12 Month Timeline of a Volleyball Club Director

Junior Volleyball Club Directors wear many hats, as most have a full-time job on top of running a volleyball club. Add a facility and 20+ club teams to the mix and the Club Director's plate gets full pretty quickly. 

In order to break down a Club Director's responsibilities based on the indoor girls volleyball season, we've laid out the calendar year, starting with July, since that is the first month after the respective National Championships. This calendar is intended to help all the ambitious club directors out there who spend countless hours communicating with their coaches, on the phone with parents, and in the gym where they get to share their love for the game. 

July To Do List

  1. Manage summer camps
  2. Strategic planning session with club leadership
  3. Finalize fall club programs: # of teams, club dues
  4. Plan Hosted tournaments: Determine dates, facilities, pricing, promotion, etc.
  5. Develop plan for coaches’ development
  6. Finalize budget for next club season
  7. Decide on sanctioning (USAV, AAU, and/or JVA)
  8. Review club policies and procedures
  9. Finalize fall programs/clinics: Dates, facilities, pricing, promotion, etc.
July/August To Do List

  1. Summer Camp Management
  2. Fall tryout planning: Book facility, staffing, promotion, insurance, tryout plans
  3. Estimate uniform needs and secure uniform vendor
  4. Secure Spirit Wear Vendor
  5. Interview coaches and finalize club staff
  6.  Complete hosted tournament planning and begin promotion
  7. Complete club planning and begin promotion
  8. Begin to pull together tournament and league information
  9. Secure insurance for fall programs
September To Do List

  1. Apply for JVA Club and Tournament insurance
  2. Pre-order uniforms (be sure to include JVA logo)
  3. Develop tournament schedule for club teams
  4. Club program promotion
  5. Plan for coaches’ meetings, clinics, trainings, etc.
  6. Begin travel and housing planning
  7. Plan fundraising for club season

October/November To Do List

  1. Continue club program promotion
  2. Host pre-tryout parent/player informational meetings
  3. Hold fall tryouts, team selection/assignment
  4. Collect insurance and medical forms
  5. Complete background screenings for club staff
  6. Sign up coaches and athletes for national affiliates (USAV, AAU, and/or JVA)
  7. Finalize team tournament schedules
  8. Begin to enter tournaments
  9. Enter player and coach USAV/AAU codes into AES
  10. Schedule practices and team trainings
  11. Plan ref/score trainings


  1. Attend AVCA Convention and JVA Annual Meeting
  2. Outfit teams
  3. Hold parent meetings, team meetings and team building
  4. Hold ref/scorekeeper training
  5. Complete tournament entries
  6. Hold a coaches clinic for your coaches
January through June/July

  1. Facilitate Coach/Player/Parent Communication
  2. Monitor team practices
  3. Post team results on AES
  4. Sell club spirit wear
  5. Finalize travel and housing arrangements
  6. Host tournaments, post results on AES
  7. Facilitate communication between college and club coaches
  8. Assist parents and athletes in recruiting process
  9. Update athlete information on AES and University Athlete

  1. Plan summer camps: Facility, camp formats, staffing, promotion, insurance, camp T’s
  2. Plan summer beach programs
  3. Facility, staffing, promotion, insurance, uniforms    


  1. Continue camp and beach program promotion


  1. Apply for camp and beach program insurance
  2. Summer Tryouts? Facility, staffing, promotion, insurance, tryout plans

  1. Survey your families
  2. Secure Feedback from your coaches on the past season.  Find out who is coming back for the next season.  Put out a call for new coaches.
  3. Review leases and rental agreements
  4. Review coaches’ agreements and contracts
  5. Draft budget for next club season
For more resources to help you run your club programs and manage all of your Club Director tasks, visit the JVA website here. We are an educational resources for junior volleyball club directors and coaches, and want to help your club succeed!

The Patience Season

The early fall can be a confusing and frustrating time segment for families trying to manage the college volleyball recruiting process, especially those with rising Junior and/or Senior age daughters. Summer is over, high school season is starting up and the club volleyball recruiting season seems in the far distance.

For a number of families, a certain uneasiness can set in concerning recruiting.  The club season is over, and rumors abound that "all" the scholarships are gone with Division I, or only walk on positions are available, etc.  When families are still searching for that right fit, scholarship or roster opening, this uneasiness can quickly turn to panic.  And this panic, can influence families into making hasty decisions which may not be the best for the player.

