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How Clubs Can Stay Engaged With Their Athletes Through Social Distancing

By Ontario Volleyball, 04/13/20, 9:45AM EDT


With competitive volleyball put on hold for the foreseeable future, we have noticed clubs taking the initiative to adapt to the circumstances to stay engaged with their athletes and coaches. Many are taking to social media and delivering creative challenges for their athletes to keep their minds focused on volleyball while also continuing to build team culture despite the isolation.

Here are some examples of what some OVA volleyball clubs are doing as well as some ideas that may be of value for your club.

Getting Social at a Distance

Social media: Keeping the lines of communications open with your athletes in a fun way, social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are perfect for posting challenges for your followers to keep active and share and hosting live sessions/takeovers to keep your members informed. Seeing how many touches one can do and a daily fitness challenge are just a couple of ways you can stay engaged; however, they don’t all have to be sport related. The goal is to simply have fun.

Take a look at what Defensa Volleyball and Storm Volleyball  athletes are doing.

Video hangouts: Host a team bonding session on platforms like Zoom, Houseparty or Google Hangouts. It’s good to see everyone’s faces and keep the connection going, finding out what they’ve been up to and how they’re doing. Remember, these teams are more than a recreational activity for these athletes, they are friendships and strong bonds. Clubs can engage in some of the following:

  • Host a live workout
  • Have a yoga session
  • Game night
  • Weekly skill-based training
  • Doing volleyball homework (reviewing past matches, areas of praise and improvement, etc.)

Durham Attack Blaze invited pro beach volleyball player Sophie Bukovec on their Zoom session to talk with their athletes. 

Get some alumni on these video sessions to have them share with your athletes what they’ve been doing in college/university and also as a means to maintain that bond with players past and present.

The hangouts can be a time to catch up but also sessions to learn and for club directors or coaches to share a clear direction of the future and how they plan on adjusting to this situation. The audience can change and clubs can host a session or livestream that opens the floor to parents and their questions.

Skill Development

Hosting online film sessions may be of benefit to coaches to have with their athletes. Asking athletes to submit videos and then going over the film and breaking down specific motions and technique with the athlete and another coach can help improve their game for next season. These tailored seminars can be structured in a time-slot fashion and designated on a specific day of the week. Coaches can also target a specific skill as opposed to general or widespread critique of the submitted video.

If you want to include all the athletes at once and go over general items, these film sessions can also be done in a team forum setting or by doing a Q&A livestream.

The same concepts can also be applied to ancillary volleyball pieces like mental and nutrition training. Bringing in a mental training and performance coach or a nutritionist can greatly help contribute to a better-rounded athlete.