May 2, 2011

Young Volleyball

Dear Coach,

I stumbled across your site and thank you for the great advise you give to us new volley parents. My daughter played for her 13 regional club team and had a lot of court time. She plays for her middle school as well. This will be her 8th grade year upcoming and I was wondering when the club season starts again should she try for the 14 state team with the possibility of less court time or stay on the 14 regional team and have the court time? 

Thank you.  RP 

Glad you enjoy the site and please tell 500 of your closest friends!!

I would view your club choice in terms of quality of coaching and practices.  Your daughter is at the age where her Volleyball skill sets will be imprinted for the remainder of her career.  Volleyball is a sport where training makes you much better than playing - Too much focus on matches and not enough focus on practice is a criticism of Club Volleyball.

Go with the team where you feel/believe you daughter is getting the best training.  With this in mind, spend some time in the remaining weeks of active club by going to see the 14's groups in practice - If the club will use the same coaches for this age group, this will allow you to do some scouting for next year.  If the 14's coaches will move up, then find out via the club director who they anticipate having coach the 14's next year, then go watch them practice.

I would take less playing time with better practices 7 days a week and twice on Sunday!


My name is L.K. (The Coach note: this young man's name was shortened to protect the innocent!) and I am a 6 grader. I play club volleyball and I play for my school. I'm 5 foot 3 inches and I play middle blocker right now but I will probably play setter next year. What advice can you give me? My dad is six feet and my mom is five foot seven inches.  

Thank you, L.K.

  1. Trade your current set of parents in for taller parents - There are some good trade in deals out there this year.  Maybe find another pair of super tall parents with a bratty kid who is not smart enough to play Volleyball, then make the switch.  I think the Fox Channel has some show like that?
  2.  Eat avocados - Scientific studies have shown that consuming avocados leads to better passing skills.  Just think about it, all those Californians pass well, even the team managers!
  3. Read the answer below.
Since you are in 6th grade, I would encourage you to keep playing as much Volleyball as possible in healthy environments.  It is great that you are able to play on your school team, which many young men in the USA can't do.  Keep active by playing doubles on the beach/sand, play doubles or 4's on grass courts, look at playing at the YMCA open gyms or at the high school open gyms; just keep playing Volleyball.

With your age, the best thing you can do is to keep working on all your skill sets to become a well rounded Volleyball player who can do everything.  With your parent's height, it looks like you might not grow to the height traditional of an elite level middle blocker, so you would probably move into one of the ball control positions of setter, outside hitter or libero as you get older.  This is not a bad thing because you now have a basic concept of the middle position, which will only help in your knowledge of the game as you transition into being a setter.

Since your school team plays Volleyball, you may well live in a region of the country which has Men's College Volleyball.  If that is the case, then I would consider going to a Men's Volleyball Camp conducted by a college level team; any new techniques will be a benefit to your development as a player.

I did not grow up in a traditionally Volleyball area of the US, but I started playing very young because my parents played Volleyball.  Because I started so young, and just tried to become good at everything, playing anywhere I could, I was able to become as good as those other players who did grow up in Volleyball areas.

Thanks for the question and have some fun!

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