10 Lessons from Volleyball, Part 2

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

10 Lessons from Volleyball, Part 2

Part 1 of the 10 Business Lessons from Volleyball can be found here.

In volleyball, the only play you control yourself is the serve. See that post here. Best female server in the world now is Logan Tom. The key is practice and visualization. What you see in your mind's eye and what you tell yourself affect the outcome. Thinking Don't Miss, Don't Miss - is no way to serve an ace. See the play. Talk Positive to yourself. Think about what you want to happen. Then Breathe and Execute.

The volleyball can travel at 60 mph. That doesn't leave you long for reaction time. You need to focus on each contact of the ball. Can you watch the ball right into your hands? Karch, Logan, Misty are studies in concentration and focus. Focus. Lots of noise and distractions. Concentrate.

Penelope Trunk used to play pro beach volleyball. She writes about her lack of focus in high stress situations here.

After the serve, it is all scrambling around. The best laid plans and all that. Most of my clients spend their day putting out fires. Just reacting. You work on the urgent, instead of the important. It comes down to your goal - how bad do you want it? Sometimes you have to scramble to find the time to work on the important.

In sports they always talk about heart. Why not in business? You must have desire to run a business. It is no easy task to build a business. You have to want it in a big way. Without desire, each obstacle will seem like a dead end. Heart means you Never Give Up!

Blocking is my favorite play. There is nothing better than taking someone's best hit and sending it right back at them. I'm sure there is a lesson there - or some psychological malady - but I will leave it to you to figure it out. I would not have gotten better at blocking without coaching, I can tell you that. Yes even I can take constructive criticism once in a while.

Because there are only 2 of you covering 900 square feet, Communications is integral. Short, simple, clear, concise communications, like a tweet or a text. If only more people could communicate that way, especially managers, life would be great for the employees. You have to find a way be clear in messages because text and email are one dimensional platforms.

Being able to share your vision for the company or the new product launch requires clear communication - both internally and externally. In a telecom world in turmoil as we shift from network to cloud/apps/services, communication will be the factor that determines success over failure.

Everyone wants to be the hitter - the one who spikes the ball and makes ESPN. That one play takes timing, practice, focus, and much more for the play to go well. It's like sales in a way. You only get ink on the contract when it all comes together. When you have worked on your pitch, discovery, sales process, objections, proposal, listening, timing, and more. Spiking is as thrilling as getting ink (and happens about as often ;)

The one thing a hitter needs to remember is to keep the ball in front of them. It's the best way to make good contact with the ball. Keep it in front of you. It also allows you to take a peak at the defense to see where to hit. If you keep the ball in front of you, you can find the seam and make blockers look silly. Finding the seam in a block is a lot like finding your niche in the marketplace. You can't hit or be every where, but that one opening will allow you to score.


In beach volleyball, there are only 2 players. This partnership is crucial for success. It's like finding a co-founder for your business Sometimes it isn't even about friendship, but who can you work with, who complements your skills to provide you with success. In the pros, partners switch often as they seek that elusive perfect partner who will complement them and has the right chemistry to produce wins.

Yet when you find that partner, the sky's the limit. If you are on the same page with the same goal, have a proper contract, a clear understanding of roles, a willingness to work hard, to give it your all - your focus, effort, energy, and commitment, you are on your way to success.

The big lesson you learn playing volleyball is defeat. You can't win them all. And you can't blame your teammates. You know if you played well, if you served the ball in each time, if you made mistakes. Own up, learn from it, and put your flop down to play again.

"Train Hard. Play Fearlessly" sounds like pop culture right? But actually that is putting it as simply as possible. I played 4s Sunday. It was playing for fun, but I still gave every play 100% effort. I like to compete. I like to win. I like to play well even in defeat.

The one thing about this sport is that I love it. I love watching it and playing it, even through many injuries. Life is short. Do what you love.

Remember that Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

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