1) One of the challenges that I face as a high school coach is instilling confidence in my players. Before every game we play, I see a dozen nervous faces and find it difficult to actually convince my players they have a chance to compete and win. Confidence can be a complete game changer for girls at the high school level. It can propel teams to walk into a visiting gym and take a match from the opponent. As difficult as it can be to find confidence, it can be taken away very easily. One simple shanked serve receive ball can cause a girl to lose confidence, and soon enough, the entire team can follow.
2) Confidence can go hand-in-hand with the challenge of keeping a team mentally tough. High school is a critical time for girls especially because it seems that nearly everything can make them cry or shut down. It is important to keep players focused on their goal, even if it is physically or mentally taxing to achieve it. I think at this point, it is necessary to have one or two upperclassmen leaders to "be on your side” to help encourage and push struggling teammates. It is also important to convey the fact that yelling or pushing a team to their limits is a form of encouragement used to help unite a team and achieve a specific goal.