This is the time of the year, where college coaches can play possum; they tend to go quiet in the recruiting process.  Part of this is to be expected because the collegiate season is beginning.  This season start reflects a huge to do list with not a lot of support.  For many programs, from NCAA Division I to Junior Colleges, the coaching staff may be one head coach and (if lucky) an assistant, which have a 100 things to get done before the first practice.  Oh, and then practice and matches begins.

The other reason coaches go quiet, is they need to use the fall to determine exactly what recruiting needs they have for the next season.  What returning player did not recover completely from surgery, what player did not pass that last summer school class for eligibility, what incoming player was has not met expectations, etc.  All of these factors, and many others, will alter the recruiting needs for the next two years.  

Because of this slow down by college coaches, families have got to be patient.  Now is not the time to panic and take the 'good enough' scholarship or school.  Rather, stay patient and use the fall to re-evaluate the situation.  By being patient and re-evaluating, players can put themselves into the best possible position to achieve their recruiting goals in the winter/spring.

What to re-evaluate:

* What type/level of schools have been in communication with you.
*  How many schools did you reach out to?  Did they respond?
*   Have your academic interests changed?  
*   Are you more open to different geographic locations?
*   What skill sets can you improve upon during the fall, to become a more attractive recruit for the colleges?
*   Will being open to various divisions yield more recruiting communication/options?

Since colleges are recruiting slow for the next 2+ months, families can use this time to recharge their recruiting battery, improve their volleyball abilities and physical conditioning, talk about what is desired in a school, then develop a large outreach list of programs to contact.  

As you reach out to collegiate programs, make sure your videos are current and you have updated your NCSA Recruiting Profile.  College coaches want to see your current skill sets, current grades/test scores, current contact information and if you know it, your club team for the upcoming club season.

As college coaches reengage in active recruiting, a program that said no in the spring, may now say yes because their needs have changed.  The families that are patient and use this slower period in a positive manner, will place themselves into the best position to secure their recruiting goals come the winter. 

NCSA is the official partner of the JVA. For more junior volleyball recruiting education click here. To learn more about the NCSA, click here.

5 Ways to Make College Coaches Notice You

By Lina Taylor, 2x Olympian in Beach Volleyball

With transfer rates reaching epidemic proportions among student athletes in collegiate sports, a natural question arises: are coaches and athletes doing enough on the front end to ensure a good fit? To answer this question, we must uncover the definition of what is a “good fit.”

1. Know what you want (and what you don’t want)

One of the biggest mistakes high school athletes make when they start the college selection process is to have the mindset: “I’ll go to any school that will give me a scholarship.” 

While it may feel that college coaches have all of the power in the process and you are at their mercy, putting thought into what you want your college experience to be is key to ensuring a good fit (and keeping yourself from becoming a transfer statistic). 

Spend time thinking what is important to you - does the program create a good team environment, where everyone contributes or do they seem to favor “star players”? This question alone can tell you a ton about how much playing time you can expect to get.

Other things to consider: graduation rates, availability of academic and career advisors, personal values and faith, alumni association (you will spend 4-5 years in college but a whole lifetime in the real world, where knowing the right people can go far in ensuring you have the best employment and other opportunities).

2. Begin your selection early 

This is nothing new, yet so many student athletes still get caught in having to make a last minute decision because they didn’t consider all of their options. Managing your time effectively in the whole process will allow you to make the visits you want, be at the camps you need, and make an informed decision that will support your success.

3. What can you do for the team? 

Read this carefully as it is a key concept in making your dreams become reality. When a student athlete who is a freshman or a sophomore in high school makes an inquiry to a college team and words his or her letter to the coach like this: 

“Dear Coach, what open positions and needs will your team have in the fall of 20XX, when I will be a freshman in college? I am a ….(state your position, stats, etc.) and I’d like to have an opportunity to contribute to the excellence of your program.”

Coaches are bound to listen, note, and when the time comes put you at the top of their list. Nothing says more to a coach than a person who is willing to put their needs in front of one’s own. Even if you don’t get a position at that school, you will most likely make a friend for life that will later no doubt give you a job recommendation with full confidence in the quality of the person you are.

4. Will you be eligible? 

This is something you need to stay on top of - if it seems complicated, ask for help. The last thing you want is to graduate from high school thinking you are college-bound only to find out that you are missing classes that you have to take in the summer or even worse, render you ineligible to play. Here is the website for the most up-to-date NCAA eligibility requirements

5. Do the work: videos, camps, unofficial visits, etc.

Making a highlight video is a must and it does not have to be a high cost production. A coach knows what to look for and can see it even from a hand held mobile device video. I would spend my time and effort in making sure I have enough “highlight”-type moments in each match I play and let your friends edit the film.

