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Volleyball/Im Seriously Stressing About Volleyball!!! PLEASE HELP!?!?!!


QUESTION: I am a highschool Junior and I have always wanted to play volleyball but because of transportation problems I could not tryout. Now I am about to be a senior and I have never ever played on a team but I have played before and I want to tryout for my schools JV team. Conditioning starts in March and I am definitely going, but the girls that were on the team were really reallly good. What can I do in order to make JV? What should I work on? Should I Still Even tryout? What can I do in order to make the coach like me? I heard she is really tough so please can help me please


ANSWER: Hello Alisha:
Welcome to   It's wonderful to hear from you.   

Alisha, first let's discuss the bad news.  And there's a lot of it.  :(   (But good news is at the bottom!)   

a) Volleyball is a sport of golf, soccer and tennis.  In fact, in these sports, it doesn't matter how much strength and stamina you have....if you don't have the skill, then you can't help your team much.     
b) Many adults believe that volleyball is a wossy sport.  They think the same thing about table tennis and badminton.  But, when you want REAL GOOD table tennis, badminton & volleyball, you realize that the game can be played at a very high level.  I'm trying to say that after getting a few years behind girls your own age, it's almost impossible to catch up.
c) You say that while the other girls have been playing, you haven't.  Thus their skills have increased and increased and increased.  While yours haven't.  :(  If these girls have been playing travel vball, things look even bleaker.
d) You say you've had transportation issues in the past.  How can you try out next season?
e) OK, even if you can solve a through d above, here's your next hurdle:  The coach at your school may not want a rising senior on the JV team.  JV is usually for girls who can help the varsity program in the future, and you won't be able to.  In some states/counties in the USA, girls older than sophomores are not allowed to play JV. So, (1) ask the coach at the school IF he's even interested in a senior on JV, then if the coach says it's OK, then (2) ask him to make 100% sure that it's legal.  (If the coach tells you it's illegal, I advise you to double-check.  Many people believe it's illegal, when it's actually not. For example, I was told at my old school it was illegal.  Then I asked someone to show it to me in the conference/region/state rule book.  No one could find it.  So, our JV team had 2 juniors on it in the 1990's and we didn't get in trouble either time.   

Making the varsity team is going to be REALLY hard! Those girls are thousands of hours ahead of you.  It would be like making your school symphonic band as a senior rookie. Really?  What instrument can you master in 6 months that those kids have been playing for 6 years?   
Making the JV team will be even harder....I've been the head coach of 18 varsity teams and of 10 JV teams.  I've never kept one single senior on my JV vball team.   

OK, I've just finished telling you the truth.  But....NEVER did I say it was impossible.   :)   But, one thing is for sure:  If you don't try, then you're SURE not to play!  :)  So, here's our strategy!   :)   Ready?   


a) You say those girls are so good. How good? What was their record last year?  Sure, I believe you when you say they're better than you.  But there are a few schools around Roanoke who go 0-20 nearly every year.  You probably COULD make that team!  
b) Don't give up on your JV dream until you speak to the coach and the principal.  It may just work out!   
c) What size school do you attend?  If it's a small private school (200 kids or less), then you have a GREAT chance of making the team!   
d) What are you doing RIGHT NOW to start catching up?  Are you (1) playing club ball [it may not be too late to join a team!!], or (2) attending any practices/open gyms the coach is having, or (3) making plans to attend the team's summer camps, or (4) making plans to attend camps on your own without the rest of the team, or (5) having someone give you one-on-one lessons?   If you're doing some of these, your chances of making the team will improve.  If you're doing none of these, then your chances are getting smaller every week that passes.   

Before I go on:  My staff and I direct camps every week, all summer, every summer.  And they cost much less.  Please visit me at to see my 2013 Site Vball Camp site.   

You may want to do some conditioning, but (1) like I said above, vball is a skill sport.  How much you can lift, and how long you can run won't return a serve or spike a ball.  Furthermore (2) I would do very little of that....unless you're WAY RIDICULOUSLY out of shape, or you know that's what the coach requires.   

I think that'll get you started!   
Please follow up here if you have more questions, or contact me at if I can ever do anything for you.   

I hope all goes well for you!  
Coach Houser

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Woww.:( The transportation situation has gotten better. And Yea The Volleyball Team Went To State. But Honestly I Have Not Done Alot To Catch Up I Practice On My Spike, Setting, Bump, And Digging But Thats About It. I Attend Public School So My Chances Of Making The Team Have Gone Slim Huh? I Do Not Play Club ball We Dont Have Open Gyms Until March. I Have Not Talked To Anyone About One-On-One Lessons But I Will.  So Should I Just Not Tryout? I Checked Out Your Web Page Thanks I Will Have To Talk To My Parents.

Good morning:
It's great to hear from you again.   
Thank you for the information.   
From what you've told me, your chances of making the team are very small.    
But....."Nothing attempted, nothing gained."      
Someone also once said, "I've never made any shot that I didn't take."    
So, my advice is go for it!  Start attending open gyms, start conditioning, find SOME ONE who can work with your hitting/spiking/digging/ may be an adult, it may be a school teammate.  If you have to pay them, then that's part of reaching your dream.  The money you spend won't be wasted following your dream.    
OK, UNTIL YOU'RE FORCED to give up, keep on searching for ways to catch up, get better, and put yourself in a position that makes your dream a possibility.  
I recommend printing my first answer, cut off the top portion :) and tape the bottom portion to a mirror in your bathroom. Then, be aggressive in finding what you need to give yourself a chance of making the team.  
If you or your parents have any questions, please contact me here or at  Thank you for looking at my website.  Did you like all the smiling faces?  We do a lot of that!   Volleyball is FUN, and we try out best to keep it that way.    
I've really enjoyed hearing from you.    
I hope you have a wonderful week!  
Coach Houser  


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Tom Houser


I can answer any type of volleyball question: middle school, high school, college, club, coaching, playing, etc. (I am not, however, a athletic trainer! If you have a knee, ankle, back, etc. question, I'm sorry, but please search for another expert.)

I will almost always answer your question within 24 hours.

You may also email me anytime at! I'd enjoy hearing from you!

TEENAGERS: Please check your email tomorrow. I will probably have answered your question by then. :)

In the past 10 years, vball has taken my to San Francisco, Miami, Alaska, Pennsylvania, both Carolinas, and Salt Lake City. We can't wait to come visit you!

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32 years coaching varsity, JV, club.

You can see all about me at There are also free downloads for coaches & parents, and lots of smiling faces for you volleyball players!

BS degree from Va Tech in Math Education. MS degree from Va Tech in Secondary Administration. In the fall, I'll be starting my 31st year teaching high school math!

The Picture!
The picture that you see is the 2015 15's team that I'm fortunate to be a part of. We will participate in 10 tournaments: Monument (Richmond) in January, Capitol Hill (Wash DC) in February, Shamrock (Roanoke, Va) in March and both BigSouth (Atlanta) and Northeast Qualifiers (Philadelphia) in April. My teams have qualified for Junior Nationals in '06, '09 and '12. We can't wait for this season to begin!

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