We have tried to provide answers to common questions about club volleyball in general, MVSA's club program, and other topics below. Please read through all the questions/answers and feel free to contact us if you still have questions.
What is the difference between recreational leagues and club volleyball?
Some recreational programs are only designed to be an introduction to volleyball. Other recreational programs, like the one at MVSA which has multiple levels of competition, can either be an introduction or a great way to stay fresh and build new skills. In either case, recreational programs tend to be low cost and low commitment. You can learn a lot (and have a lot of fun) in a quality recreational league, but if you have decided you really enjoy volleyball and want to take your skills to the next level, then club volleyball would be the logical next step. Club volleyball, like other "travel" sports, is more intensive in its training and competition. It is also a larger commitment with a higher cost.
How long does the club season last? Practices begin immediately after player selection in early/mid November. Tournaments run from January through the end of May (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 USAV National Championships require earning a bid through a qualifying event.
How often are practices and when and where are they held?
Teams practice two to three times a week using facilities in the Montgomery Village area. Please check our practice schedule page for more details. The schedule can change from year to year so if the page shows last season's schedule please use it as a rough guide for what to expect.
All clubs have "club philosophies" that sound a lot alike. Does it make any difference?
Virtually every club has a written philosophy detailing their wish to develop their players to the highest level possible, and in doing so, create winning teams. Most clubs differ on how this is achieved though. Dig further than the club's philosophy or high level mission statement. Look at the details of how the club operates and decide for yourself whether the club's philosophy fits your own.
My friend loves the club they played for last year. That must mean it is a good one for me too. Right? Not necessarily. Please do ask everyone you know for recommendations but also understand that your friend's experience may be very different from your own, even at the same club with the same coach. Your friend may need 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 absolute best. Ask your friend what she liked/disliked about her coach and her club. Then use that information along with your own unique set of priorities/needs to decide for yourself.
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 play in college?
No volleyball club can guarantee a player a college scholarship. However, the vast majority of players that do earn volleyball athletic scholarships and play in college developed their skills and received exposure to college coaches through a quality club program.
Many clubs, like MVSA, participate in major cross-regional events like the Northeast Qualifier and East Coast Championships that can provide potential exposure to college coaches, but understand that all quality clubs have players that go on to play in college. Clubs do provide different levels of support to players seeking scholarships, but your individual grades, desire, ability, and skill are what's most important in obtaining a college scholarship, not the particular club that you play for.
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?
MVSA fully supports its players being involved in other activities outside of volleyball. We believe the best student athletes are well rounded individuals with a diverse set of interests and activities. We further believe that athletes that participate in multiple sports end up better in the long run.
There are limits though. Your coach and your teammates are making a commitment to the team and it is perfectly reasonable for them to expect the same level of commitment from you. If your activities outside of volleyball will cause you to miss a number of practices and/or tournaments then you might want to rethink your involvement in club volleyball or work harder to find a scheduling arrangement that works.
I hate to pay a lot of money just to sit on the bench. Am I guaranteed a chance to play?
Most clubs make no specific guarantees regarding playing time in matches. MVSA, on the other hand, does guarantee you a minimum of 25% of all points played in tournament pool matches. We believe that players improve by playing, not by standing around and watching their teammates or taking stats.
Be aware that the number of players selected per team can have a large impact on your playing time. MVSA tries to limit their team size to 10 players for this very reason. Some clubs do not. Be sure you understand the playing time policies for any of the clubs you are looking at.
Questions About Cost
What can I expect to pay for club volleyball?
We have a detailed writeup regarding costs on our club fees page. Beyond the advertised team fee, MVSA will not ask you for more money during the course of the regular season. There are no additional expenses or hidden fees. Be aware, that is not true for all clubs.
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?
Any refund is at the discretion of the club depending on the circumstances and timing. Try to ensure that you can complete both your financial and time commitments 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.
Questions About Tournaments
How many tournaments do teams go to?
