I think the best way to start this blog is by using a Chinese Proverb: “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” The ability to learn is a privilege that nobody can take away from us and the possibilities are endless! We can learn about the world, politics, new languages, physics, grammar, history, sports, people, astronomy… there are so many options! However, there are specific learning methods that are more helpful than other methods and we have put together a 6-step process to help you learn! We’ll go through this 6-step process by using learning how to jump serve as an example.

1. Motivation. Obviously this is the first step right? If you have no motivation to learn the new thing – in this case jump serving – then you won’t be able to successfully learn it! So, evaluate your motivation for learning how to jump serve. Do you want to put the effort in to learn it? If so, then move on to the next motivation questions. Why do you want to learn how to jump serve? To make yourself a better volleyball player? Or just to look cooler in front of your friends? If your answer is the first one, then you will undoubtedly put more effort in because you know it takes effort to be a better volleyball player. But if your only motivation is to look cooler, then you’ll more likely give up faster! Check your motivation!

2. Focus. Evaluating your focus is the next important step to learning! Are you willing to put all your focus into learning how to jump serve? Hopefully you are! What kinds of things are going to limit your focus? Maybe your school work or other sports or learning how to do other skills. If you get distracted, are you going to be able to refocus? Hopefully you can! But just know, if you do get a bit distracted, don’t get discouraged! It’s just as useful to recognize that you are off track and you need to refocus!

3. Promote Mental Activity. For this step in the process we encourage you to adopt habits that will increase your mental activity. Some examples of this are having discussions about the thing you want to learn, asking questions to help you learn it, and listening to advice that other people (like your coaches or experienced players) will give you. This step will help you really engage your mind in addition to physically trying to learn how to jump serve. While your muscles learn how to perform a jump serve, your mind will help you retain the information. PRO TIP: Observing other volleyball players successfully complete a jump serve is helpful as well – whether in person or on YouTube! This helps you create a mental picture as well.

4. Create a clear picture of material. While the last step encourages mental activity, this next step advises you to actually write down or physically create a plan of action or outline. For example, you can create a list of the components you need to master to do a successful jump serve like: the toss, the footwork, where you contact the ball, a powerful swing, and ensuring you don’t cross the serving line too early. This helps you break down each step and makes learning the new skill seem more attainable. It literally creates a checklist for you!

5. Comprehend the significance of the topic and practical application. This step just encourages you to truly understand the importance of the skill. How is jump serving going to help you? Hopefully you’ll answer that it’ll help you serve more aggressively, increase your competitiveness, allow you to be more confident, and make you a stronger asset for your team. All of these results are a positive thing and are very good reasons to learn how to jump serve!

6. Repeat steps 1 though 5! A huge part of learning is REPETITION! Just think about it, are you able to do something successfully the very first time you do it? Do you think you’ll perform an amazing jump serve the first time you attempt one? Probably not – but it’s not a bad thing! That just means you need to keep practicing! And that is exactly why repeating these steps is necessary! And once you achieve jump serving, you can start focusing on learning a new skill – like hitting a shoot set (a quick set to the outside hitter) – and repeating these steps is going to help you learn that skill too!

Learning anything makes us better, more educated people. And learning new skills for our sport makes us better, more competitive athletes. Using this 6-step learning process is going to help you do just that! This information is courtesy of the #BruceLeeMindset

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