November 21, 2011

Volleyball Club Team Selection

Recently discovered your site.  Very informative and easy to spend great lengths of time learning behind the scene info on vball.
Our daughter will be a 14U club player this upcoming season.  One of our main goals this club season is to prepare her for the high school varsity team next fall where she should have an opportunity to earn significant playing time as a freshman if she continues to develop.  What are your top few characteristics to consider when trying to determine between different clubs?  Also, what is your opinion of her playing up in 15`s with a very competitive team where she would be an average player versus playing in her age on an average team where she would be one of the stronger players on the team?  Aside from physical development, give me your advice on mental/psyche development with these two club options? 
Thanks for your help. S.J.

Glad you enjoy the site!  

1.  When you look at clubs, first of all look at who will be coaching your daughter's team.  The club can be great, but if the coach is garbage, then that will dominate.  After the club coach, look at playing schedule to make sure it fits your needs as a paying family. With your daughter's age, playing a National type schedule is not really necessary, but you would hope to have a bit of diversity in tournaments so you are not playing the same teams each weekend.  Also, take a look at the practice facility(ies) of the club; is there enough room for proper training, is the ceiling high enough, how close to home, etc.

2.  In terms of the actual team/age group, the important thing is court time.  If she can play up one level and be on the court, then great.  But, if moving up one level means her sitting on the bench half the time, then it is better to say with her age group and play.

3.  I don't think you can go wrong with either choice, as they both provide positives.  By playing up, you will challenge her physical abilities, but you may stunt her leadership development.  There is something to be said for being the leader of your age group and learning to deal with the pressure of performance expectations among your peers, than being able to 'hide' behind being the youngster on the team.

4.  If she does play up, I would not play up beyond her freshman year.  Make sure she plays her age as a sophomore, because you want college coaches (if this is her goal) to see her as apples to apples, and to evaluate her leadership and skills accordingly.
Good luck!


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