I was reading a fishing report a few weeks back, and it was entitled “The Dog Days of Summer.” The report went on to explain the current fishing conditions, the hot weather, how to avoid rattlesnakes, and the challenges of trying to catch fickle trout.

Today I spent several hours chatting with camp clients about recent matches, big wins, tough losses, and the smorgasbord of team issues that exist in high school volleyball.  After speaking to several clients, I realized that we are in the “Dog Days” of the high school volleyball season.  Most teams are well in to league play.  Some have exciting matches with big implications ahead, while others are struggling to stay afloat.

Regardless of your rank or current record, this is the time of year when your athletes need you most. It’s the time of year when your athletes are most likely to lose focus.  It’s the time of year when parents are either with you or against you.

If you are competing for a state championship, your athletes need you to make smart, strategic decisions while maintaining your momentum.  If you are struggling to find momentum, your athletes need to know how much you care.

I am always so impressed with the dedication of our clients.  I received the following email today, and was blown away by the vision and confidence that this coach has….

“Well Mike, our season has been positive even though we haven’t won any matches.  The girls are a young group and undersized compared to their opponents, but we have been competitive in every match.  I can definitely say we are doing better since having the GMS clinic.  Although we don’t have any match wins, we did finish third in a local tournament, beating a section rival in pool play.  It was a very big accomplishment since we’ve never taken a set from that team and they went on to win the tournament, with us being the only team to beat them.  I’m really looking forward to next summer’s clinic and hope to get my staff and myself to a clinic.”

Struggling through a long season is hard.  Staying positive and consistent throughout is even harder. Kudos to this coach for finding all of the positives out of what is clearly a difficult situation.

For those of you who are having great seasons, keep it going!  Here’s a few tips as you head towards the post season…

–  It’s OK to shorten your practice, but ensure the intensity and focus remains.

–  Your athletes need rest as the season goes on.  Don’t be afraid to give them a day off from time to time, or shorten practice to serve/pass only.

–  As you get in to post season play, don’t change as a coach.  Continue doing what got you to this point.

For those of you who are struggling right now…

–  You are the leader of your ship.  Don’t allow opinions, critics, or your athletes to break you. Regardless of the situation, stay focused and steady.  Continue to work your plan.

–  Learn something from the email above.  There’s always some positives to focus on.  Find them in your program.

–  Continue to get better!  Just because you aren’t winning matches doesn’t mean you can’t get better.

–  Let your athletes know how much you care.  Don’t give up on them even though it can be exhausting.

–  Go see Moneyball, and buy yourself a large popcorn

Do everything you can to end your season on a positive note!  Good luck in your upcoming matches!

Mike Wall