The number of tournaments attended varies from age group to age group and team to team. Generally speaking, younger teams attend fewer tournaments and older teams attend more. Older teams also attend more overnight tournaments. Please see the team pages for your age group to see their schedules for the current/previous season. That will hopefully give you a good idea of what to expect.
Do you publish team tournament schedules prior to tryouts? I want to see if the schedule will fit my family's 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.
If you are looking at another club and they have the entire tournament schedule for the coming season posted before tryouts, then all of the tournaments they are attending are large regional/national tournaments whose dates are normally set far in advance. If you go with one of these clubs, you can expect to pay large travel costs that are very likely not included in the advertised club fee. There is plenty of high quality competition in and around the DC Metro area. Excessive travel is not done in service of the players.
MVSA believes that a mix of local and regional/national events provides the best balance between cost for families and competition level/exposure for players.
How long do tournaments typically last?
Local club tournaments occur on Saturdays or Sundays and usually are all day events. Your coach will likely ask you to show up at the tournament site between 7 and 8am, and the tournament won't end until some time between 5 and 7pm.
Multi-day tournaments are typically 2-3 days in length and often occur over long weekends. Their schedules vary greatly depending on the tournament format but since these are often overnight tournaments (involving hotel stays) scheduling specifics are less important.
Why are tournaments so long? If your only experience with volleyball has been in a recreational setting, then club volleyball tournaments can be a bit of a shock at first. However, you get used to it quickly. Players enjoy the format because they have more opportunities to develop and improve their skills while building closer ties with their teammates. Parents learn to bring a book.
Questions About Tryouts
Should I tryout for multiple clubs?
Only you can decide if trying out for multiple clubs is right for you. Do your research! If multiple clubs meet your personal criteria (philosophy, tournaments, cost, etc.) then you may want to try out for multiple so you can decide which club is really the best fit. If you decide to try out for multiple clubs, you may want to limit the number to 2-3. Tryouts can be intense (both physically and mentally) and you only have so much energy to go around. If you spread yourself too thin you may end up performing more poorly than if you had limited yourself.
If you have never played club volleyball before, trying out for multiple clubs can be a wise strategy. It will give you first hand experience with how each club operates, and could potentially provide backup options in the event that your preferred club does not make you a team offer.
I want to try out for multiple clubs but the tryouts are all on the same date. Why is that?
In order to ensure that all clubs are operating on an even playing field, the Chesapeake region (CHRVA) defines a multi-day window (called the open tryout period) during which tryouts can occur for select age groups. As a result, there is a physical limit to the days that tryouts can be scheduled on and conflicts between clubs will naturally occur.
Which age group should I try out for? Can I try out for multiple age groups?
MVSA believes that most athletes are best served trying out for a single age group based on their age and/or grade. Please see our tryout information page for all the details on determining your age group as defined by USAV, along with other related considerations. If, after reading all of the information on the tryout information page you still have questions, feel free to contact us.
While you may be able to try out for multiple age groups (please check the specific rules for the current year), there really are some practical limits that you need to understand before choosing to do this. First, just as with trying out for multiple clubs (see "Should I tryout for multiple clubs?" above) there is a limit to the amount of energy you have. Use it wisely. Even if you do try out at two different age groups, and are skilled enough to receive an offer, MVSA will only make a single team offer, not an offer at each age group.
MVSA tryouts are on two different days, which day should I attend?
MVSA tryouts are two-day events. While you don't have to attend both days of your tryout, it is encouraged because you will have a better chance to make a team if you do.
If tryouts are two days, are any cuts made after the first day?
Team selections are only made after the second day of tryouts and there are no cuts performed along the way. However, for age groups with a high number of registered athletes, MVSA reserves the right to inform athletes with a low likelihood of making a team, that they may be better served by looking elsewhere after the first day.
While MVSA would love to offer everyone who comes to tryouts a spot on a team, we have a limited number of spots available and we must make hard decisions regarding who to take. More than anything, we want you to play volleyball, even if it isn't with MVSA.
I can't attend both days. What should I do?
