By Cosy Burnett
Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she shared her tips on how to stage a comeback.
I want to write this week’s blog on how to be a “comeback team” when you find yourselves in a hole. At a recent tournament, we were playing the No. 1 seed and the first set was a battle. We won 26-24. In set No. 2, we were behind 11-22. Wow, so what’s the plan now? It’s tempting just to think “OK, let’s get the pain over ... we just need a new game.”
We ended up pulling off a 25-23 victory, and as I thought about how we did it, the following came to mind:
1. Be positive on the court
A positive attitude is a powerful thing. When you are positive, it not only makes playing the game more fun, but it also encourages play at the highest level. So especially when you are behind, it is vital to stay positive. When you tell your libero to “shake it off” when she missed that crucial pass or your hitter that she made a good swing even though it sailed out of bounds, you are sending a vibe to your team that says, “I know you’ll get the next one.” It’s when teams start to doubt themselves, blame each other and roll their eyes that their teammates begin to lose confidence and make silly errors that come from nerves and anxiety.
2. Change it up
Our setter changed up the momentum with two immediate dumps, which threw the other side off. It’s the time to throw in a daring play to make that amazing kill, huge block or a bullet ace. The momentum shifts, and then it’s “rally time.” More often than not, teams begin to relax and lose their focus when they have a huge lead, and it’s the perfect time to step up your game, take a risk, attack with full force and get a run of points.
3. Keep your head
My teammate was able to make 11 bombing serves in a row. In order to make a comeback, you need to make your serves. Just relax, smile, focus and enjoy. This is why you have spent all those hours in the gym. You can do it.
4. Play to win
No matter the score, don’t play “not to lose.” Keep hitting those balls as hard as you can and go for the kill every time. Don’t be timid. I would rather have my teammate bomb a daring line shot than have her hit scared in order to not make a mistake. You won't be earning your team any points by giving free balls. “Going for it” is respecting yourself. You are telling yourself and everyone else in the gym that you won't give up without a fight.
Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – how to eat like a champion – here.