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Volleyball/I'm not playing. What should i do?


QUESTION: Hello! My name is InÍs and I've been playing high school volleyball for two years now and I have a problem. In these two years I've been playing, my coach never put me in a game and when I asked him why, he told me he thought I wasn't ready. The thing is, I can do the exact same pratice exercises like everyone else and sometimes even better. I've talked with my parents about this and they discussed the matter with my coach so he would do something. Months have passed and I still haven't played, I'm becoming dishearted about this and wondering if I should look for another team to play in. Any good advice?
Thanks, InÍs

ANSWER: Good evening Ines:

Thank you for visiting  Let's get started!

a) Before we say anything else:   unless you're in a league/club in which playing time is guaranteed, then no one deserves playing time. No one.  It must be earned.  I'm not angry at what you said; but, b/c high school athletes have been playing middle school "you deserve equal everything," it's hard for high school athletes to get used to.   

b) 99% of coaches want the team to win.  So very very few coaches will leave players on the bench that will help the team win UNLESS a player is being punished or the player is being taught a lesson.  

c) Advice:  If you're over the age of about 12, the only reason your parents need to complain to coach is when you're in danger.  Then they should also should speak to the principal of your school, and maybe talk to the police.  If you're coach is benching you for no reason, then hopefully his/her coaching career will be over soon.  

It always amazes me:  if your math teacher doesn't call on you, will you have your parents approach the teacher and say, "Why won't you allow my kid to participate?"  But, in athletics, many parents believe their children need a share of the action.  No.  This is not T'giving dinner. There is no equal share for everyone.  

No, Ines, I'm not on the coach's side.  But, I AM one of those 99% of coaches who wants the team to win.  And the athletes will play who my coaching staff thinks gives us the best opportunity to win.....unless we have a reason that I listed in (b).  

Now, do you stay on the team?
1) Yes, you stay on the team until the season ends UNLESS you're in danger.  
2) After the season is over, you owe nothing to the coach, the school, or your teammates.  So, if you never want to play again, then don't ever play again.
3) Look for another team?  Are you considering changing schools?  For most athletes, changing schools is often a last resort.  But, you MUST be assured of the following combination:  more chances athletically + no damage academically + no damage socially.  Is this what you're considering?  

OK, now this is what I'd like for you to do:  Send me video!  I want to see video of your team playing another team.  Send me at least 30 minutes.  And I want to see video of you, preferably playing; but, practicing will be fine as well.  Then I will tell you my opinion.  

Meanwhile:  You will give your absolute best effort in practice, cheering teammates, doing whatever you're told (unless it's dangerous).  You will also give your best effort when your team is playing, both on the court and on the bench.  Yes, I said that!  I'll say it again:  you will give your best effort on the bench!!  You will encourage, cheer, stand to greet teammates (if that's done on your team), do the aces/kill/stuff cheers, etc.  

In other words, there will be no complaint, no whine, no pout.  Will this change coach's mind in a day?  Nope.  In a week? He will notice. In 2 weeks....I think when he needs a spark, or when the game is no longer in doubt, he'll put you in ahead of other people!!  

OK, now I imagine you have some feedback.  
Please touch the follow-up link here.  

Now, will you do something for me?  :)   Plz visit us at!  I think you'll LOVE the 9 camps that we're offering, the states that we'll be traveling to this summer, and all the smiling faces.  I hope to hear from you soon, and together let's work to get you where you want to be!  If you or your parents ever want to contact me, please do at   

I hope it's a great week!  
Coach Houser

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

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I understand your point of view, in the end I love my team and I'll always support them and I'm not quitting volleyball because of this situation. I'll continue to work my best on and off the court no matter what.
Of course I don't want to leave my team since I've been with them for so long, but I thought about it because maybe I would have more opportunities to play...
I'll try to send a video of us playing and then you can give me your opinion.
I would love to attend your summer camps but the thing is... I'm from Portugal and I can't go to the US.

Thank you once again for your reply, it help me understand a little how a coach thinks and does things.

Ines :)

Good afternoon from the USA!   :)  

A few things:

a) You used the word "quit".  I have no problem with you not playing next season. I hope your coach and teammates will accept that as well.  After your fulfill your responsibilities to the present season, I believe you owe your coach/team/teammates nothing.  

However, I do have a problem if you don't finish the present season (unless you're in danger).  Fulfilling your promise to be with your team is an indication of your good character.  And if you walk away from your team before the season is over, that fact will have an affect on how your teammates treat in the future, how coaches think of you, and whether you are picked for future teams.  (You may think that's odd, but why would a coach choose a person who quit the previous team?  Would you allow such poor character on your team?  I will cut 95% of girls who quit their previous team b/c I know that if that girl doesn't get her way, she will probably quit my team too!)

b) I'm also 100% OK with you going to another school.  It's a decision that most teens in the USA do not make; but, some do.  For example, some girls will get cut from the teams at large public schools, so they transfer to small private schools.  Then, not only are the they the stars of their favorite sport, but they can also play other sports!  PLUS, their academics often benefit from the change (b/c the academics in the private schools are often harder).  

c)  Video.  Please!  :)   Then I can tell you what I think I would do if I were your coach.  

d) I don't know if I helped you understand how all coaches think.   :)    But, at least you understand how this coach thinks, and I think I'm pretty normal.  

e) Since you can't come to the USA, you should have your coach bring us to Portugal!  It's easy for your coach to host a STAR skills camps.  The coach can see what I can do for your teammates at!  This summer, we're directing 12 camps in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina and California. And we still have the week of June 8-11 open, and anything after Aug 12.  (I don't know why I said 9 in the previous email to you.  That's odd.)  

I hope it's a great day!  
I've been sitting here all morning trying to get my family's plane flights fixed for a vacation that starts Friday.  Wow, it's taken a week and three phone calls....and they're finally correct.

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.)

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