Frequently Asked Questions About Volleyball Clubs And Tryouts
- Which try-outs should I attend, how do I tell the right club for me?
Learn about the clubs so you can target the clubs that suit your needs. All clubs require a significant commitment to volleyball and have substantial fees. There are significant differences in philosophy, cost and the number and type of tournaments they play. This may affect your choice of which tryouts to attend.
- What costs can I expect to pay?
Costs of practice locations; number, type and location of tournaments (weekly, or bi-monthly, one or two day, local or national); volunteer or paid staff and overhead expenses affect the fee. Club business type such as non-profit or not may also affect the fees in addition to how much and how many staff receive compensation. Some clubs may include virtually all costs in their dues. Others have additional or separate costs such as uniform fees, travel or club wear fees. Some clubs require participation in fundraising activities, others do not. Teams of younger players or ones that play only locally may pay only a few hundred dollars. Teams that play in many tournaments including major multi-day events requiring air travel and overnight lodging may cost over several thousand dollars for one season. Other clubs fall between. The club budget details should be available to you so you can see what your money is being spent on.
- How often are practices and when and where are they held?
All clubs hold practices a minimum of two to three times per week and attendance is expected. Most clubs practice at local schools. Practice location and time availability is limited and can't be adjusted to player needs.
- How long does the club season last?
Practices begin immediately after player selection in late November. Tournaments run from January through Memorial Day Weekend for the regular season. Some teams may choose to attend post season competition in late June or early July. Some post season events accept all teams while others like the JO National Championships requiring earning a bid through a qualifying event.
- How often are tournaments held?
Tournaments are offered every weekend. Each club selects a tournament mix. Clubs may choose one-day tournaments in the metro region and/or weekend tournaments in other areas. Clubs may play weekly, monthly, or something in between. Some tournaments require overnight travel. The tournaments mix affects the cost/time commitment required by the players, and the family.
- Can I see tournament schedules so I can see if that schedule will fit my family needs?
Most tournament dates are not posted or known at the time of tryouts. Typically a club sets up their play schedule after most tournaments are posted around mid-December and the expected availability of the selected players on each team is known.
- How are players selected?
Is it always the best players? Do I have a chance? Each club and coach has their own selection criteria. The better your skills the higher probability of your selection for any club. Skill may not be the only factor considered by a particular coach. Each team needs to be balanced in all positions, so the position that you play, or look able to play, may be a factor. If you are the third best player at tryouts, and also the third best setter, you may not be selected unless the coach feels that he/she can easily train you into another position. However, the next night you might be the best setter, either because you are having a better night or the others attended a different tryout. Some coaches may look for proven players, girls who played at the varsity level young; or CYA or SYA all stars. Other coaches may factor in general athleticism and movement on the court. For some, attitude and team focus as well as a clear enthusiasm for volleyball are an important part of the equation. In all cases, the coaches will consider you not just on your own but as part of the team they are creating as they go through the selection process. Tryouts are a learning experience. Attend several tryouts or clinics to increase your comfort with the process. You can turn down an offer if you're offered one, but you will be more comfortable with school and club tryouts next year.
- I hate to pay club dues to sit on the bench. Am I guaranteed a chance to play?
Most club rules state that although all the players get equal practice time and attention, no playing time is guaranteed. Within those rules, actual practice will vary with the coach. Some may make few substitutions while others may try to play most of their roster. Some clubs may set a goal of 25% minimum playing time for each player in tournament pool play. The club philosophy may be to select a well-matched team to ensure that all girls will get solid playing time. No club will offer a money back guarantee for playing time. Missing practices or tournaments may bench the player for at least part of the next tournament. The number of players selected may affect the amount of playing time. A team of 10 players may give more playing time than one with 12. Some teams offer training opportunities at a lower fee for alternates who will not play in tournaments. However, if players drop out or are injured, alternates may have an opportunity to compete for a mid-season vacancy. If you have multiple offers from clubs, your volleyball goals are important.
- The cost of club volleyball is high and the commitment level is too. What if I can't handle it and have to drop out. Can I just not finish paying my dues and/ or get a refund?
Most clubs require that your parents sign a contract when you accept a playing position in the club. That contract requires full payment regardless of your playing status. The contracts also specify that the parent will pay the cost of collecting the money that is owed. Some clubs specify that no refunds are available at all or unless the player is injured at a club practice or tournament. Even then, the refund is at the discretion of the club. The club calculates the cost to the players by dividing the total expenses by the number of players. Many costs are incurred that are not affected by the number of players and much of the money is obligated early in the season. Only if a player leaves within the first few days or weeks of practice will it be feasible to try to get a replacement player. Try to ensure that you can complete both your financial commitment and time commitment to the club before accepting a playing slot. If you have concerns, talk to the club coach or administrator. They may be able to help with payment plans or advice about time commitments to make your decision easier.
- All clubs have "club philosophies" that sound a lot alike. Does it make any difference?
Virtually every club has as written philosophy as well as their practical approach. All teams wish to develop to the highest level possible and in doing so develop winning teams. They have different approaches in how this is achieved, just like the varsity coach at your school may differ in attitude and approach from the one your friend plays for. One coach or program may be "all business" while another may take the approach that "if you don't love volleyball, there is no reason not to have fun and play it all day long". Some coaches may expect the girls to approach their club team as a pre-professional level undertaking while others may enjoy molding her skills and directing her energy and exuberance into being the best player she can be. Try to determine if the coach's style fits with the style you prefer. Talk to players and parents from the club, attend a club clinic session before tryouts, or ask the coach to describe their style.
- Some clubs say they are Elite and imply they get scholarships for their players. Do I need to play for that type of club to get a college scholarship?
No club can guarantee any player a college scholarship. However, the many players that earn volleyball athletic scholarships and play in college developed their skills and got exposure to and recruited by college coaches through club programs across the country. Club volleyball provides players the chance to develop their volleyball skills to the limit of their ability and dedication to improve. Participation in major inter-Regional events like the Northeast Qualifier and East Coast Championships provides more potential exposure to college coaches from across the country. Every club program has players that go on to play in college. Clubs and teams do vary in the amount they practice and the kind of players they select and recruit. Clubs do provide different levels of support to players seeking scholarships. Some offer recruiting information seminars, free videotaping, team information books, etc. There are many levels of college competition and many opportunities. The bottom line is that your individual grades, desire, ability and skill are what's most important in obtaining a college scholarship, not any particular club that you play for.
- My friend loves the club they played for last year. That must mean it is a good one for me too.
Not necessarily. Do ask everyone you know about the club they played for to get additional information to help you see where you fit best. Your friend may play for a coach who gives positive feedback and works with her on individual skills improvement. You may be looking for a coach who will push you to achieve your very best by demanding your hardest work. Ask your friend what she loved and hated about her coach and her club. You may see how you differ in your needs. Get as much information as possible before you make your decision about try-outs.
- I also play basketball and softball for my high school and plan to have a part in the spring musical. Will that be a problem?
Yes. Obviously, the practice schedule and tournament commitments are something you will have to look at very closely in choosing a club. Most clubs will ask you about other commitments when you try-out. Some clubs will not take players who are playing another sport because of the likely time conflicts. The club and coach as well as your skills and priorities will decide how much of an impact that will have on your selection. You also have a new group of teammates and a coach to consider. They are committed to volleyball and may have chosen the club over other activities. Your coach is devoting a tremendous amount of time at little or no pay. These people have made volleyball a top priority in their schedule. Erratic attendance at practice or tournaments affects the entire team, regardless of your individual ability. The other players have invested a lot of time and money and want to be successful.