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Recap of Webinar With Anna Hennings

By CEVA, 11/25/22, 1:15PM PST


If you were unable to join us for the mental performance webinar hosted by Anna Hennings, here is a short recap to help those of you still wondering: How do I stay out of my head?

We can’t talk about being stuck in your head without first talking about how your thoughts impact how you play.

When just about anything happens on the court, our minds often respond with a thought, or string of thoughts, evaluating what happened. For instance, if you serve a ball out of bounds during a close game, you might immediately think to yourself something like: “I am so bad at serving under pressure,” or “My serves are off today” (or both!). 

The things you say to yourself in your head have a variety of names: self-talk, thoughts, stories, inner monologue, etc. These stories you tell yourself -- about your own performance, your team’s performance, about what’s happening around you and to you, etc. – directly impact how you feel emotionally and physically, what you pay attention to, and ultimately, how you play next. 

Being “stuck in your head” means paying too much attention to these thoughts and not enough attention to what you need to do on the court at that moment. 

How you talk to yourself on and off the court can affect your:

- Confidence
- Focus
- Motivation
- Body Language
- How you experience pressure
- Physical & mental energy
- Decision-making process
- Interactions with your teammates, coaches, and more.

To get out of a thought loop or downward spiral, first use a deep, intentional breath to hit the brakes on your runaway-thought trains. Then, shift your focus to what you need (your body) to do on the court at that moment.

To give yourself the best chance of playing as optimally on the court as possible, you want to plan and practice this skill of thinking more effectively. (Knowing your own thinking habits will help significantly!) You can use the prompts below to help you identify when you tend to get the most stuck in your head, and create a mental plan to respond effectively in those moments.

- I tend to get most stuck in my head when ___(A - fill in the situation)___
- When/after this happens, I was to focus on ___(B)___ to play my best volleyball.
- To remind myself I want to focus on (B) when/after (A) happens, I can tell myself ___.

For example:

- I tend to get most stuck in my head when my team is losing and I hit the ball out.
- When/after this happens, I want to focus on where I am in the rotation and my ready stance for serve receive to play my best volleyball.
- To remind myself that I want to focus on where I am in the rotation and my ready stance for serve receive when my team is losing and I hit the ball out, I can tell myself “deep breath, stay low and loose.”

With your new plan in hand, make a commitment to practicing it at your next practice.

Like with any new skill, changing how you think and what thoughts you pay attention to may be challenging at first. You will likely stumble, be “bad” at it, or forget your plan. All of that is to be expected. You’re still getting the hang of it! Keep going, keep practicing. Skills need reps to become stronger.


Whether you were in attendance at Anna’s webinar, or interested but unable to attend, we would be grateful to hear from you. Let us know what you thought (if you attended) and/or what topics you'd like to hear about in future webinars. We are committed to providing the region valuable resources and information, and your input helps make that possible. Here is the link to our anonymous webinar feedback form

If you’re curious to learn more about 1-on-1 mental performance coaching with Anna, or have any additional questions, you can set up a free intro meeting with her here.