Jumping into club sports is a big decision for a student-athlete and their family. Between the time and financial commitments, you want to make sure you're making a good choice for your lifestyle.
Our #AZVolleyballMom has some tips for those wanting to do some homework before tryouts.
The first step to club volleyball is to talk to friends who've played club volleyball.
What did they like about it? What did they not like about it?
What was the time commitment? How often did they travel?
Did they find a club they liked?
Club volleyball has been growing exponentially in Arizona. And when they say it's a "small world", it really is. Odds are you can find someone who's been part of the club experience.
So be sure to ask those questions and think about how club volleyball might work for your lifestyle.
Determining the age group a player falls into can be confusing since the age group is determined by their age as of July 1st - even though the season is not officially over until August 31st.
Here are the guidelines that have been set forth by USA Volleyball. If you are still confused, use the handy calculator to the right to determine the age group.
NOTE: These age definitions are used by domestic club programs and are NOT the same as the age definitions for the International and Domestic High Performance programs for 2024.
Honestly, this might be the most difficult part of the process.
Volleyball clubs are located all over Arizona.
1st ask yourself how far you're willing to drive 2-4 times a week for practice. Some teams practice 2 days a week. Some practice more. Practices usually depend on the level of the team and if the goal is to compete at Nationals.
The Arizona Region has a club directory for you to begin your search.
You can get an idea of the level of a club by checking out how teams finished at the end of the last season. Visit our Tournament Info page. You can click into “Open Division”, “Championship” or the "Club" division links to see how the teams placed.
Wanting to play at the elite level? Which Arizona teams made it to the Girls Junior National Championships? Visit our Nationals Archives to see historical data on final placements at the USAV’s highest levels. (In 2020, USAV Girls National Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19. You would need to go back to 2019 to see final rankings.)
Every volleyball club sets its own fees.
You should be able to see contract fees during the Open House period. Most certainly, fees should be viewable during the Tryouts Period.
1. Ask if the volleyball club has a contract.
2. Ask if the fees run through the Region season - which is usually May. Or if the fees run through the summer and Nationals. Teams wanting to compete in the summer months may add more expenses for additional weeks of training and tournament entry fees. Be sure to know this upfront.
3. Ask the volleyball club if the team you're interested in will be traveling. If so, you need to calculate travel expenses in addition to the club contract.
4. Uniform. Ask if you are responsible for purchasing shoes, knee pads, backpacks or anything in addition to the uniform. Ask what is included in your club fees.
5. Team bondings. Sometimes teams have team bondings which might include a few extra dollars for meals or gift exchanges. This may seem nominal. But these fees can add up. So ask in advance what you can expect to spend if you make a team.
Everyone participates in sports for different reasons.
My recommendation is to focus on the year ahead. Find the right fit for your child's athleticism and willingness to commit to a team. Parents' goals can be much different than what a teenager is able to - and - wanting to do.
Many years ago, I watched a father yelling at his 12-year-old daughter during a game. In the middle of a play, she stopped, turned around, and yelled at him to leave. That stuck in my head forever. I often wonder if the girl continued to play... or if she stopped because of the pressure.
Sports should be appropriately competitive for your child. If their athleticism doesn't match your expectations, then be mindful of natural limits. Coaches can pretty good at providing honest feedback. You just need to ask. I recommend asking for feedback from the club director.
Parents: Please check out our PARENTS page. You'll find lots of resources to help make the club volleyball experience a positive one for your student-athlete.