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Club Volleyball: The Preseason


Club tryouts are just around the corner. It is amazing how the preseason events are mushrooming in number. In the old days (e.g. 2000) and before, clubs didn’t have pre-tryouts or even open gyms. Though some parents would say that this is too much….well, whether or not this is too much, it is what it is. This blog entry will hopefully answer some questions about these preseason events and the “Big Show” aka The Tryout.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GOING TO A PRE-TRYOUT? There are several benefits of going to a club’s pre-tryout.

1. The player can compare their talents to other players. This may be an eye-opening experience for both the player and the parent. If the junior or senior high school has a highly competitive team then the pre-tryout for a highly competitive club team will not be daunting. However, if the player comes from a less competitive school, then seeing and experiencing them play with high caliber players will help to gauge the development of the player. Sometimes this is a taste of reality which some parents have a hard time swallowing. It is not fun to see your daughter compete at a higher level than her own talent level. You want to protect them from disappointment and hurt feelings. The benefit is that this can help determine if this particular club is the one for your daughter.

2. Meet the coaches. This is a great time to see how the coaches interact with the players. There are many different styles of coaches and each coach has their own way of doing things. Use this time to determine if the coach is the right fit for your daughter. No matter how great the Club is, if the coach isn’t the right fit for your daughter, then find another club. Otherwise, your family will dread the entire season. Remember, you are making an investment in your child’s future. Club volleyball can last for more than 6 months so take a careful look at the coach and make sure that he or she is who you want as someone who will have an influence (good or bad) on your daughter’s life. Is he or she a screamer? Is the coach the type who is a a commander of an army or the type who demands the best from their players and shows them how to do it.

I believe that the pre-tryouts are of great benefit to the families and highly encourage you to go to as many as you can attend.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE PARENT INFORMATION MEETING?

This is the most important meeting for the parent. At this meeting, you will hear a presentation by the directors of the club. They will go over fees, introduce coaches and talk about the over all schedule of events for the club, including the tournament schedule. These meetings give the club the opportunity to present themselves in the most favorable light. Therefore, watch to see how the directors set the tone of the meeting. Are they telling the parents that your family is lucky to be associated with this club and that there are plenty of other families that want your spot in case you don’t take it? Or, are they welcoming you to their family. Are they appreciative of your coming to their meeting? This overtone can speak a lot about the entire personality of the club.

Use the Parent Information Meeting to find out about when fees are to be paid. How much travel will there be? Find out the club rules on the players traveling as a team. Does the team require the players to stay together in the hotel rooms or do they stay with their parents? Will the club reserve a block of rooms for the parents? Are the costs of travel and hotel rooms included in the club fees? Will the club be paying for shoes or will each family pay for the player’s volleyball shoes? Will the club negotiate a discounted air fare for parents? Will the club enter a tournament that requires the team to play on Easter weekend? These are questions that you should ask someone if you believe that they were not adequately addressed by one of the directors.

The Parent Information Meeting is also the time to meet the coaches for the age group for which your daughter is trying out. Listen to the coach. Do they come across even tempered? Do they appear to be bored with being at the meeting (aka “I’m too good to be here” attitude)? Are they a screamer? Have they coached before? If so, where? What accreditations do they have? Does the coach make you feel as though you are important (because you are!!!). Is the coach immature in his or her actions? Does the coach communicate well? This is important. If a coach can’t communicate with you, how will she/he be able to communicate with your daughter? Find out if anyone has heard of this coach before. Check out her/his demeanor. Do they believe in winning at all costs?

These are important questions to ask the coach. Remember, the person who will be coaching your daughter will have a great deal of influence on her life.

I realize that you have a hectic schedule and all these meeting take up a lot of time. I believe it is well worth it to you and your family to take the time to attend as many of the pre-season events as you can in order for you to feel that you have done all that you can to put your daughter in the best position possible to succeed, not only at volleyball, but in this particular phase of her life.

In my next blog, I will discuss The Tryout. In future blogs I will discuss, the rules of the game, nutrition, ankle braces, stretching and some of my favorite tournaments (based upon the city’s environment, things to do between matches, snacks at the tournaments and eating establishments).


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