You can learn a lot about a coach and a program if you have an opportunity to go to a summer camp put on by the school. This will also ensure that the coach gets plenty of opportunities to see you play. These summer camps can be expensive - think about creative ways to organize a fundraiser during the year that will help you pay for the camps you want to attend. Same thing goes for unofficial visits - don’t let lack of funding stop you from taking this opportunity. 

If there is a will, there is a way. To your success!

Take advantage of a FREE Get Ready For College course this summer - register today at college-bound-student-athlete.com

About the author: 
Lina has never stepped away from a challenge and inspires others to face the impossible and experience unprecedented success. At just age 14, growing up in communist Bulgaria, she realized that her future lay in earning a scholarship to an American university. Read more about Lina here.

Mizuno Grand Prix Series

To encourage the growth and development of youth volleyball (ages 8-14) in the greater Chicagoland area, the Great Lakes Center Youth Academy, Chicago Elite Youth Academy, Energy VBC and Rolling Thunder VBC partnered together to form the Mizuno Youth Grand Prix Series.  This tournament series runs from the fall until the late spring and was formed to offer a low cost option for young athletes to enjoy the sport of volleyball. 

Tournament cost is $125 for grades 5-8 and $50 for grades 3-4 (teams play 4 vs. 4 on a smaller court).  

The MGPYA series has about 10-12 clubs that are currently involved with their youth academy teams.  Many of the dates had 40 or more teams entered.  The cost is $125.00 for 3 matches/6 sets for Level 2.  The cost for Level 1 is $50.00 and they play 4 - 20 minute games so they are done in 2 hours.

Cheryl Butler, Director of the Great Lakes Center Youth Academy said "It's been a great first year and has exceeded everything that we hoped it would be.  We has a total of 19 play dates with over 700 teams playing in those 19 dates."  

To keep cost down, older players do the officiating and the teams compete in a power pool so they play 3 matches and get to go home rather than be at the gym for 8 hours or more. The club hosting the Mizuno Grand Prix tournament has their high school girls/boys officiate for $10.00 per match.
One parent from each team playing keeps the score.  We use a very simple score sheet so parents can do it and then the other parent does the flip score.

For the youngest levels (grades 3-4) we play 4 vs. 4 on a 6 meter court using timed games so the teams are not in the gym longer than a couple of hours.  Everyone seems to love the format and the feedback has been great.
Click here to view a sample schedule for one of the Grand Prix Series.

In addition to competition teams practice 1-2 days per week. 
3-7 years of age practice 1 day per week for 1 hour. Sports Performance offers 6 week sessions.
Level 1 (3rd and 4th grade) practices 1 or 2 days per week for 1.5 hours. Sports Performance offers 10 weeks sessions.
Level 2 (5th and 6th grade) practices 1 or 2 days per week for 2 hours. Sports Performance offers fall, club, winter and spring sessions.

Everyone plays every position for Level 1 which is 4 on 4.
Everyone plays every position for Level 2 and teams run a 4-2 with the RF player setting.

In Level 1 Sports Performance has teams of 5 so when the RF player goes back to serve he/she steps out and the team continues to rotate that way.
In Level 2 there is no subbing. 6 players play an entire set and then the next set the other 6 players play.  If there are teams of 10 then the coaches have to make sure that at the end of the day every player has played the same amount of sets.
Click here to view the schedule for one Level 2 Grand Prix Series weekend.

"We hope more clubs will start youth academies and enter the events and those clubs currently involved are hoping to see growth within their Youth Academies which means more teams from those clubs."

Sports Performance, Chicago Elite, Energy VBC and Rolling Thunder VBC are all member clubs of the JVA. For more information about the JVA click here. 

Adjust the Tempo of Your Recruiting Process

With school getting out across the country, and club volleyball seasons either in their last championship events or finished, high school volleyball families must adjust their recruiting tempo.

Except for a couple of weeks coinciding with the national championships in club volleyball, this is one of the slowest recruiting periods of the calendar and will continue throughout the summer.  

There are many reasons for this gear down:
  • Club Volleyball tournaments have almost finished.
  • College Volleyball coaches are out of budget money.
  • Any spring season openings (college players transferring, not recovering from injuries, bad grades) have already sorted themselves out.
  • Collegiate academic year is over, so college coaches are trying to escape the office for as long as possible.

