We have all had people like these in our life, whether it be on a sports team or a co-worker in business, it is important to know how to work well with others.
In the skit above Coach Gordon and Coach Caceres demonstrate the "Partner that is overly nice" and Coach Jones demonstrates the "Partner that is overly mean". As you could have guessed, we are looking for a teammate that is right in the middle.
If your partner is overly nice: then it is hard to understand what it is that they need from you, whether it be a higher set, a different serving target, or defensive positioning. As a partner, it is important to take responsibility for the actions of the team but it is also equally important to formulate a plan of action moving forward to mitigate the risk of the same mistake happening twice. With all that being said, we would always prefer for our players to error on the side of nice :)
If your partner is overly mean: then it is hard to perform at your highest level out of fear of verbal assault (as coach Jones so eloquently demonstrated in the video :). That being said, having a standard for performance for both yourself and your partner is important but the words and body language we choose to correct the path will make the difference between a solid partnership and a "one-time" partner.
It is hugely important for our athletes to learn to compete with many different types of partners, because just as in life, there will be variety of personalities and dynamics that our young athletes will have to traverse. As well, by encouraging our athletes to play with multiple partners we are helping them fine tune their communication efficiency. They have to quickly establish roles, communicate expectations (set preference, defensive positioning, etc.), and decide upon a strategy.
When it comes down to it, always find a way to take your fair share of responsibility in whatever setting you may be (on the beach, indoors, at school, or at work). When you learn to take responsibility for yourself, you will also learn to chase your biggest scariest dreams.