The 2020 season marked High Performance STL’s 20th season. Beginning in 2000 the club was founded as a boy’s club by a group of likeminded individuals that all had common values and goals. They had a deep passion for the sport of volleyball and just so happened to all come from the same high school. The club started with three teams and a goal to show boys in the Gateway Region that high level goals were not just possible, but attainable. The cohesiveness of the club and its founders created an alumni base over the years that fervently shared those same beliefs. Many of those alumni were compelled to return to the club and coach to be a part of strengthening those values. Because of that, the club grew at a steady rate and found themselves with nearly 20 boy’s teams in 2008.
In 2009, the club decided it wanted to provide that same level of opportunity to the female athletes in the region. Today High Performance has nearly 100 boys and girl’s teams. Those teams exist at the main campus along with two satellite locations in the Southern County of St. Louis, as well as in Southwest Illinois. High Performance teams offer many levels of play from beginner to elite, from U8 through U18, and include beach volleyball that began in 2015. Between the boys and the girls, the club has won several National Championships, as well as dozens of medals in many divisions at indoor National Championship events as well as outdoor. HP has seen almost 500 athletes go on to play collegiate volleyball, with dozens of those athletes going on to play professionally and producing three USA National Team members. Development and improvement continue to be the organization’s driving goals, while instilling a passion for the sport remain at its core.
1. 2020 marks HP’s 20th season
2. All 6 founding members were a part of the 18-time state champion St. John Vianney Golden Griffins.
3. All 6 founders coach for the club today
4. 40% of the coaching staff are alumni of the club
5. 50+ coaches have coached or are currently coaching collegiately
6. 50% of the program directors have served in the United States Military
3 Locations: St. Louis, Illinois, and South
The High Performance – STL girls program strives to provide opportunities for all female athletes in the St. Louis area to receive the highest level of volleyball training possible. The club wants to be able to foster the dreams of young female athletes by pushing them to train with the best coaches and players and to compete against the best teams in the country. HPSTL believes that they not only foster the achievement of volleyball dreams in their program, but by pushing their athletes to their competitive limits, they help them achieve greatness off the court as well.
Promoting boys’ volleyball throughout the nation has been a core driver for the club. HiP is the premier boys’ volleyball program in the state of Missouri and one of the 10 premier clubs in the nation. The boys program prides itself on teaching its athletes to work as hard as they can every time they step on the volleyball court and to play for each other. The focus is to compete at the highest level and mold the athletes into great young men on and off the court. The history of the boy’s program is special and the relationships that have been formed over the years amongst the coaching staff, alumni and families has made it become a true family.
The Illinois program developed due to a need to offer a professional, organized, and consistent organization to elite volleyball athletes in Southwestern Illinois. Just across the river from St. Louis Missouri, this program has grown in 4 short seasons to over 25 teams, with a beach, and tots program. This location offers HP athletes a chance to play at the highest level without a lengthy drive across the river to Missouri.
The High Performance South program is in its inaugural season in 2020. South was created to give players in the South St. Louis area the opportunity be a part of High Performance receiving the coaching and training that HP is known for all while being closer to home. This season South had 14 teams, and a 10U program, with big plans on growth in the younger age groups this coming season.
The Outdoor Program includes competition and instruction that varies from indoor volleyball. HP believes the absolute best way to improve as an indoor volleyball player is to play doubles beach volleyball. That said the club finds that once their athletes find the beach game, they fall in love with it, and crave playing it more than indoor! Increased contacts on the beach create more opportunities to fine tune their skills, push their comfort zone, and encourage growth. Battling the outdoor elements also creates a heightened sense of court awareness as well instills toughness.
The club offers an Outdoor Extension Program to its indoor athletes to introduce them to the outdoor game after their indoor season has ended, as such the club is extending their seasons via the outdoor game. The game of beach volleyball has grown exponentially within the past few years. Because of this the club is starting to see indoor athletes begin to dedicate more time to the beach game and choose it over the indoor game.
“With this in mind we were excited to have offered an indoor/beach hybrid team during the 2020 season for those athletes that wanted to dedicate more time to beach, while not giving up their indoor seasons” shares High Performance Club Director Scott Mebruer.
HP’s youth program is offered to children between the kindergarten and 4th grade age group. Here, the children receive developmental instructions in a fun, exciting and high paced atmosphere. HP believes the future of volleyball starts with these young ones and the club finds it extremely important to put an emphasis on its youth program. This year the club expanded the competitive team offerings to the U9’s age group, while fielding U8 beginner teams for the first time. It is the hope of the club to expand opportunities for its youth ages to play the sport at younger and younger ages.
Learning Opportunities for Coaches
HP offers Coaches Clinics and Virtual Online sessions for continued learning opportunities for their coaching staff. The Virtual Online sessions are with college coaches, professional athletes, and sports psychology coaches. Both offerings offer development opportunities to improve in areas of practice and seasonal planning, technical coaching, in game strategy, facilitating a growth mindset, and communication.
“We take a process over results approach to training our coaches. If you respect that approach the results will come. By doing this we also believe the results are more attainable, but more importantly sustainable” adds Mebruer.
HPSTL’s DIG It! Program inspires urban girls to lead healthy, confident lives through an after-school program that integrates an activity-centered curriculum with volleyball instruction. Many urban schools in St. Louis lack quality after-school programming for young girls. Girls in these schools need more opportunities that promote physical activity and wellness education for females.
HP teams oftentimes participate in various types of community service. The older teams every year give back and assist with our DIG It! Program as well as the Youth Program. In addition to that some teams take on community minded efforts such as supporting food banks, retirement homes, and special needs programs. This year specifically many teams assisted the Ronald McDonald House to prepare meals for families with children receiving treatment for illness. The club also had teams lay wreaths at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery during the holidays to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Plans for the future
Based on state and local guidance it is HP’s hope to reopen activities on July 1st for all our locations. The club is still at the mercy of what will be allowable, but the club believes that things are lining up for a safe return in early July. Safety is the club’s number one concern.
“Making sure we follow CDC, state and local guidelines is an undertaking, but something we understand is vitally important to do the right way‘ states Mebruer. “We continue to use all our resources to reopen in a gradual and thoughtful phased approach to manage the risk in a responsible way. We continue to learn from the volleyball community that has opened before us and will be in a great place when our doors open. We understand the new normal is something we all must adapt to, and we have openly welcomed the challenge.”
Plans to take training virtually
Habits have changed during this time, and what we thought we would never need to do is becoming something we cannot live without. The future is moving toward virtual training to be used most certainly in a supplemental way, but it can also exist separately. As more and more entities move online, the offering will be enhanced and will become an aid to volleyball training in the traditional sense. HP is excited to add this supplemental training for their athletes in the coming season as an added value to their members.
Defining one’s culture can be something difficult to explain or put into words as we are all so used to just living it. High Performance has taken the time this season to truly define what the club’s culture is and what it will be many years to come.
“Formalizing the club culture this season may be the most important thing we have done this year” explains Mebruer. “The formalization allows the club to be accountable to it, while attracting those of like minds that can now see what we believe in. We believe in, Integrity, Commitment, Respect, Community, Development, Excellence, Passion and Service. We believe that these values are what truly set us apart from our competitors and is what makes our coaches and athletes experience something bigger than themselves.”
High Performance St. Louis (St. Louis, MO) is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players, and fans.