If you are a current/graduated senior and still trying to find a school, then Junior Colleges will be your best opportunity.  Make no mistake, JC's are a great option because it allows you to continue your skill development, garner collegiate playing time and get a number of college credits under your belt, while getting ready to move into a 4 year school after a year or two.

For the remaining high school ages, you have to slow down and be patient. The recruiting season is slow right now, so you can slow down, catch your breath and prepare for the next step.

  • Review where you are in the recruiting process - What schools are you interacting with?  Have you been invited on any visits? What playing level have you had the most response from (DI/DII/DII/NAIA or JC)?  Re-generate your collegiate outreach list based upon your review.
  • Refine your skills - Since college coaches are going to slow play their recruiting efforts during the summer (general statement), now is a great time to improve your skill sets. If you listened to your club coaches, you should know which skill sets you can and must make better.  Always remember, your talent will determine your opportunity.
  • Recovery - Too often, young athletes don't think they
    need recovery time and this is incorrect.  Now is the time of the year to let your body rest a bit, to let your mind rest a bit.  You need time to recharge your physical and mental battery.  You will not 'fall behind' if you take a week or two off from volleyball and physical training.
  • Physicality - Volleyball is a dynamic game, but understand your big physical gains will not occur until your early collegiate years.  Staying in shape, eating healthy, getting a good workout in a few times a week, will increase your physicality in a healthy way.  Avoid multiple dynamic/power/explosive programs; one is great while four will eventually cause some concerns.

The slow season of college volleyball recruiting will continue through the early fall.  College coaches always get a recruiting wake up call during their collegiate season.  Many coaches think they are done with a certain class, but then stuff happens; players get hurt, report out of shape, develop a terrible attitude, become academically ineligible, etc.  All of these instances will create roster and scholarship openings for the next season and beyond.

Slow down the recruiting tempo now; rest your body/mind, review your situation and redevelop your collegiate outreach.

This article was written by Matt Sonnichsen, Director of Volleyball Relations for the National Collegiate Scouting Association. NCSA is the Official Educational Partner of the JVA. For more junior volleyball recruiting education click here. 

3 Reasons Volleyball Players Should Lift

If you look at a pro volleyball player, you’ll see some serious muscle. Strong quads, flexible and functional hamstrings, and powerful glutes—male and female players alike, good volleyball players are so strong, it shows. Volleyball is a tough sport, demanding speed, agility, and explosiveness all in one athlete. Ask any pro where they built those traits, and they’ll tell you: in the weight room.

Strength training is beneficial for most sports, but essential for volleyball athletes. Even though there are many specific skills necessary for success, you cannot build these skills without a solid foundation of strength. Lifting—even for young athletes just starting their athletic career—is a crucial training tool for building that strength foundation needed to out-jump, out-cut, and out-sprint opponents. Here are my top 3 reasons volleyball players should spend more time in the weight room—now!

1. Strength and Power
It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you want to be a strong and powerful player, resistance training is how to do it. Lifting weights stimulates muscle fibers to grow in size (hypertrophy), to produce more force per contraction (strength), and to fire at faster rates (power). How does lifting do this?
The push press helps develop powerful hip extension in concert with explosive shoulder and upper-back strength. This exercise is an especially good choice for volleyball athletes, and will help strengthen the muscles most often used in setting and spiking the ball. Training overhead movements is essential for maintaining healthy shoulder and rotator cuff function in overhead athletes.
Not to get too technical, but there are several changes that take place within muscle cells (also called fibers) after beginning a strength training program. The first (and arguably most influential) changes that occur are neuromuscular, involving the connection between your muscles and your brain. In order for your biceps to contract, for example, your brain must first send a signal to all the individual fibers in the biceps muscle to call them into action. When you first start strength training, only some of your muscle fibers will respond to your brain’s request for activation. But as you continue to challenge these fibers through strength training, more and more muscle fibers will be activated.

BB Front Squat - Training core stability and dynamic leg strength, the front squat works the muscles involved in safe jumping and landing technique, while strengthening the lower back and core musculature to prevent injury during game play.

Think of it this way: lifting a heavy weight is kind of like drinking a thick milkshake through a small straw. If you only use one straw, it will take you a long time to drink the whole shake. But if you can use, say, 100 straws at once, you’ll get a greater volume of shake with each sip. This is similar to what happens when all of your muscle fibers are trained to be activated at once—you can lift more weight (milkshake) more efficiently. This translates to more strength in the weight room, and more explosive power on the court. Only muscle fibers that are directly stimulated through the stress of strength training will grow, which makes lifting an athlete’s best tool for developing the power to jump higher, and serve more forcefully.
This exercise is all about building lower-body power and explosiveness in a lateral plane. By training the body from all angles, volleyball athletes will develop the agility and proprioception needed for safe and effective movement on the court.
2. Injury Prevention
With all the jumping, landing, cutting, and planting in volleyball, the body can take a beating. Every time you jump, the force of the landing is transferred through the ankles, knees, hips, and back. It’s no wonder so many volleyball athletes have back pain! Research has proven again and again that the best method of injury prevention is strength training. And it makes sense: strong muscles are better able to absorb the shock of landing, or changing directions quickly, better than weak muscles.

