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PCA Article #8
Dear Parents and Players,   Coach Ali here! This week...
PCA Article #7
Dear Parents and Players,    This week we are sharing...
PCA Article #6
There was a previous article written about how to redirect nervousness...
On-line Officiating Training
Parents, Players & Coaches, I’m hoping that you’ve...
PCA Article #5
From personal experience & knowing others' experiences, one...
PCA Article #4
As the season is getting underway and all of the teams start playing...
PCA Article #3
Happy New Year Thunder Family!   As we start this New...
On-line Officiating Training
Parents & Players, Below are the links from NCR's Website...
PCA Article #2
Hello again to everyone and Merry Christmas! Here is the second...
PCA Article #1
Hello Thunder Family!   As we talked about in the beginning...
PCA Article #8

Dear Parents and Players,


Coach Ali here! This week I am going to talk about Growth Mindset. If you are looking for a good book to read, I would highly recommend “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. I had to read it for one of my classes in my education masters program. One of the best assignments I had to complete because it is so relatable/useful for teaching and coaching. Here is the gist:


What is it?

We used to think that our intelligence was fixed - meaning we were either smart or we weren’t. Scientists have proven again and again that simply is not true. Our brain acts like a muscle - the more we use it, the stronger (and smarter) our brain becomes.


Is your mindset fixed?

A person with a fixed mindset may do these things:

  • Avoid challenges
  • Give up easily
  • Ignore feedback
  • Is threatened by other people's success
  • Try hard to appear as smart or capable as possible


What does a growth mindset look like?

A person with a growth mindset may do these things:

  • Embrace challenges
  • Give their best effort
  • Learn from feedback
  • Become inspired by other people's successes
  • Believe their intelligence can change if they work hard


How can you help your child:

  • Talk about it
    • Talk with your child about their day, but guide the discussion by asking questions like:
      • Did you make a mistake today? What did you learn?
      • What did you do that was difficult today?
  • Praise the process
    • Instead of saying, "You're so smart!" praise effort, goal setting, persisting through challenges, or being creative. You can say something like: "Wow! You must have worked really hard on this!"
  • The brain can grow!
    • Remind your child that their intelligence is NOT fixed. Remind them that when things are difficult, their brain grows if they persist through the challenge. Each time they learn something new, their brain is making new connections. Your child needs to know this is possible!
  • Help them change their dialogue
    • The way your child talks to herself makes a huge impact on their mindset. If they say, "This is too hard!" help them change that to "I can't do this yet, but I will keep trying." Give them words to say when they are feeling defeated by modeling it yourself!
  • Encourage failure (Say what?!)
    • Your child needs to know that failure can (and often does) happen and it is okay! Remind them that each time they fail and try again, their brain is growing stronger! Don't step in to prevent your child's failure - this is how they learn to perservere in the face of challenges.


My hope is that my athletes will develop a growth mindset on the volleyball court and in the classroom. I hope they understand that their effort will pay off! Also remember the “Power of Yet.” If you would like another article to read, check out the Positive Coaches Alliance Article, “Using the Growth Mindset to Become Self Confident.

Ali Hagen & Elise Soderholm
14-1 Coaches

by posted 02/18/2018
PCA Article #7
Dear Parents and Players, 
This week we are sharing a YouTube video that discusses one of the biggest controversial issues of youth sports: playing time. This video is from “TheCompetitveedge”  and can be found by clicking here.
A few key points that are disscued include: 
• Recreational sports compared to competitive sports
• Parents: Leaving your emotions at the door
• Being a professional adult as a parent
• Encourage your child to play the role the coach has assigned them
• Being a support player and what that means 
• Parents: Supporting and encouraging your child no matter what their role is
• Players: Keeping a positive attitude and working hard for your playing time
• Players: Approaching coaches and having open communication 
• Parents: Asking the coach how can my child approve or get better vs. asking about playing time
• The coaches role on the team
Conversation Starters
Players: How are you supporting your teammates? In what ways do you work hard and how is that going to help you become a better athlete?
Parents: How do you support your child and their role on the team? 
Nicole and Liz
13-1 Coaches

by posted 02/10/2018
PCA Article #6

There was a previous article written about how to redirect nervousness into more positive traits. I (Jeri) wanted to expand on that idea and identify other methods to help ease performance anxiety. I’ve had my fair share of moments when my nerves got the best of me and it took me awhile to get out of my own head. In this article (click here to access) Kristi Pikiewicz, Ph.D writes about guided imagery and meditation to help  “disarm the fire alarms” of performance anxiety. Visualizing the perfect performance, the perfect warm-up, the perfect serve before competition can help with feelings of nervousness.


