Dig, set and spike (making the play with the best chance of success)

“Your team becomes your family, the ball becomes your best friend, the court becomes your home and the game becomes your life.” – so reads a motivational quote written by a volleyball coach. Commitment, dedication and collaboration – working hard and working smart – the essentials for sporting and business success.

PEA is sponsoring Guernsey’s Ladies volleyball team at the NatWest Island Games in Gotland this summer. We are greatly impressed by their commitment and work ethic. Players need plenty of stamina as five-set matches can last 2.5 hours and there may be a couple of these in a day – constant jumping and digging make it a high-impact and high-energy sport.

For many, sport is a release or an antidote to the daily business grind required by all of us to bring home the bacon and put bread on the table. It’s the zone where we can forget the stresses and strains of our 9-5 existences and gain satisfaction through winning the game, topping the league or carrying off the cup.

There are so many similarities in running a successful business to managing a winning volleyball team. Players/staff members need good leadership and communication skills, they must be consistent in their performance, be quick and decisive, have a great knowledge of the game/industry and need to multi-task.

Simple, direct and easily understood instructions and advice from colleagues can link minds, arms, legs and eyes for the common good. Volleyball has its own sign language with hand signals indicating that specific actions should be taken to form an attack. As teams grow together, communication and understanding become intuitive and instinctive. Calls of encouragement, claps, high-fives and back slaps are commonplace as the team re-groups after every point, creating an atmosphere of positivity, getting focused on the task ahead, ‘climbing the mountain’ point by point.

‘Having the right attitude before, during and after the match is vital’ says Guernsey squad member Emily Gledhill. ‘We are always in the moment, focused on our responsibility at that time. The game moves so quickly but we have to be aware of the situation and make the play with the best chance of success. The more we play together the more easily we predict what our fellow team members will do. So, to win points, we need to make quick, intelligent decisions as a group.’

The great basketball star Magic Johnson was paraphrasing JFK when he said “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.” When they’re going up to hit or make a block they need to trust that you are behind them covering, giving them the confidence to fly!

In volleyball the best attacks come from a dig, set and spike with everyone working together. Even when you don’t touch the ball as part of a rally you will have a specific job to do. As in business, all teams have specialists. The setter is much like the quarterback in football or the point guard in basketball. He or she is in charge of the attacks deciding who should get the ball and when.

An outside hitter hits and blocks on the front left side of the court. During attacks this person is usually one of the main passers and a go-to hitter.

In defense, the Middle Blocker is the player at the net in the middle of the court between the two outside blockers. He or she strives to be involved in blocking the opponent’s hitters wherever they may be on the court.

A libero is a defensive specialist who remains in the game at all times and is the only player that is not limited by the regular rules of rotation. He or she usually replaces the middle blocker position when they rotate to the back row and never rotates to the front row.

‘Many of our players also work in business,’ continues Emily. ‘We all recognise the parallels with our sport. As team members we all play an important part in the success or failure of the enterprise. The fact that some members may have a more prominent role at times doesn’t change this. It’s vital to support each other in a positive, constructive way and equally important for each of us to accept the same in return. Only then can we win volleyball games.’

In the offices of PEA, teamwork is the foundation upon which we build our successful business. Like volleyball players, our team members thrive on achievement and success and we are constantly learning how to improve our ‘game’. Successful people motivate, inspire and build each other up and at PEA the strength of our teamwork is reflected in our service.

For more details on how we can help you please contact +44 1481 730988

by James Orrick

James holds a Masters in Corporate Governance from Bournemouth University, a BSc (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from the University of Essex, is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

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