I love volleyball, and being in the gym coaching is “my happy place” but I have to confess that this summer was way too short. This is the first year that our region, Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) held club tryouts for 15s-18s in July, before high school season started. Therefore it felt like there was not much of a break for players, as well as coaches and club directors!

As a smaller club, I know we do not have as much say (or sway) in these decisions, so of course we embrace the change and follow protocol.  I’m curious to see how it all works out this season, but here are my thoughts so far in hopes to start a discussion and share feedback:

CONS to holding 15s-18s club tryouts prior to HS season:

  1. Lack of a break for the athletes, both physically and mentally. They return home from their major end-of season volleyball championships in early July then have to try out and commit for next club season in a few weeks.  After that the athletes have high school tryouts in early August and jump right into high school season through mid-November. Players need a mental and physical break. 
  2. Additionally, many athletes change and improve during a high school season, which could lead to an opportunity to make a higher club team (If club tryouts occurred after high school season).
  3. Club directors and coaches do not get much of a breather or summer because July requires immediate preparation for tryouts. Essentially Club Directors need to prepare for tryouts in May: planning, pricing, scheduling, marketing, etc.

PROS to holding 15s-18s club tryouts in the summer:

  1. Less distraction for high school players during their school season. Since the athletes already know their upcoming club team there is reduced “scouting” by club coaches and pre-offers to players during their high school season. This allows players to focus on their high school team, rather than stress about which club and which team they will play for during club season.
  2. Club Directors and Admins have more time to enter rosters, tournaments, order uniforms, set up billing, and other important tasks leading up to season rather than the previously short-term crunch between November tryouts and early December start of tournaments.
  3. Club dues can be spread out over a longer period of time, slightly reducing monthly payment amounts.

I, personally, feel that July really should be a break from the pressure of competition and tryouts, as it’s important to re-charge by doing other activities or simply taking a break altogether.  If the trend is toward volleyball becoming a year-round sport, then we need to be very diligent about overuse and injury prevention in order to keep everyone healthy, excited and inspired all year long.

When are 15s-18s tryouts in YOUR region? What do you think about this topic? Share your opinion in the discussion forum below or on JVA’s FaceBook page.

La Jolla Volleyball Club (CA) is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association. To learn more about the JVA click HERE.

For related reading for volleyball coaches click HERE.

About the Author

Barb Birnbaum is the Club Director and Founder of La Jolla Volleyball Club, a JVA member club in La Jolla, CA. She was the Director of Wind n’ Sea Volleyball Club for two years before the 12U age division (5 teams) was canceled in Fall 2011. In response, she quickly organized local gym time, coaches and logistics to continue to provide quality volleyball to youth volleyball players in the La Jolla community.  Without missing a season, girls volleyball continued in the La Jolla community with La Jolla Volleyball for the Spring 2012 indoor season.