April 14, 2010

Lessons learned from co-ed volleyball


Exhausted and sweaty, my co-ed volleyball team walked off the court last night defeated, but in decent spirits. With only four players to their seven, our team sucked it up and battled for victory, but lost in three games.

I know sports are frequently used as a metaphor for leadership, life and the workplace, but I couldn’t help but think of the many lessons I’ve learned from volleyball and how it reflects my attitude in life and at work:

Sometimes after a long workday, the last thing I want to do is skip dinner to go to the gym, but I do (self-motivation, and commitment and respect for my team). I like to spend 15-20 minutes warming up and mentally preparing myself for the game – i.e. be under every second touch and get at least one block (dedication and setting goals).

We started the game with only three players (overcoming challenges and being flexible), but worked into an easy rotation (organization) until our fourth showed. With fewer players, it’s even more important to call the ball to avoid collisions and dropped balls (communication with others), and to place the ball in good spots (patience and wise decision making).

Aces, blocks, wicked hits and good passes are always recognized (acknowledging success and knowing how to succeed). Sometimes, it’s necessary to accept a tip from a teammate (accepting feedback and ability to learn) or to give a tip (being a team player and sharing knowledge). I’m very competitive and try to set every ball (pushing yourself to the limit), but sometimes I can’t set the pass (recognize limitations) and need to ask for help, or have to catch my tongue (self-control). And it’s always important to make your serves, especially on game point (performing well under pressure).

After the game, I always think about what we did (measure successes) and what we could have done better (self-evaluation). But win or lose (managing both success and failure), it’s important to just enjoy the game! What lessons have you learned in your daily life?



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It sounds like a good team to be part of. You definitely have the right attitude. Do you guys have any practice plans that you'd be willing to share? Thanks!

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