While we encourage everyone to attend both days of tryouts, we understand that not everyone will be able to do so. If you can only attend the first day of tryouts, then please let one of the coaches on-site know that you will not be coming back for the second day. This will allow them to focus a little more on you that day. If you can only attend the second day of tryouts, then we will figure that out ourselves when you don't show up the first day.
New starting in 2022-23: We ask which day(s) you plan on attending during tryout registration so there is no longer a need to inform a coach on-site. It isn't a bad idea to still do it though.
How are players selected? Is it always the best players? Do I have a chance? Each coach has their own selection criteria. The better your skills the higher the probability of your selection for any team, but skill is not the only factor involved. Each team needs to be balanced in all positions, so the position that you play, or look able to play, will be a factor. Some coaches may look for proven players. For others, attitude and team focus as well as a clear enthusiasm for volleyball may be more important. 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.
What is the timeline for team offers?
Coaches send out their team offers via email on Sunday evening or early Monday (tryouts always end on Sunday) . If you haven't received an offer by Monday evening, then you were not part of the initial set of team offers. There is always some movement in the team rosters since not everyone will accept their offer. That means there is still a possibility that you might hear from a coach later in the week, but it is always hard to predict how things might play out as it varies from year to year.
Please note, we never send you an email saying you did not make a team. You will only receive an email from us if we are making a team offer.
Some clubs make team offers *at* tryouts. Why doesn't MVSA do that?
MVSA takes team selection very seriously. When building their teams, our coaches rely on the input of multiple raters, data analysis, and countless conversations. It is a process that takes time and careful consideration. We think a better question is how can other clubs possibly make team offers at tryouts and still do the process justice? The sad reality in some cases is that they have already built teams before tryouts even started. We don't think that is fair or honest.
I received a team offer from MVSA, do I have to accept it right away?
You are not obligated to accept or decline an offer from any club until the end of the open tryout period. This reflects a policy for all participants in the Chesapeake Region (CHRVA). However, both MVSA and the players who are on our waitlist, appreciate players to notify us as soon as they have made a decision to accept or decline an offer rather than wait until the last minute.
I received a verbal offer from another club before tryouts. Is it binding?
Offers of any kind made prior to the open tryout period are a violation of region rules and should be a red flag for you regarding the club you are dealing with. In addition, during the open tryout period, all offers must be in writing (print or email) to be binding. Verbal offers are not binding on the athlete or the club. Tread lightly when dealing with any club that does not operate according to region rules.
I received an offer for MVSA's second/third team and an offer for the first team at another club. Should I go to the other club?
Not necessarily. Our third teams often out-perform the first teams from other clubs. To check team rankings go to https://www.advancedeventsystems.com/rankings, select “Female”, and then choose a division (age group). On the resulting "Power Rankings" page select “Chesapeake (CH)” as the region and an appropriate "historical season" (i.e., 2022-2023). You can compare the performance of MVSA teams to other clubs you are considering. But don't just look at team performance. Look at cost, number of tournaments played, how many players they have per team, playing time guarantees, etc. There are many questions you need to ask yourself beyond the team number.
I received an offer from another club and they told me I had to accept it before I leave tryouts or it will be withdrawn. Can they do that?
Any offer made during the open tryout period must be honored up until the end of the open tryout period. Verbal offers or pressure to accept an offer right away are violations of region rules and should be an immediate red flag. Be aware, offers made after the open tryout period are not required to have a grace/waiting period. Do your research and go into any tryout prepared.
We are aware of some clubs that make offers at tryouts and in turn ask you to sign an "acknowledgement" of the offer before leaving. Do not confuse your acknowledgement with actual acceptance of the offer. Be sure to ask lots of questions and understand what you are signing before you sign. Also, asking a player to sign anything without their parent or guardian present should be a major red flag regarding how a club operates.
I won't be able to make either day of my tryouts. Can I still make a team? Are there makeup tryout dates? If you do not attend either day of your tryouts then you will not make a team. Coaches will not pick a player they have never seen play. MVSA does not have makeup tryouts.