One of the resources that JVA brings to our members is advocacy. A conversation that is continually brought up by our Boys Club Directors and coaches is a dissatisfaction with the current split season for the high school boys club season. To address the need, we asked a small representation to meet with us and have a discussion.
On January 17, 2020 nine club directors from California, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Virginia met in Chicago to talk about boy’s club volleyball. The top two agenda items voted on were: Consolidating boys volleyball into one season and hosting a national annual meeting of Boys Club Directors.
Rationale to Consolidate Boys Club Season
The disadvantages of the current calendar were identified as follows:
- The vast majority of boys’ high school athletes go from a grueling spring high school season of five to six days a week training and competition, with the toughest competition coming at the end of the high school season, into the 2nd half of their club season with pre-national competitions followed by Nationals, also referred to as JO’s. Often, the boys enter their club season suffering from overuse injuries and not able to compete at the highest levels, sometimes not at all.
- There are often player conflicts in May and early June due to graduations, academic/school trips, etc.
- Clubs are seeing a drop off of participation after the high school season.
- The boys club season combined with their high school season currently runs from October into early July and leaves little break for summer activities.
- Boys who wish to participate in the USAV High Performance Program are not often at their peak level due to overuse injuries.
- The U-14’s are often non-engaged, training with little competition and lose interest during the 3-month (or longer) spring high school season.
The advantages of a consolidated season, starting in August and ending in mid-February were identified as follows:
- The season will allow for the boys to have tryouts immediately followed by their club season.
- September and October would provide time to develop the team and prepare for qualifiers with the opportunity to participate in regional league play and inter-regional events.
- November, December and early January allow for a wider time frame for qualifiers, which will allow for recovery time and training time between qualifiers.
- Late January to early February would provide training time for teams to prepare for JO’s and one or two pre-national events.
- President’s Day weekend is an ideal weekend to host the Boys Championships as it is a holiday weekend, which allows for less time out of school for the athletes and less days that coaches and families miss work.
- This schedule provides one continuous season of six and a half months, almost the same number of weeks that encompass the current split season.
- Athletes can participate in beach programs earlier, after their high school season.
- High Performance athletes can have time to recover and participate more fully.
- August – Tryouts
- September – League and Regional Play
- October – League, Regional and Inter-regional Play
- November – Qualifier(s)
- December – Qualifier(s), JVA National Tournament
- January – Qualifier(s) – preferably no later than mid-January
- February – President’s Day National Championship (Friday-Monday)
Below are some residual effects of the new schedule to club directors and families:
- Club Directors will benefit by having athletes in the gym in August and September, which is currently traditional down time.
- Families will be able to plan for their summer.
- Athletes have time off prior to intense HP Programs and more opportunity to attend college camps or take visits.
- Club Directors will have the opportunity in the pre and post qualifier season to host tournaments.
We understand that the three states with boys volleyball in the fall will be coming out of their high school season and head directly into the qualifier season. The two club directors representing Wisconsin and the East Coast recognized the issue but felt that this could have the positive potential of creating a sense of urgency in moving their high school season to spring to match up with the rest of the country. They also agreed that a consolidated season was better for the sport overall.
We have shared the outcome of the meeting with the USAV Junior Indoor Board Rep to begin the discussion. We understand that this change would require some qualifiers to adjust their dates and USAV will need to begin site selection for a President’s Day weekend championship. However, we hope with recognition of the vast benefits of the consolidated season, the groundwork could be laid this season and the new season could start as early as 2020-21. The Proposal has been received by Dave Gentile, Chair of the USAV Junior Assembly. Dave will bring it to the Assembly for review.
Related to events, a large conversation at the meeting was the USAV event housing policies. The current process was a huge pain point for the teams and their families. They were frustrated with the lack of communication, finding out hotel assignments at the last minute and expensive room rates. We will ask the USAV Event staff to look at a housing process that provides a high level of customer service that clubs want to use, rather than a forced “stay to play” policy. Another option suggested was to allow clubs a “buy out” to opt out of the forced housing program.
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For related reading on boys volleyball click HERE.
About the Author
Jenny has served as the JVA Executive Director since 2010. She co-founded Milwaukee Sting VBC in 1989 serving as director, head coach and board member through today. She served as Operations Director and then Executive Director of Badger Region Volleyball Association from 1998-2010. Jenny is passionate about junior volleyball and sees the JVA as a vehicle to improve the junior club experience for club directors, coaches and the club member families.