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Take Chances, Make Mistakes, And Get Messy

Zhong Zhi / Stringer

One of my favorite childhood television shows is “The Magic School Bus.” In this series, a class of eight students and their teacher go on seemingly impossible field trips. With the powers of the school bus, they atomize, then enter the human body to learn how pathogens make a person sick. The bus becomes amphibious and shrinks so the class can dive into a sea of tiny plankton and learn about its importance in the food chain. The students wear thermal suits, enter an active volcano, and are catapulted out with the lava! The series presents one spectacular field trip after another, each one out of this world, challenging the imagination to think beyond the possible. The chaos of these experiences provides the students with more knowledge and understanding than the traditional classroom experience. Ms. Frizzle, tour guide extraordinaire, sums up the show with this recurring theme: “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”

This mindset is one of the main differences between indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. Mindset is defined by personal values and morals. Individual talents and abilities are termed as skillset. An adaptive mindset is crucial to effectively manage change and to foster ingenuity. Furthermore, a lack of this mindset inhibits personal growth and improvement.

David Westfall, a senior leader at the company Aon-Hewitt, terms mindset as “thinking disruptively” in the business world (Skroupa, 2015). His ideas also have practical application in sports, specifically beach volleyball. Beach volleyball players must adapt to constantly changing circumstances. When the score is close, or the game is in the opponent’s favor, athletes who exhibit an adaptable mindset will have more chances to win.

In traditional indoor volleyball, each of the six players per team has a specialized role. Typically, every player performs one skill very well, and they are only expected to be proficient in that area when on the court. Over the course of a single rally, only a few players may actually touch the ball. On the other hand, beach volleyball has only two players per team. Players must be proficient at every skill since there are no specialized roles. A single player can control the outcome of a game because there are fewer people. In addition, they must be adaptable to changing weather conditions, such as sun, wind, and rain, not to mention the uneven sand on which the game is played. These variables increase the chances of chaos on the court. To succeed, beach volleyball players need the proper mindset. This is the main difference between indoor and beach volleyball.

Sometimes the path to victory requires taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy.

While skillset provides structure for a team, mindset is necessary for success. The chaos of competition creates a constantly changing environment. In beach volleyball, adapting to change, or “thinking disruptively,” is crucial. Like indoor volleyball, the game allows three contacts per side, where team members manage to push the ball towards the net and safely over. However, this style of play can often be too predictable; a more successful approach is to shrink the opponent’s opportunities. Instead of relying on pure talent and skill, sometimes the path to victory requires taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy. So, while you keep your eye on the ball, be sure to keep your head in the game.   



Skroupa, C. P. (2015, May 11). Leveraging Talent: Mindset Over Skillset. Retrieved January 02, 2018, from