BB Lunge - Emphasizing single-leg strength, the lunge helps build core and leg strength needed for unilateral movement and balance. Unilateral training helps ensure athletes build balanced strength, which aids in injury prevention.

Starting a strength training program helps prevent injuries in two big ways: first, by strengthening the targeted muscles used in volleyball (quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, shoulders, etc.). Strong muscles get the job done better than weak ones. But a good training program will also help athletes develop a foundation of balanced strength. Injuries in young athletes are usually caused by overuse (which can be prevented with a good coach and training program) and muscular imbalances. That is, if your quads are much stronger than your hamstrings, or your biceps much stronger than your triceps, you’re going to run into trouble. 

Weight training helps even out imbalances from front to back, head to toe, and left to right. Lifting ensures that athletes are paying as much attention to their abdominals as they are to their lower back muscles, and so on. The best athletes are healthy athletes, and strength training can help players avoid injury through developing 3-D, balanced strength.

DB Box Jump - The box jump is a great way to develop and train explosiveness while practicing safe jumping and landing technique. Developing dynamic and explosive hip extension is crucial for volleyball players.

3. Team Culture
This may not seem like an obvious benefit to starting a strength training program, but seriously: lifting weights helps cultivate a healthy, positive team culture. Volleyball isn’t a solo sport—even in pairs volleyball, you have to be able to rely on your teammate in competition. The weight room is a great place to practice working hard as a team.

When your entire team is in the weight room together, it can be a unique opportunity for team growth. Not only are athletes united in their goal (to finish the workout) much like they are in actual gameplay, they are participating in an encouraging—but still competitive—team environment. When your teammate is struggling with a lift, it opens up space for others to step forward and motivate them. And when you’re lifting side by side with a teammate, it can facilitate a healthy competitive drive among friends. And the actual physical act of lifting heavy weight, because it is innately difficult, helps to build individual mental toughness. All these traits translate onto the court during competition, when players must trust their teammates, create a positive mental space for themselves, and persevere.
Box Jumps
The next time you see a pro volleyball player, look closely: you’ll see strong quads and glutes, for sure—but you might also glimpse that inner strength that separates great athletes from good ones. Starting a strength training program, even at an early age, can help you develop the strength needed to excel at volleyball—both inside and out.

Disclaimer: Any training advice given is intended for informational purposes only. While strength training is appropriate for athletes of all ages with proper supervision, training for maximum strength is appropriate only for adolescents and up, due to risk of injury to the epiphyseal bone plate. Always consult with a doctor or pediatrician before beginning any exercise program.

Christye Estes, CSCS, ACSM-CPT is a CSCS-certified strength coach, a certified personal trainer through the ACSM, and a Sports Performance Specialist at Volt Athletics. For questions regarding this article or for more information on strength and conditioning for volleyball players, contact Christye at christye@voltathletics.com

Can a Parent Council Help Your Club?

By Sharon L. Galonski, Club Director, Next Level VBC
(This article is Part II. To read Part I click here.)

I did it!   
After tryouts were completed, teams were selected, uniforms were ordered, and practices began, each competitive team within Next Level VBC was required to provide me with the name of a parent who would function as a Parent Council representative.

We met through this past month through April when many of the younger teams completed their competition season.  While many of the high school age teams continue to compete, I felt it was better to stop sessions now rather than try to get parents to attend meetings when they were more focused on end-of-school and vacation planning. 

At our first meeting, everyone was given an agenda outlining topics I thought the parents might find educational and of interest.  I defined what I believed to be the primary purpose of the council – “To open better lines of communication and to find ways to educate our parents” plus a few other things.
Discussions included the club’s handbook, uniforms, SafeSport Training, online fee payments, hotel accommodations, differences between JVA, USAV and AAU events, tournament costs, a “Personal Insights Profile™,” fund raising, a new practice facility, and tryouts, along with many other topics, including those related to coaches – their training and club performance requirements.  

