CLUB BALL - MY TAKE ON MOST COMMON QUESTIONS

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These are the most commonly asked questions regarding club volleyball, and in this post I will share some of my opinions and experiences.


1. Should my child do club ball? Which clubs should we tryout for?


I often get this question and here are my general thoughts on it. My opinion and any advice comes from personal athletic experience – as an athlete, I went through all the stages of athletic development; as a coach I witness issues daily, and as a mother I am always careful and do my research when I am making choice for my child.

First question that I ask parents/athletes is: What are you trying to get out of it?


I think this is a good place to start. Once you got your answers down, see how a particular organization, schedule, coach or team can help your goals.


Things to consider:


Who is the coach?

What is the coach’s experience/reputation/strength/weakness? How does this coach or organization match my child needs?


Longevity

How long does my child plan on playing volleyball?

Many children that start heavy volleyball schedule early in their life, and then burnout by the age 15 which is actually the time to get more competitive and exposed.


Mental

How can a particular organization/coach/team contribute to the proper mental development of my child?


Social

How can a particular organization/coach/team contribute to the proper mental development of my child?


Physical

How can a particular organization/coach/team contribute to the proper physical development of my child?


Technical/Tactical

How can a particular organization/coach/team contribute to the proper technical/tactical development of my child?


Budget

What is our budget?

This includes fees, travel, food, stay, gas, tickets, time off work etc.


Time commitment

How does this work with other sports my child is commited to, other extracurriculars, siblings, family schedule?


Environment/culture

Do your research on the environment in which your child will spend a lot of time.


Competition

What is the competition like? How does this match my child’s goals?


2. Which Clubs do you recommend?


General recommendation


For younger athletes, get your skills (all of them) and footwork right first. Play multiple sports as long as you can, and develop good motor function and different muscle groups. Work on your ability to move fast, react and jump.


Many kids get into a single sport and specialize early and this often ends up with the opposite from the desired effect (burnout, injury or an athlete who is only good at one skill). What I have witnessed over the years is that younger kids (6-8th grade) get exposed only to passing or setting (if they are short) or hitting (if they are tall). And this can be problematic.


For example, kids sign up for playing experience, but because everybody pays, everybody gets to play. So, we end up getting front row or a back row players that at most gets 2-3 rotations at the time, and not 6 like one well rounded player should get.

Later when their growth stops or accelerates, they find them selves in a situation where they’ve never played a certain position before, which is definitely a setback.


Make sure you are making decisions based on what your child needs, and not based on what the neighborhood thinks your child needs.


It’s hard to recommend a club, as no one shoe fits all. Additionally, what I find to be valuable may not be valuable to you. Lastly, I would hate to make a recommendation only to hear back one had poor experience. Experiences will always vary individual to individual and will be based on goals of the athletes.