There are many factors that multi-sport athletes look for when choosing a volleyball club. Many clubs have found ways to appeal to the multi-sport athlete, and VCNebraska is one of them. Based on the club’s demographics, Club Director Maggie Griffin made some adjustments in order to attract multi-sport athletes to the club.
- 40% compete in at least one other sport (including basketball, soccer, track, softball, swimming, dance)
- This does not include extracurricular activities like band, NHS, show choir, etc. Only takes into account physical activities.
- Of the 40%, 13% participate in more than two sports.
14 and Under
- 48% compete in at least one other sport (including basketball, soccer, track, softball, swimming, dance)\
- Of the 48%, 16% participate in more than two sports.
There are many positives to being a multi-sport athlete, and the positives can have a direct influence on your club, such as fewer overuse injuries, less opportunity for emotional burn-out and exposure to different roles. Multi-sport athletes have an opportunity to become a better competitor and all-around athlete, the kind that coaches value because they are flexible, multi-dimensional, exposed to many situations, not to mention they are coachable.
Here are some ways to attract the multi-sport athletes to your club:
- MULTIPLE COMMITMENT LEVELS / LOWER COST OPTIONS
One solution at the younger ages is to offer multiple commitment levels. Cost can be cut by entering local tournaments, lowering travel expenses. Having shorter or less frequent practices can be another avenue to reducing the cost of a club season. Paying for club sports can add up for parents, especially if their kids are involved in several athletic programs. It’s important to make it affordable and worth the cost to pay for club volleyball along with other club or high school sports.
At VCN we offer two different programs for our 9th grade and under athletes. Our VCN Train and Play Teams only do local tournaments and have a maximum of 2 practices a week. Our High School Prep Program may travel further as well as have longer and more frequent practices. Both teams get the same training but at different commitment levels.
When deciding what club to compete for, multi-sport athletes have to strongly consider the schedule. It’s important for it to be feasible for the athlete to make it to the practices and competitions of different teams during the same season. Scheduling conflicts are inevitable, but to make it work, it needs to be feasible.
The first way VCN approaches this issue is by offering three practices each week consisting of two week day practices and one weekend practice. This allows for players to have flexibility to miss a practice and not fall too far behind. We create the practice and competition schedule before the season so that players know when conflicts will occur and a compromise can be made ahead of time.
We work with our athletes to compromise at different times in the season. The main sport that conflicts with club volleyball in Nebraska is basketball. Early in the season we allow players to miss practice to prepare for an in-season or post-season basketball game. The athletes compromise by committing to making volleyball the priority at the end of the season or in preparation for big club tournaments. We also offer times to make up practices so kids don’t fall behind. While this asks for planning ahead and great communication, it is impressive to see how young athletes quickly learn these time management and communication skills.
We believe kids should participate in multiple sports while they are young. It encourages them to live a balanced life, all while dealing to juggle school, sports, and their social lives. Believe it or not, playing multiple sports can actually help players from a physical standpoint as well.
For related reading for club directors click here.
About the Author
Maggie Griffin is the Club Director and Owner of VCNebraska, a JVA member club in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is a 3 year letter winner for the University of Nebraska Women’s Volleyball program. Maggie competed for 9 years for Sports Performance volleyball club.