At the beginning, I found the parents to be hesitant and unsure of what their roles would be and what they were able to discuss.  I followed up each session with an e-mail indicating several of the agenda items for the next meeting. As the sessions continued throughout the season, the parents were prepared in advance and clearly became more comfortable in expressing ideas and concerns.  

They’ve provided me with some good ideas.  I’ll be looking to make better travel arrangements for our “larger” families in the club that need more than a single double room for out-of-state tournaments.  I’ll be making some changes to the Club Handbook to better define some of the club’s polices and will add a few sections to address issues brought to light this season.  I’ve already moved forward with a better online payment source with lower fees – one that I hope will be simpler for the parents to use at fee collection times.  I’ll also be discussing topics with my coaches at our end of season meeting that came to light during our council session that I believe will be beneficial for coaches moving forward.  

One of my two favorite sessions involved everyone taking the Personal Insights Profile™ DISC assessment.  The parents enjoyed taking the assessment and were amazed at the results.  Having the parents participate prior to our athletes at the 15s, 16s, 17s and 18s levels led to a better understanding of the purpose of the assessments and what I hoped to achieve by offering it to our athletes.  

My second favorite, our final session in April, was by far the most animated.  
I opened the door for parents to discuss tryouts – the dates, the procedure, what coaches evaluate, how we track players through the tryout, and how offers are extended.  I’m sure, as coaches and club directors, you’re thinking I was crazy.  Surprisingly, some of their ideas were good and most were in line with the procedure already in place.  BUT, I absolutely refused to have players wear different clothing items identifying them as previous members of our club!  I don’t feel any player should be given any type of preference at tryouts – they need to work hard to earn a spot on one of our teams and not have it given to them.   
Amazingly, this was the session where parents provided the most insight and supported my decisions at the highest level.  
I was impressed with those representatives who took the time to e-mail their entire team with monthly updates about the meetings.  They asked for input from team parents prior to each meeting based upon tentative agenda topics and provided parents with articles that I supplied – mostly to do with parent education (i.e., an article published by the JVA and written by Skye Eddy Bruce entitled: SIX Reasons Parents Should NOT Watch Practice, the USAV Spectator/Parent Code of Conduct, our Region’s 10 Rules For Parents of Athletes, SafeSport Training guidelines, John Kessel’s Grow The Game Together Blog article posted in March, and many others). 

Was everything perfect?  NO.  Did one or two representatives try to bring up complaints involving players or coaches?  YES.  I immediately shut down those attempts at discussion and invited the parent to stay after the meeting to discuss further, but made it clear to the group that the council was not to be used as a means for parents to bring up individual players or team complaints – these issues needed to follow the protocol outlined in our handbook.  Did all representatives contribute to the discussions?  Sometimes – mostly.  

My biggest complaint – the lack of attendance by certain team representatives.  It was typically the same parents.  In fact, some never showed up, one quit and had to be replaced, and some complained they weren’t given enough notice (hmmm… I would think a full month’s notice would have been sufficient).  While some excuses were certainly valid, some weren’t.  The parents who were truly active on the council even went so far as to have another parent attend on their team’s behalf if they weren’t able too.  

My final project under the council’s discussion and input is to finalize a survey to parents on various club topics.  In the past, e-mail surveys were responded to by less than 10% of the parent membership.  With the support of council members and their willingness to follow up with their teams, I hope to get some additional feedback from everyone!

So, the question is, should I continue the council?   I have to say that I fully intend to move forward with the Parent Council again next season.  It was definitely a positive experience for me as the director of the club.  I might screen parents a little better to determine if they will actually be active with the council and I’ll work a little harder at preparing agendas that keep the parents animated.  
After all, the council can only be as effective as the parents who involve themselves.  

While I think the council worked to my advantage more than the parents this season, I believe now that they have a sense of how it will be run, their input will be more on point, and the council will become much more valuable to the success of the club!  

Next Level Volleyball Club is a supporting member of the JVA. To learn more about the JVA click here.
This is Part II of Sharon's experience implementing a Parent Council. To read Part I click here.

Top Beach Volleyball Bag Must-Haves!

By Molly Menard – Pro Beach Volleyball Player and CFO of the National Volleyball League
Twitter: @menardbeachvb

1. Sunscreen
You want to be 100% focused on the court and I promise you’ll be thinking about your aching skin and not the next point if you’re sunburnt!  I always bring 4 kinds of sunscreen: lotion, spray, a stick, and chapstick.  You can never have too much! 
I apply the lotion before I even step outside (you should wait 15 min for it to sink in before you go out in the sun).  Use the spray sunscreen in between matches as a touchup – not a primary.  Remember only about 60% of the spray makes it on your skin, so lotion is much more economical and more protective.  

