, talking with the coach will allow kids to acknowledge and feel good about their strengths and identify skills that need more work. Sometimes being cut has to do with the availability of certain positions and other factors that are out of the child’s control, not just their imperfections. Go with your child and be their support when they talk to the coach. It is important that your child confronts the coach in a non-emotional and non-confrontational way. Remind them to be open to helpful feedback and not take anything personally. Remind yourself of that fact as well!
Step 4: Reassess your goals

Look back on the tryouts and your lacrosse training as a whole. Do you enjoy playing? Or does it feel like a burden? Lacrosse isn’t for everyone and you should be completely honest with yourself about whether or not you still want to play. If you don’t, it doesn’t indicate that you’re a failure or that you give up too easily. There may be a better sport or activity out there that’s a better fit for you! If you do still want to be a lacrosse player, continue on to the next step: creating a plan of action.

Parent Translation: Encourage something different if necessary

Be realistic about your child’s abilities. If they didn’t make the team and show no joy playing the sport, perhaps they are better at a different sport or activity. Offer to help them work on making a different team instead if that’s something they want. Sports, clubs, or even artistic ventures are all places they can excel and feel a part of a team.

Step 5: Create a plan of action

If you do still want to be a lacrosse player, how will you train and improve? Look into playing in leagues or skills programs that are a little less intense than a club team. Take lessons if you can. Reflect back on what the coach told you were skills needed and incorporate those into your training. You can also ask your new leagues or skills programs coordinator or lessons coach to watch you closely to see what part of your game needs the most help. You can also ask those who did make the team what they did to prepare.
Go to the games of the club team you were cut from. Show the coach that you are genuinely interested and that you mean business. Take notes on the other players who made it over you. What are they doing differently? What are they doing well? What mistakes are they making? Analyze their every move.

Parent Translation: Help them practice

Give them time to mourn the fact that they weren’t selected for the team, then ask if they still want to do whatever the sport or activity is. If they do, then encourage them to start practicing. You might even suggest some videos or articles they could watch or read to to help them improve. Driving them to whatever supplemental training is available will help tremendously if you can find the time to do so. Even making some space in the backyard or on the side of the garage will show your child that you are encouraging their progress.


Getting cut from a team does NOT define you as an athlete or a person. Don’t give up just because you fear that you will be rejected again. Fear can be totally paralyzing. Keep motivated by always having your goals in sight. If you really want to stick out lacrosse, don’t let this rejection get you down. It’s okay to feel upset at first, but it’s up to you to overcome those feelings of rejection, sadness, and anger and use them to keep on pushing forward. Parents, try to be supportive without letting your emotions get the best of you. Be there for your child and let them know that all possibilities are open to them no matter what happens.

Putnam Volleyball Club 2018 Important Dates

Putnam Volleyball Club will start travel tryouts and practices in November, exact dates and locations will be posted at a later date. This season Putnam is planning to have travel teams for 12R through 17R, also to provide a higher quality of teaching and learning Putnam is looking to introduce an assistant coach for every team and skill coaches to work with all age groups in practices, as needed.

Also our youth clinics will start in January for those younger none traveling youth. This gives all ages and skill levels a spot in our family to build upon their volleyball skills.

Please sign up for our e-mail here on our website and follow us on all social media to stay up to date on all Putnam’s events!



Tips For Tryouts

ChallengeAugust is the season for sports team tryouts. Whether your athlete is trying out for a high school sports team, a club team or a recreation travel team, it is important to be ready for the rigors of the tryout.

“To stay safe for a sports tryout, the biggest things to remember are to complete a proper warm-up and stretching routine, stay aware of the temperature and air quality, and be sure to have proper nutrition and hydration,” says Abby Swope a physical therapist and clinical director from Cypress Creek Therapy in Annapolis and Severna Park.

Tips for sports team tryouts

  1. Get a physical. Make sure the athlete has had a general medical exam and an orthopedic screening prior to the tryout.
  2. Make eye contact with the coaches, Stand in he front of the group when huddled up.
  3. Get in sport-specific shape. Conditioning runs of 30-40 minutes are important, but so is sport-specific training. Identify the demands of the sport and prepare by mimicking those demands in training.
  4. Avoid over-training and incorporate cross training to help prevent injuries. Combine running, biking and swimming along with other means to train. Conditioning should include several phases: building up, increasing intensity and then maintaining.
  5. Eat a balanced diet. “Eat poor, play poor… . Balanced nutrition fuels the furnace,” Morgan says. Match the energy demand with the appropriate caloric consumption. A supplement-free, balanced diet is more than adequate for the tween or teen athlete.
  6. Stay hydrated. Water is and always will be best for hydrating a body that is 90 percent water. Sports drinks are only necessary when play or practice exceeds 2.5 hours.
  7. Get enough sleep. Young athletes need 8 to 10 hours of good sleep a night so the body can repair itself. Any less and performance will begin to suffer. “Maintaining a good sleep schedule is going to be easier if it is not altered too much during summer months”.
  8. Be coachable. It’s important for athletes to take instruction well.
  9. Know what to avoid. Don’t spend too much time in the sun or hot tub before tryouts. Don’t eat too little or too much before the tryout, and avoid high levels of caffeine.
  10. Be the first one to volunteer when coaches ask for someone to help or demonstrate, don’t be afraid to ask questions, be a team player, help those who may be less skillful or younger.

Finally, a tip just for parents: Be supportive. Remember to stress the fun and joy of the sport, not the performance. Avoid being another coach and critical!