Take Three Steps Back

A few steps back can give you better perspective.

A few steps back can give you better perspective.

When I played volleyball, I was an outside hitter.

That means I spent most of my time on the left side of the court and attacked the majority of sets from the outside or left side.

In order to get the best positioning to hit either angle or line, you had to begin your approach outside of the court, about ten or twelve feet back from the net and between a one and two feet outside of the court. You are usually at about a forty-five degree angle to the net and you have enough room to take a three or four step approach.

I took three.

Left. Right. Left.

From that position on the court, I was able to see everything I needed in order to put the ball away on the other side. I could see how many blockers I had up, where the defensive players were set up on the other side, whether or not there was a hole in the block or if I was up against a solid two or three person block and many other nuances a hitter needs to process in a short amount of time.

If I was in the right spot to attack, I’d have excellent perspective on the situation before me so that in the two seconds it took for the ball leave the setters hands, I could make a decision on where to hit the ball.

If I could assess all that, I’d have a better shot at winning the rally for my team. If I was too far inside, my vision or perspective might be limited to what was immediately in front of me. If I was too far outside, I might not make it to the ball in time for an effective attack. I had to be three steps away to begin my approach to be most effective.

Left. Right. Left.


Over the past year or so, I’ve taken on several amazing projects. I’ve worked hard for them all, asked questions and have sacrificed what little “free time” I have to pursue them.

I love all of them.

However, there are times in the midst of a project when I can get very limited vision. I can become so invested in details that I lose focus as to the purpose of my role in the project. I may begin to feel envious that others are better than me at a certain skill set or that they have more experience than me.

Sometimes that feeling makes me want to try harder, invest more time, take on more commitments in that particular arena even when that’s not my strong suit.

Sometimes I feel like I need to be doing what someone else is doing.

I start to lose perspective.

That’s when I have to remind myself to take three steps back.

It’s not just a volleyball thing. It’s a life thing.

When I take three steps back and view something, some project, some friendship, some commitment from the best position – I can better assess the situation.

Left. Right. Left.

I have a better shot at winning the rally for my team.

See, I have to know what I am good at and execute that set of skills for my team. I may be called upon to play another position or step in for another team member from time to time, but I am the most effective when I am doing what I am best at.

I am best when I take three steps back and see exactly where I am needed for a certain play.


Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you need to be in the thick of things.

Sometimes you need to be right up in the action, because that is where you are needed.

But when you feel overwhelmed, over committed or like you can’t quite see why you have chosen something, some friendship, some job, some relationship, take three steps back.

If what you see isn’t something you need or want to be a part of, step off the court.

If it looks good from there, go ahead and attack.

And if perhaps, you are playing volleyball – just swing at the ball, this is a metaphor not my advice for outside hitters.

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Categories: Life Lessons Through Sports, Volleyball Life

1 reply

  1. I read your Twitter today about naps. I say amen! At 45 I love me a nap. There is nothing better!

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