We are all anticipating that this club season will look different from years past. Typically, club directors map out a 6-8 month club season with 8-12 tournaments on the calendar by the end of September. However, there is still uncertainty about what the event season will look like this winter and spring, so we can expect to modify how our teams will compete.  Club Directors may hold off on publishing a schedule until November or December, and only schedule a few months out at a time. In addition, some states moved the high school volleyball season to the spring, opening the door for clubs to hold early tryouts, then train and compete in the fall.

Let’s take a look at some considerations for modified fall and winter competitive opportunities for your club teams.

#1  4 Team Pool Play Date
There are a few different ways to set up four team pools. For an 8 team bracket you will need four courts. Every team plays 3 matches. A team plays first and second match, then takes a quick break and plays the third. You can plan for a 4.5 hour period on four courts with three waves in one day.

3 Playing Waves:

If you have four team pools on 2 courts, each team gets 3 matches within 3 hours, then another wave comes in.

Court 1:
1 vs 2
2 vs 3
1 vs 3

Court 2:
3 vs 4
1 vs 4
2 vs 4

The other option would be the classic four team pool playdate on one court over 6 hours.

#2  3 Team Pool Play Date
9 Team Format on 3 courts:
8:00am, 9:00am, 10:00am matches
11:00-1130am Break with no matches and no entry
12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm second wave of matches
3:00-3:30pm Break with no matches and no entry
Option to end the day, add third wave or run a 6 team playoff at 4:00pm, 5:00pm, & finals or third match at 6:00pm
The 3 bottom teams would play another pool

#3 Limit travel so competition is vs clubs within 2-3 hours.
In this scenario there will be no overnight travel involved. Start by reaching out to surrounding clubs and discussing what their plans are for this season. There are many pockets of the country that have jumped on this opportunity and created a regional power league schedule or competitive pod for the short term.  This is an important time to stay connected with other clubs. Clubs need each other to survive.

Regional level teams typically compete in one day local tournaments so there will not be much of a change for them. The main adjustment will be for the national level teams that typically have two to three flights each season and compete in two to three day tournaments every other weekend.  Club Directors need to get creative and find matched competition for their top teams.

#4 No Officiating Team
Clubs can consider removing the officiating team so matches are either self-officiated or they have a single paid official. If you decide to self officiate, the coach can use an electronic whistle. Coaches can help keep track of the score, or utilize a player on the bench to flip the score. Athletes/coaches can call their own net violations, touches, doubles, etc. This is an opportunity for coaches to lead by example and teach their athletes about respecting the game and the opponents.

#5 Limited or no spectators. Offer Live Streaming
If you are concerned about the number of people in the facility, begin by not allowing spectators to attend. You can look into setting up a live stream account with devices on each court. Create a watch party in the parking lot for parents to space out, bring food and drinks and watch the teams compete. You can even invite a food truck to come out for a few hours if your facility does not have a restaurant or concession stand. The live streaming opportunity will also be beneficial for college coaches. The athletes can send the college coach the livestream information and their schedule for that day.

If you need more space to allow for spectators, look into additional facilities. Instead of using two facilities for events, you might need to space out to four or five facilities.

#6 À La Carte Tournament Dues
Upfront club dues will be used to cover the fixed costs of club volleyball such as training, membership for AAU or USAV, insurance, uniforms, administrative costs, etc.  Everything else such as events and travel costs (if you team travel) will be set up à la carte. You will have to communicate a Base Fee plus additional add-ons for your teams. Once a team commits to attending an event, the entry fee will be divided by the number of players on the team and added to the player’s upcoming club dues.

#7 No competition. Focus on training and keeping the cost low.
Clubs that have access to a facility can offer quality training opportunities for their teams. Create training pods where the same 10-20 athletes stay together for training sessions and offer a competitive outlet through in-house scrimmages, create a Fantasy Draft league, or internal power league to keep it fun and challenging. By training and competing in your own building with your club’s own teams for the first month or two you can keep the costs low for your families.

Since it is difficult to predict where we will be 4-6 months from now,  we suggest having three to four different plans for different scenarios that may happen come winter. We’ve become accustomed to adapting, and over communicating with our members. We need to rely on leading with these two actions as we head into the 2020-2021 season.

View additional resources for running a tournament.

View additional COVID-19 club resources.