Then I like to use a stick on super high sweat areas – nose, forehead, tops of ears.  Chapstick with an SPF is also important. You won’t realize until the end of the day that your lips can get burned too.  My favorite sunscreen is Australian Gold.  It lasts a really long time, and well, smell it! You’ll be hooked too. 

2.  Ball... Always have a ball with you!  
Tournament directors often only provide balls for the court and not for warm-ups. It’s important that you start warming up for at least ten minutes before your court opens up.  Make sure you run, stretch, and pepper so you and your partner are ready to start using the net as soon as the match before you is over.

3.  Beach Towel
I always have a beach towel with me for stretching, getting sand off my face, or for a post-VB swim in the ocean.  My brother and his wife bought me a special one a few years ago that I bring to every tournament.  I draw a lot of strength from my family and I bring a few momentos with me when they can’t be there.  Little reminders of my family makes the good days that much better and the frustrating days a little less bad!  

Make sure you thank your parents and other family members who come out to watch you. You will miss them on the days they can’t be there.  No matter if you lose or have the worst match of your life, a classy player always walks off the court with their head high and thanks their fans who came out to see them.  

4.  Stretch Band / Rubber Band
I like to bring a yoga strap to stretch in between games.   It’s a really easy, low energy way to get in a good deep stretch while relaxing.  Try laying on your back with one leg in the air and the strap around your foot for a deep hamstring stretch.  Or stand up and hold the strap overhead with both hands.  While pulling out on the strap, squat down while keeping your upper body straight for an overhead squat.  I also like to use a band as it helps to activate certain muscles that I need to “wake-up” before a game to help stabilize my bigger power muscles.  A simple exercise is band pull-aparts, where you hold the band in front of you and use your arms to literally pull it apart.  You should feel your upper back engaged and ready to crush some balls!

5.  Snacks
Every elite athlete knows that proper nutrition is key in getting through long days and training sessions.  I try to carry snacks that can last through the day.  Almonds, protein bars (remember to keep them out of the sun so they don’t melt!), bananas, and dried fruit (no sugar added!) are great options.  I also like to use all natural recovery or electrolyte drinks (check out VegaSport Recovery powder) when I know I will be sweating a lot.  I make sure to bring plenty of everything because I don’t like to eat big meals during the day when I play, but I do eat a little something between each match.  Big meals make me sleepy!

6. Water
Make sure you have a couple of water bottles on tournament day. Many tournament directors offer water, but you definitely don’t want to be stuck without if there isn’t any.  I like to bring at least two water bottles so I can mix my electrolytes in one.  I also prefer stainless steel water bottles as I think they stay the cleanest.  Plastic bottles often have BPAs that can leak into your water when the bottle is in the sun, so if you do have a plastic water bottle, make sure its BPA free.  Klean Kanteen makes a really good stainless steel water bottle. 

7. Lightweight Hoody, Hat, and/or Visor
I like having a lightweight hoody on hand, especially when I’m outside all day. It’s a good idea to physically cover up as much as possible when you aren’t playing in order to protect your skin.   I can’t play in a hat, but I do wear one in between matches to protect my face.  A cool trucker hat is a must on the beach!  Check out the awesome merchandise line coming soon to www.thenvl.com to stay protected (and look cool!) throughout the day. 

8. Extra Bikini/Boardies
You never know when something might happen!  Something might rip, you might spill, or your bikini or boardies might just feel funny after playing 4 matches.  Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to bring a uniform change. 
It's really important that you try your bikini or boardies on before tournament day.  Make sure they fit well! Jump, squat, shake it out... make sure everything stays in place and is comfortable.  Just because it looks cool doesn't mean it's comfortable. You definitely don't want to be distracted when you are on the court.  
For the ladies, I really like adjustable bikini tops - Pepper Swimwear makes a great top that has four adjustable straps.  They are also reversible so it's like you can get two different looks in one.  Sports bra and cross back type tops are also great.  I highly recommend you avoid string bikini halter-tops or bottoms!  Nothing stays in place. (Yes...I have learned the hard way).  

9. Ear buds
I always need music to pump me up before a game so I never leave home without my ear buds!  It’s just as important to mentally warm up as much as physically warm up.  I like to visualize the first play of the game as well as get rid of any “noise”.  
Noise can be anything from being too excited to doubting yourself.  You need to find the right level of emotion and shake off anything that is making you too anxious.  If you are at practice, you need to prepare yourself to learn, and if you are at a tournament, it’s time to let all of your training and hard work kick in!  It’s GAME TIME!

