March 4, 2010

Volleyball Concerns

I have some concerns with my favorite sport on the planet.

  • Our sport is well into the twilight zone of intercollegiate athletics. We have it better than some sports, but we are getting left in the dust by way too many other sports. I am very concerned that we are falling back into the third tier of college sports.
  • We have so many positive things to promote about Women's College Volleyball, yet we are the greatest sport nobody really knows. It is 2010 and I still get asked when is college volleyball season? Do you think college basketball or baseball coaches get asked when their sport is played?
  • Within the Division I ranks, no vacant positions were filled by current DI head coaches and only two positions were filled by current DII coaches. Before anyone goes ballistic on this observation, it concerns me because the Athletic Directors have made the statement that for this 2010 hiring cycle, the sport of Division I women's volleyball was not worthy of hiring experienced Division I head coaches. I cannot for one moment believe that current, successful DI head coaches did not apply for some of the higher profile positions available this spring.
  • Volleyball coach's salaries have been frozen, or at least frost-bitten for the last two fiscal cycles. Given the current economic climate is understandable, but this freeze does not seem to apply to other sports.
  • On average, the 2nd/3rd assistant women's basketball coach makes as much or more than the head volleyball coach at Division I schools.
  • The euphoria over the domination of USA volleyball achievements from the last Olympics sure faded fast. Did any organization with responsibility over any type of volleyball form (now that sand volleyball is in existence in many classifications) develop a successful marketing or promotions effort to maximize this possibly once in a generation occurrence? I remember when USA Women's Soccer was on its great run in the World Cup and Olympics, you could see the women's soccer promotions everywhere for youth, college, high school, potential professional league, etc.
  • There is no dedicated College Volleyball Coaches Association. Right now, the AVCA's focus is "As a group, the AVCA is committed to the development, growth, advancement and publicity of volleyball throughout the world." Per its own website, you don't even need to be a coach to be a member of the AVCA. Please stop planting seeds and start taking care of the field - The date is not 1981.
  • Women's college volleyball is the dominant media, salaried, budgeted and regulated volleyball entity in the USA, yet compared to even college softball we are minor league. The support needed by college volleyball coaches is unique, specific and desperate, yet is not being addressed by the organization which charges Division I programs (head and two assistant coaches) $595.00 to join.
  • Between the cost to attend the AVCA Convention, the advertisements/stores on the website (6 by my count) and the numerous Girls Talent Showcases they organize, one gets the suspicion that the AVCA leaders are more interested in making money than providing for their membership.
  • Don't EVEN get me started on them pimping out NCAA Sand Volleyball.
  • Where did all the good passers go in club volleyball? I go recruiting and see outside hitters who can't pass the easiest serves possible playing on the miniature sport courts used by club tournaments. It is scary when the Libero can't even pass that well.
  • Like the sunset before a stormy night, I am enjoying the peace and quiet of no college volleyball rule changes or 'interpretations' - Gotta love that one, the rule was not implemented or changed, we just decided it had a different meaning. I am afraid of what the darkness will bring forth from the NCAA Women's Volleyball Rule Committee.
  • In today's economic climate, do National Qualifiers really need to cost $750.00 per team? Especially when they have 3 divisions of each age group - the next step is 1/2 age groups, "What age group are you playing in this year Mary?" "I am on the 15 1/2 year old Open team this club season".
  • College Volleyball season does not cease to exist when college basketball begins its practice in October - This might be a good thing for a dedicated college volleyball coach's organization to remind athletic directors about, like maybe from a Title 9 perspective.
  • When did volleyball coaches stop being coaches and start being yellers? If I had played for a coach who yelled the obvious at me after making a mistake, my response would have been "no sh.....". As a college coach, I see this happening all too often in the club ranks - Club kids need to be taught, and taught, and taught, and taught. Please see how many times I said taught - it is a teaching job, club coaches are teaching junior high and high school kids the sport of volleyball. Players are still learning the nuances of the game, they are still trying to process massive amounts of volleyball information as fast as their young teenage minds will allow. If anything, college coaches should be doing the yelling because the players are leaving those wonderful teenage years after being taught before they arrived at Giant State U.

Enough of me.


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