Communication is Key in Volleyball, in Life

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” This quote by former presidential speechwriter James Humes is what I abide by in all aspects of life, especially when playing volleyball.

Volleyball is a sport in which communication must be incorporated, otherwise success will be very hard to achieve.

Unfortunately, our team learned this the hard way.

If you were to ever go to any of our games or just look at the roster, we have players from all over the world playing on one team. Sometimes, this mix results is tension, confrontation and complete confusion.

In addition the game of volleyball is not the same as it would be in, say, the Ukraine [editor’s note – sophomore outside hitter Yana Vavdiyuk is from there]. Troubles arose early by having so many cultures unite under one common agenda. At times I would be playing on the court thinking, “What on earth are my teammates trying to get across?”

During practices or games, a lot of our ideas would collide only because our communication was failing. Sometimes we wouldn’t even try and hear what another person was trying to say.  As the season went on we learned one another’s ways and understanding one another became second nature.

Even though there were communication issues, I would have to say that the diversity on our team was probably one of the great things about the St. John’s volleyball program. Since I was exposed to all of these cultures and backgrounds, I learned how to appreciate my teammates for who they are and understand that the key to coming to a common ground is through communication.

I encourage all of you to come to at least one volleyball match and just listen to the amount of talking that occurs on each side of the court. Most of the time, the side that is talking or communicating the most will win. I would say this is probably number one on our list of ways to improve our game. In every play that goes into volleyball, communication is needed. Every spike, every set, and every dig requires numerous voices to be heard.

Even if you are on the bench, talking from the sidelines helps in ways that fans would not even understand. It keeps us – as volleyball players – focused on the goal, which is to win. Without communication you lose your voice. I learned this more than anything by being on the St. John’s volleyball team, and I can say that I am now able to express my ideas on and off the court more just by valuing the importance of hearing everyone’s voice.