Coaches Ali, Elise, and myself, had guided imagery before every high school volleyball match from our head coach. Just 5-8 minutes before every game we were guided through tense release for our whole body and then imagery of our warm up. Luckily we were provided a quiet area before each match. LIttle did I know that imagery would benefit me though my college years (in track & field), but first I had to find it again. Once I went to college I had to supply my own guided imagery with my own narrative. I was grateful to have been exposed in my earlier years to help me with my mindfulness.


Conversation starter:

Parents: Ask your player how often they feel nervous before competition.

Players: Share one way you deal with pre-game jitters.


If you’re interested in guided imagery, please talk to your coach about a narrative. A few minutes of practice time can be used for guided imagery for athletes to gain exposure for them to practice individually.


Coach Jeri (12s team)


by posted 01/29/2018
On-line Officiating Training

Parents, Players & Coaches,

I’m hoping that you’ve seen emails/texts that practices are cancelled for tonight.  This would be a GREAT time to work on your online training courses if you’ve not already completed your training!!!  For those that are looking to get into NCR’s online training to take the R2 (down) and R1 (up) ref training we’ve put together a PDF with some screen caps that will hopefully help make getting into training easier.

Click Here to view the PDF

If you have any questions as to what courses your coaches want you to take please contact them.  If you have any issues getting into the training please send an email to both Whitney (wjmarkson14@gmail) and Me ( ) and we will try to help you.

Jim & Whitney

by posted 01/22/2018
PCA Article #5

From personal experience & knowing others' experiences, one of the hardest parts of volleyball is being able to let go of mistakes and move onto the next point, especially during games. It can feel like you are letting down your team or fans. And it can be disappointing to yourself when you don’t perform at your best. However, in order to be the best player possible, it is necessary to learn how to let go of mistakes so you can move on to the next play and show off your best skills.


In this article and video (click here to access) Tina Syer, a Division I field hockey coach, gives advice to players and teams how to work on letting go of mistakes. She talks about using a “mistake ritual” within your team to help players let go of mistakes. Syer suggests using a hand signal, such as brushing off your shoulders, or a certain phrase, like “let it go”, within a team to encourage others and yourself to let go of mistakes. For a player to see their teammates, coaches, and parents using the “mistake ritual” during games or practices can encourage her to move onto the next play. It shows the player that no one is mad or disappointed in her, allowing her to move on more quickly and not get down on herself while playing.


Conversation Starter:

Parents – Ask your player what you can do to encourage them when she makes a mistake during a game.

Players – Share how it feels when you make a mistake during a game so your parent can better understand how to help and encourage you.


If your team doesn’t have a “mistake ritual” yet, ask your coach about making one. It is something that can bring your team closer together and help everyone play at their very best!


Thunder Volleyball Staff

by posted 01/21/2018
PCA Article #4

As the season is getting underway and all of the teams start playing in tournaments more frequently, it can be very nerve-wracking for some players. This mental skills coach gives tips within the article & video (click here to access) about how to turn that nervousness before games into positive traits which enables players to compete at their highest level. He focuses on turning that nervousness into courage, compassion, & competitiveness. He says it’s important to have courage to accept feeling uncomfortable and afraid. Compassion for yourself is essential so you can trust yourself, everything you’ve learned, and belief that you can overcome any obstacle. Finally, you need competitiveness to help you get excited about getting to play a game you love and work hard at in every practice.


Conversation Starter:

Parents – What would your player appreciate you doing as a parent to encourage her before games?