For more junior beach volleyball education click here.

The On-Going Struggle to Introduce Volleyball at an Early Age

By: Meg Davis, Youth Academy Director at Southern Performance Volleyball

When I was first told I would be officially in charge of the “Youth Academy” at the club then known as Team Sting Volleyball Club, and now Southern Performance Volleyball, I was both excited and nervous. I love the sport of volleyball and coaching younger kids, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to grow a youth volleyball program, especially in a state like Alabama, where volleyball is not usually the first choice for a sport.

One major challenge was (and still is) introducing the sport of volleyball at an early age. Other sports (soccer, softball, football, basketball) have youth programs with a large following. These sports are introduced to children in many ways: YMCA's, community Parks and Rec programs, schools, etc. 

In Alabama minimal organized opportunities exist to play volleyball at a young age, and most have been through local recreational centers offering limited technical training. Our club recognized the gap in training opportunities and has been making an effort to fill that gap, while simultaneously growing our club from the ground up.

In its inaugural year in 2011, our Youth Academy trained approximately 46 participants from ages 5 to 13. During the 2014-15 season, the Southern Performance Volleyball Youth Academy (SPVB-YA) trained over 250 participants through various youth programs. So in only four seasons, SPVB-YA has expanded by over 440%!

SPVB-YA still faces challenges to expand our numbers, especially for children in pre-K through 2nd grade. However, our recent growth has helped the club as a whole grow its participation numbers, and will hopefully continue to improve  the skill level of our travel teams as the YA players age. The success of our SPVB-YA is essential for the growth of the club both in the immediate and long-term future.

The growth of the SPVB-YA can be attributed to the vision and creative input of our club director Julie Dailey to emphasize youth development. Additionally, resources from the Great Lakes Center Youth Academy (GLC-YA), which is affiliated with Sports Performance Volleyball, have heavily influenced the expansion of the SPVB-YA. Some of the concepts that have worked for SPVB-YA to help grow our youth program include:

  • Don’t Try to Re-Invent the Wheel 
Many other organizations across the country and the world run extremely successful youth volleyball programs. Borrow ideas from others & customize them to fit your program. Watch their online videos, contact program directors for advice, or even observe their practices or clinics.
  • Be Patient & Stay Flexible
It may take some time before you see the numbers you are hoping for. Offer clinics, leagues, etc. throughout the year on different days and at different times. Kids are busy these days!

  • Try New Things & Think Outside the Box                     

Kids love TOYS! Find fun ways to incorporate hula hoops, squishy or bouncy balls, footballs, mini-nets, glow-in-the-dark volleyballs, beach balls, balloons, birdies, etc. Use age-appropriate drills & equipment to allow for success without sacrificing technique. 
Offer other fun activities (crafts, healthy snacks, etc.) whether
they are related to volleyball or not. New ideas may fail or work out great, but you won’t know until you try them out.


3-contact play emphasis for ages 5 to 13 from balloon to volleyball

  • Spread the Word Literally, as well as with Pictures and Videos

Word-of-mouth among families and ideas like “bring-a-friend for free day” can expose new players to your program. Create a blog, newsletter, website, Instagram, Facebook page, etc. The more videos, pictures, flyers, etc. that you share, the more visible your product. And kids will be excited to see themselves in action!

SPVB-YA Blog spvbya.wordpress.com
The Blog is a great platform to share: upcoming events: practices, clinics, tournaments, team pictures & rosters, monthly practice calendars. tournament schedule, and an archive of newsletters.

SPVB-YA Newsletter
The newsletter is a great way to share information such as:

  • "Players of the Day" at recent practices
  • Upcoming events: practices, clinics, tournaments
  • Fundraising opportunities
  • Results from tournaments
  • Pictures - action shots from tournaments & play days
  • Links & summaries of volleyball-related articles (motivational, educational, etc.)

These ideas have helped the SPVB-YA grow and will hopefully help it to continue to grow. Volleyball is a great sport to keep kids active & teach life lessons. Youth development programs can help young players learn new things & have fun at the same time!

SPVB-YA still faces challenges to expand our numbers, especially for children in pre-K through 2nd grade. However, our recent growth has helped the club as a whole grow its participation numbers, and will hopefully continue to improve  the skill level of our travel teams as the YA players age. The success of our SPVB-YA is essential for the growth of the club both in the immediate and long-term future.