The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down for junior volleyball club directors, owners and event operators. Endless adaptations were implemented into club and tournament operations, from cleaning protocols to running a youth league. Now that we have safely returned to training, hosting events, and in-person gatherings, let’s identify some of the new protocols and adaptations that may stick around permanently.

Club Operations

Virtual Meetings: Coaches and club staff connecting virtually to share information and touch base has become the norm. Conference calls are now Zoom Calls with video sharing.  Now that attendees can join from any location (with wifi), coach and staff meeting attendance has increased for organizations.  Clubs have taken it a step further and now host most, if not all, large parent and athlete meetings, such as recruiting info meetings, team parent and preseason club meetings online as well, to make it more convenient for the families.  Clubs with a central office in their facility have also become more flexible with employees working from home.

Uniform Ordering Online: We moved to strictly online ordering for our player apparel packs. I know this was already standard for some clubs, but something we changed during the pandemic and will be keeping.

Parent Spectators: Many clubs have continued to limit parent attendance at tryouts and larger club training sessions. Clubs with limited space have created sign-ups or assigned parents to certain days to spectate their athlete(s) at practice.

Cleaning Protocols: Sanitizing equipment and floors has become part of the routine for volleyball facility owners. The cleaning process has become more diligent and more frequent, and this is a trend we foresee to continue.

Tracking Attendance: For clubs who did not track their athlete attendance at practice prior to COVID, they are certainly doing it now. Taking player attendance is a trend that clubs continue to monitor much more.

Program Offerings: Many clubs got creative with programming in 2020 and created new sand and grass offerings. Hybrid programs were created as well, mixing indoor and outdoor training. Clubs have realized the value of keeping their athletes year round, and having a program for every type of volleyball athlete.

Event Operations

Cashless Admission: There is a significant movement to pre-paid tickets and not accepting cash at tournaments, which is being adopted more regularly.

Online Check-in: Tournament Directors are taking advantage of the online check-in feature in AES and TM2Sign, which allows team reps the opportunity to check their team’s in through the event software the week leading up to the event.

No Switching Sides: This rule change has become something that coaches, athletes and parents actually like. Items can remain at the team’s bench, parents don’t need to worry about finding a seat on the other side of the court, and time is saved between sets.

Time Between Playing Waves: Since it is common to have a morning wave and afternoon wave during pool play, many tournament hosts have added additional time between the two waves to reduce the number of people in the building at one time and to allow for cleaning before the next group gets started with their matches. Another option is allowing players into the tournament venue at 7:00am for the morning wave and fans cannot enter until 7:30am. This can be repeated for the afternoon wave.

Additional business education

This article was collaboration with JVA member clubs Michigan Elite (MI), Club Fusion (IL), The Academy Volleyball Club (IN), S3 Volleyball (GA), Dakine VBC (WA), Munciana Volleyball (IN) and JVA Director of Marketing, Education and Partner Development, Briana Schunzel.