Frequently Asked Questions About Club Volleyball

So, you are intrigued by the idea watching your player play more and growing in the sport, but you aren't too sure if club or travel volleyball is right for you?  Below are a list of questions and answers that we had when we started years ago.  If you have any other questions, please email us at info@shenandoahsurge.com.  

What are the basic differences between club volleyball and recreational volleyball?

The basic differences are cost, competitive play, travel and skill growth.  

Cost:  Generally a season of recreational volleyball is less than $100 while club or travel volleyball can range anywhere from $500 to $3,000+ depending on location, tournament schedule and coaching staff.  

Competitive Play and Skill Growth:  The rule of thumb in any sport is that you will get better by competing against those better than you.  Rec. ball is "generally" a time for a player to learn the basics of the game, gauge their love of the sport and play in a low-pressure environment.  Once a player discovers a passion for the game, they will want to compete against better players to test their skills and grow their game.  The more you play, the better you get.  

 

Coaching staff for recreational volleyball is normally loving parents and community volunteers.  While club volleyball coaches (coaching for a USA Volleyball affiliated team) are required to be Impact and SafeSport certified through USA Volleyball as well as have a current background check, most will be former collegiate players, middle school, high school and college coaches, or those with extensive sports backgrounds who have become aggressive students of the game in order to help young volleyball players progress in the sport.

Travel:  Recreational volleyball is generally played and practiced locally.  While club or "travel" volleyball does just that-travel.  We will travel to tournaments on weekends to face anywhere from 3-6 teams in one day.  We try to keep tournaments within a 1 to 1 1/2 hour distance, but sometimes it can be a little more.  We are planning for 6-8, 1 day tournaments with 1, 2-day tournament.  The 2-day tournament may be 3-4 hours distance.  We will not know for sure until the season starts.  

Why do the club volleyball fees include?

Fees cover the costs of the expenses below and we make up any short falls through fund raising and sponsorships in order to keep fees as low as possible for players and their families.

Uniforms:  Instead of just a t-shirt, your player will be provided with 2 volleyball jerseys, a club t-shirt, a gear bag and a warm up suit.  Spandex are provided by the player.  This is because we want players to be comfortable and purchase those spandex that fit them the best.  All spandex must be navy. These are items that your player will be able to wear with pride for years to come.  

Tournaments:  In general tournaments are around $300 each to register a team and can be much more. This covers the cost of certified referees, insurance, tournament space and your player the chance to play 6 to 8 hours of competitive volleyball.  Each tournament offers play-offs and a tournament champion!  

 

Experienced Coaches: Coaching staff for recreational volleyball is normally loving parents and community volunteers.  While club volleyball coaches (coaching for a USA Volleyball affiliated team) are required to be Impact and SafeSport certified through USA Volleyball as well as have a current background check, most will be former collegiate players, middle school, high school and college coaches, or those with extensive sports backgrounds who have become aggressive students of the game in order to help young volleyball players progress in the sport.   

Practice Facility: In order to grow your game, you have to practice.  A dedicated, safe, professional practice facility is a must have.  

 

Practice Time:  The average club season is 4-6 months with at least 2 practices a week with highly skilled coaches and hours and hours of competitive play.  Touches on the ball and competitive play are critical in building skills and becoming better.  The average school season is at most 3 months.  If you are trying to get better to make the school team next year or have dreams of college play, you will quickly gain on players who are limiting themselves to only 3 months of play each year through school or recreational volleyball.  We suggest you play both if you can! 

 

Additional Skills Offered:  In addition to 2 weekly team practices, many clubs will offer bi-monthly or monthly skills clinics that focus only on 1-2 specific skills.  We plan to offer this if practice space is available. Additionally, club volleyball requires that each team "work" the matches of other teams at tournaments when they are not playing.  Your player will learn to be a line judge, keep score and have the opportunity to become a certified score keeper and/or referee if they choose to do so!   

How do families budget and pay for the fees?

With a little budgeting and planning, the costs can be manageable for all.  Below are some ways to help your family budget for and cover the costs of club volleyball.  

Start Early:  Many families who plan to play club or travel sports plan for this item in their family budget.  They will set aside a small amount each week, pay period or month and when the season starts, they are ready.  

Have the Player Cover Some of the Costs:  What better way to ensure that your child is just as much invested in their future as you are.  Babysitting, dog sitting and extra chores around the house or neighborhood can add up quickly if they apply themselves. Studies have shown that adolescents value the experience more and work harder when they are invested themselves rather than just the parents.  

Reach Out To Family:  Many family members are happy to offer to help cover the costs of something that is an investment in a child's future.  Especially one that is educational, keeps them active and off the couch and cell phones.  

Seek Out Business Sponsors: With numerous local business near you, there is no reason many of them wouldn't offer to sponsor an athlete to better themselves for the future.  At $25 each, the funds can quickly add up.  Here is a sample letter.    

My child has never played on a school team or was not selected for the school team.  Should we bother trying out?

Even if your players has only played recreational volleyball and not had the opportunity to be on a school team, there still is a good chance that they will find a place on a club team and here are a few reasons why.

Smaller pool of players:    Many times school teams get a very large turnout.  Sometimes as many as 40 to 100 kids for tryouts. Due to other obligations, sports, costs and time, all of those same kids will not be available to try out.  Normally you would have 2-3 months to prepare if you were not selected for a school team.  Spend this time practicing and investing in some private lessons.  Imagine how much could be improved in 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days per week for that 2-3 month period.   

Teams are picked by age:   For school teams, you will have 3 grades for middle school and 4 grades for high school, all hoping to make the one team.  In club ball, generally each team is all players of the same age.  Your school tryout may have had only 3 kids your player's age at tryouts and the spots were all taken by older kids.  This probably won't be the case at club tryouts. 

It could have been a bad day:   We all have good and bad days and many things may have influence a school tryout. Nerves, amount of sleep, food eaten, how school went that day and more.    They have managed to survive at least one tryout and now they know what to expect and prepare for.  

Rec. leagues can be fierce:  Many recreational volleyball leagues are very competitive and your player may be more skilled than you realized if all the teams are evenly matched.  99% of players start in rec. ball and many go straight from rec. to club.  So even if you never played school ball or were not selected for your team, you are in good company. 

How do I choose the right club for my player and our family?

From USA Volleyball

 

We know the process of choosing a club can be very overwhelming. We've put together some tips to help you through the process. These are only guidelines. You, your player and your family should discuss what you need from club volleyball, what are your expectations and realistic goals, your financial obligations, your personal obligations and time commitment.

 

Where Do I Find The Clubs? The best way to find out all of your options is to visit the area Region Volleyball website. Each region sets their own rules and regulations for being a sanctioned volleyball club. Typically the Junior Clubs that are offered in your area will have their own web page listed but if you cannot find the Junior Club page, contact the Regional Volleyball office by email or phone which both should be listed on the home page of each region.

 

Now What? Get information on all the clubs in your area. Check the websites or email the club directors and ask for information.

 

The kinds of things you want to know are:

- What age groups do you offer?

- How do you select your members?

- How many teams do you have at each age level?

- Who are the coaches at your child’s age level?

- What is their background in coaching?

- What is the club philosophy? (Does everyone play? Is it “play to win?)

- What are your membership.................

Read full handout HERE.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from trying out!  We hope to see you at tryouts!