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I am inspired to write to you after reading today's post (original post here) about the importance of early generalized training (v. specialization), and the lack of this philosophy in the club volleyball world.
My husband and I completely agree with this perspective and want our daughter to not only learn and develop a broad skill set, but also are concerned about the lack of a developmental perspective, which recognizes that not all techniques/training are appropriate for athletes of any age.
What are we to do when the only club options in our community fall into the category you describe: they specialize players from the earliest ages, they coach 12 year olds to (especially) hit exactly the way an 18 year old hits, and their coaches do not have a long-term approach to developing players?
We see this club taking good young players and, to be blunt, ruining them by the time they are graduating from high school. Injuries are rampant and the club leadership, as well as the majority of coaches, are completely confident that their approach is not only right, but perfect.
Our daughter loves the game and shows early promise but we are very worried about her having to play and be coached in this environment. This club is really the only viable option in our area. What should we do?
Any guidance would be very appreciated! I am a big fan of your book and your blog, so thanks for being a sane voice amidst the chaos!
Thanks for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and collegevolleyballcoach.com. My impression is that many club directors/coaches are 'trained' by USA Volleyball to specialize player skill sets, and then seeing collegiate coaches specialize (which is a result of the rule changes of a number of year's ago), tricks them into also mimicking this specialization. If your daughter grew up playing in Puerto Rico or Brazil, we would not have this conversation.
Your options; 1) Drive the distance required to participate in clubs with the general skill set development. 2) Augment your daughter's selective club training with private lessons to develop her all around game, 3) Move to Puerto Rico. Unfortunately all three options cost money, but #2 may be your only viable option.
You can also use summer camps to develop all around abilities, but again, these are expensive.
The radical option is to form your own club team - You would be surprised how many VolleyFamilies in the past decided they wanted a better option and formed another club; not the simplest choice, but it has been done many times. I would recommend you visit the Junior Volleyball Association website (here), as I have heard positive feedback from junior clubs who used this resource.
I wish I could give you the immediate easy solution, but there really is not one.
Hang in there, and you have already figured out part of the solution; you determined that the current training environment was not acceptable, you identified the problem. There may not be a complete solution, but you may well be able to mitigate the problem.
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