Players – Share one way you can be courageous, compassionate, or competitive before your next tournament to help calm your nerves.


As coaches, we all believe in each player immensely and want to help them be the best player they can be! If there are great ideas that come from this article or your conversation with your player, please share with your coach! We would love to be able to help everyone compete at their highest level!


Thunder Volleyball Staff

by posted 01/16/2018
PCA Article #3

Happy New Year Thunder Family!


As we start this New Year it can be a time for many people to stop to reflect and make resolutions about how to make this next year the best it can be. This article (click here to access) is about the importance of effort and how to set goals in order to improve your game. Setting goals is the result of effort, and putting in effort results in being at the top of your game.


Within this article there is a link to an excerpt (click here to access) from a book called Elevating Your Game which gives two steps to increase the essential habit of working hard. The first step is to belief that effort and hard work can increase your talent. The PCA talks about “Triple-Impact Competitors” having a growth mindset and approach ability. According to the PCA this means these competitors focus on effort goals and “believe that effort and hard work can increase your talent level.” Everyone should download this extra article because it gives so many practical ways to improve effort and therefore improving your game!

Conversation Starter:

     Parents – How can you encourage your player to work hard in all aspects of life?

     Player – What do you have to change in order to have a growth mindset and give all your effort?


Hopefully this article helps players develop goals to increase their effort and natural talents both on and off the court!

If there is anything as a player or as a parent you would like to see an article about in the future, please let us know! You can email and we would love to find articles about topics that interest you specifically too!


Thunder Volleyball Staff

by posted 01/01/2018
On-line Officiating Training

Parents & Players,

Below are the links from NCR's Website that cover Score Keeping, Libero Tracking and Line Judging.

Click Here to view the Score Keeping Presentation

Click Here to view the Libero Tracking Training

Click Here to view the Line Judging Training


If you want to take the Referee Training you must sign up and take the courses through USAV Academy.  Unfortunately you will need to wait until we are assigned our club code for 2018.  

Click Here for instructions on how to sign up.


If you have questions about what training you need to take please talk to your coaches. If you have any issues accessing the information from the links listed above please email me ( ) or give me a call.

Jim Sorensen

by posted 12/27/2017
PCA Article #2

Hello again to everyone and Merry Christmas!

Here is the second edition of the Positive Coaching Alliance email. This week as many people are celebrating Christmas and getting together with loved ones, it seemed appropriate to share an article about gratitude. This time of the year is a great time to reflect on this past year and all there is to be grateful for.

This article (click here to access) is written by Steve Foster, a pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies baseball team. He challenges the readers to practice the art of being grateful which allows people to be more joyful and live in the moment. Foster provides five habits that have been researched to increase gratefulness and challenges readers to try any or all of the tips for 21 days to create or improve their gratefulness in everyday life.

Conversation Starter:

                Parents – Share at least one way you are grateful for your player

                Player – Share at least one way you are grateful for volleyball

As a Thunder staff, we reflect often on ways we are grateful for all the parents & players on our teams. We love spending time with each player and parent, and we look forward to the time we will get to continue to spend with each of you!

Merry Christmas from all of the Thunder Volleyball Staff to you!

by posted 12/25/2017
PCA Article #1
Hello Thunder Family!
As we talked about in the beginning of the season we are going to regularly try to send out articles or interesting things published by the Positive Coaching Alliance. Hopefully we can get better at sending them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis! In addition to the article we will include a conversation starter for the parents and players to connect and talk about what we send out. So without further adieu...
For the first email we thought it would be a good idea to share more about the Positive Coaching Alliance background. This PDF (click here to access it) shares what the "PCA Way" is all about. As a program we strive to achieve each of those 8 points at every practice, game, or get together.
Conversation Starter: What are you doing at practice to give your best effort, have fun, & help a teammate? What can I do (as the parent) to "fill your emotional tank"?
We hope these will be helpful to start meaningful conversations and build connections between parents & players. Also we hope this helps parents, players, & coaches be on the same page and build a stronger team and larger Thunder community.
As always let any of the Thunder staff know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns!
Thunder Volleyball Staff

by posted 12/18/2017
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