Tidewater Volleyball Association was founded in 1956 by a Board led by Harry Pincus Jr. TVA has been honored to have had Presidents that have been volleyball enthusiasts and are committed to growing the game. TVA began with Harry Pincus Jr’s passion and desire to find a way to help grow the sport.
In 1962, Pincus Jr. and a handful of others formed the non-profit (TVA) in the 1960s to assist the US Navy in hosting social events during US/UK war games downtimes and became a driving force and advocate to make volleyball a high school sport in both Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Tidewater Volleyball hosted adult tournaments inside various school gymnasiums locally and outdoors at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Hampton’s Buckroe Beach, and Norfolk’s Ocean View. Pincus served as TVA’s President for 18 years.
Funds were raised to open the first facility in 1993 under Mike Vanderslice, the first Executive Director of TVA. The facility was quickly outgrown in the first year, closed, and the second facility opened in 1994 – which TVA still calls home today. The facility then housed 140 indoor adult teams and began leagues on the oceanfront, which was first limited to 6 courts but grew to 20 courts during his stint. Also, with the help of Steve Halstead, Mark Lottenville, Ken Shibuya, and Steve Blevins TVA added Juniors Level teams and tournaments to their program.
The mid-late-2000’s brought a drastic decrease in demand as well as city facilitated competition in the form of a multi-sport “Fieldhouse” hosting a new juniors club and adult programs. Nearing bankruptcy in 2010, TVA’s board enlisted the help of competing juniors club Coastal Virginia VC to breathe new life through financing to the organization.
Will Stein, Coastal’s Club Director, was hired as Executive Director in 2013. He facilitated the TVA-Coastal partnership, which has led to many opportunities for both organizations – TVA recapturing the adult market and building an immense youth program without veering into the lanes of travel club, to which Coastal now navigates with three franchisees.
In 2018, Kristina Wojieck-Stein accepted the role as TVA’s Executive Director and Will Stein moved into the role as TVA Vice-President.
TVA prides itself to be a club for all players of all skill levels and the fact that “you are never too old to play volleyball.” Thus, the club fields beginner level teams from ages 7-17 years old. Tidewater Volleyball Association’s mission is to promote, in all ways possible, the development of volleyball in the Tidewater area.
Over the course of a year TVA serves 2,000 beach and indoor players. There are 200 coaches and players in the TVA Juniors Program, which is a grassroots club program. In addition to TVA Juniors, TVA has another 85 kids in the Spikin’ Tykes (4-7 years old) , Neptune (7-14 years old), and MS/HS Programs during the club season and serves about 300 kids in the summer programs. With the need to keep players on the court and to get to learn the game by playing, TVA has added an affordable Spring league to their lineup for all ages where the goal is to make sure all players play and learn to compete.
TVA’s Adult Beach Leagues and Tournaments fill the club’s five court facility from October to April all nights of the week. From May to September TVA takes its operations to the oceanfront, where they run 25 courts of leagues nightly and beach tournaments on weekends.
“We are excited to grow our beach program from camps and clinics to a full beach training and playing program called 757 Beach” shares Wojieck-Stein. “During the summer months, our plan with 757 Beach is to offer weekly skill work for 45 minutes. After skills work, the teams will participate in our summer beach leagues and have a coach to assist them in match play.”
From January through March, TVA hosts Beach Club Indoor Sand Tournaments where teams from surrounding clubs compete. 757 Beach will begin to participate in those events as well as a separate season.
Response to COVID-19
Even through the pandemic, the club found creative ways to offer a variety of volleyball programs to keep everyone playing. As soon as last May, TVA started hosting outdoor sessions, where players would bring their own ball, and work on ball control for 60 minutes, using creativity in every session with colorful chalk and music. Athletes spread out in the parking lot and were able to safely interact and enjoy some volleyball reps. TVA also added a Fall and Spring League to keep athletes on the court when school seasons were cancelled.
This past year has been challenging in so many ways for students navigating online school. So TVA created a Virtual School Competition. The competition lasts through two marking periods January through May. All teams are competing for the highest team GPA and the winners will get free smoothies for a year, provided by Smoothie Stop! Coaches and parents submit report cards after each marking period, which are kept confidential, and then an email with the standings is sent out.
“We have seen some girls go from a C to a B already!” exclaims Anna Allison, TVA Youth Coordinator. “It is a fun way to keep them engaged in school, especially during these times when they cannot physically be in school.”
Community Service and Leadership
TVA firmly believes that a community service component is a crucial part of club volleyball because of the many lives it positively impacts.
Since 1995, TVA has hosted the Special Olympics Virginia Volleyball Tournament. As a pro-bono tournament, TVA provided a safe and fun environment to several deserving athletes and kept true to their mission to promote, in all ways possible, the development of volleyball. TVA members volunteer to cheer, referee and line judge during this great event.
“Our club is currently volunteering with an organization called Mercy Chefs” shares Wojieck-Stein. “Originally, our 757 Challenge, which was a local scrimmage to warm-up for the club season, was supposed to have a community service component, where all participating clubs would volunteer or do a service project to a food bank or homeless shelter. However, the pandemic stopped our project in its tracks. So we got involved in Mercy Chefs, and it is a BLAST!”
TVA hosts Leadership Seminars before or after practice that last about 30-45minutes. The goal of these workshops is to help each athlete grow into a more confident young woman. The seminar topics will range from sportsmanship to growth mindset and will be age appropriate.
In addition to building leadership among their athletes, TVA also values coaching education and mentorship. The club director and program directors would host zoom calls with the coaches during the pandemic just to check-in. During the season there is a weekly email that includes practice plans, suggestions and ideas for teaching concepts and skills. The Youth Director is in constant communication with the coaches by sending a bi-weekly check-in email, sharing resources related to mental health, anti-bullying, and team bonding activities.
“As coaches we are educators first and foremost, and another important goal of TVA is to mentor and empower our youth through leadership seminars, volunteer work, while always emphasizing the importance of doing well in school” adds Wojieck-Stein.
Our future is to be creative in growing programs for all levels and ages to enjoy the sport of volleyball. TVA’s goal for the foreseeable future is to continue to offer affordable programs for all ages allowing our players to experience different levels of competition.
“Being a member of the JVA since 2007 has provided our organization with the networking to open the doors to many opportunities. We’ve learned from others, we’ve created with and for others, and I’ve been fortunate enough to serve on an education committee to serve others and interact with amazing individuals sharing the same goals” states Will Stein.
Tidewater Volleyball Association (Virginia Beach, VA) is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players, and fans.