“Call me off”

I hear a number of common phrases during volleyball play which I discourage athletes from using. This is why. 

“Call me off”

This phrase is most commonly uttered when a player realizes that she had gotten in the way of her teammate who was likely to be in a better position to play the ball. Anecdotally, I tend to observe older players use this phrase on younger players, both as a way of establishing authority, but also as an escape from social consequences of admitting to a mistake. It’s a reversal of blame – not only is the original player not responsible for being unaware of her partner, it’s also her partner’s responsibility to be aware of her.

I consider using this phrase aloud as a way of escaping responsibility, rather than learning from the circumstance. These circumstances, however, are good teaching examples of body awareness, and acknowledging that every movement one makes on the court can inadvertently affect the partner.

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