Is Club Volleyball Worth the Cost?
When a child shows athletic aptitude, parents often face a dilemma. You need to decide whether or not to invest time and money in a select sports program. For promising volleyball players, parents often ask: "Is Club Volleyball Worth the Cost?"
For many talented athletes, the additional challenge and competition levels offered by club volleyball can make sense. But you have to go into any program with realistic expectations and goals. We'll review some key facts about club volleyball to help you make the best decision for your young athlete.
What to Think About When Exploring Club Volleyball
Many kids don't have exposure to volleyball until middle school. Typically, they'll first learn about the sport in gym class, and that may lead them to a recreational program. Often, schools don't have volleyball teams until 7th and 8th grade, so the opportunity for competition is limited.
A club volleyball team can be an avenue for promising players to raise their game. Clubs offer quality coaching, consistent practices, and competitive opportunities. Often, club teams travel to regional and state tournaments, or even national ones, to expose players to higher levels of competition.
If your young athlete has any ambition to play at a high school level, having club experience can be valuable. Most often, many athletes try out for a limited number of spots on school teams. Being cut can be discouraging and cause a promising player to abandon the sport. But club experience can give volleyball players an edge during school tryouts.
Keep in mind, however, that club teams focus on putting their best players into matches. After all, clubs want to win. As a result, some club team members end up with limited competitive playing time. And that can be frustrating for parents and athletes and make them wonder if club volleyball is worth the money.
It's important to clarify your goals upfront when considering a club team. Do you want to be part of a winning program, even if that means sitting on the sidelines sometimes? Or do you want as much playing time as possible? For some athletes, participating in several sessions of recreational volleyball may be a better (and more cost-effective) fit if more playing time is a primary goal.
It's important to clarify your goals upfront when considering a club team. Do you want to be part of a winning program, even if that means sitting on the sidelines sometimes?
What About Playing Volleyball in College?
If your young athlete has the elite skills to play in college, then joining a club team is a must. Remember, however, that playing at a club level doesn't mean an athlete is guaranteed an athletic scholarship.
Consider these recent statistics: There are over 500,000 student volleyball players on high school teams. Of those players, around 1% make it on to an NCAA Division I team in college. Just one out of 90 high school volley players ends up on a Division I team.
Overall, those aren't great odds. But for stellar athletes, club volleyball is the place to be.
Experts recommend that players with college potential join on club team at age 13. Why is that helpful? Most volleyball college recruiters start seriously looking at players when they are 16 years old but may keep their eye on 14 and 15-year-old standouts. And college coaches are most likely to visit national tournaments, but very rarely attend high school games to scout players.
So if your young athlete has a realistic shot at college-level volleyball play, definitely find a club team. Start at the club level in middle school and stick it out. That approach is your athlete's best path to playing in college.
Even if college-level play isn't in your athlete's sights, playing on a club team can be beneficial. Dedicated athletes learn to set goals, collaborate as a team, and handle wins and losses with grace. All those skills are valuable in life, even if they never play volleyball again after their last club or high school season.
Choosing the Right Club Volleyball Program
Let's say you've decided that a club volleyball program is the right choice. Now it's time to take a close look at clubs in your area to choose the best fit for your young athlete. Be sure to visit facilities and meet with coaches. While a winning record can be impressive, remember that the spirit and mindset of the team will have a big impact on your player's experience.
Create a list of questions and bring them with you when you visit clubs. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What age levels are available, and how many teams do you have at each?
- How do you select your players?
- What is your club philosophy? Do you care about winning or giving every athlete a chance to play?
- Who are the coaches, and what are their backgrounds?
- What are your fees? What is included in your fees--and what is not included?
- How often do you practice? Are all practices mandatory?
- How far do you travel for tournaments?
- How long is your season?
After gathering information from multiple clubs, you may want to sit down with your family to review your options. Consider your athlete's goals, along with your family's finances and other commitments. You may want to narrow options down to a few top choices and attend tryouts. With this approach, you can know you've done your homework and found the best fit possible for your young athlete.
While a winning record can be impressive, remember that the spirit and mindset of the team will have a big impact on your player's experience
Is Club Volleyball Worth the Cost? It Depends.
Playing club volleyball isn't for everyone. But athletes that aim to play at a high school or college level are good candidates for club teams.
In fact, if your young athlete does have the potential for college play, being on a club team is imperative. College coaches and recruiters start looking at volleyball players in the early high school years--and may even make scholarship offers to 16-year-olds. For these elite athletes, the financial reward of gaining a scholarship easily offsets the cost of club play.
But very few high school athletes do play volleyball in college. For these players, the decision to join a club team is more complicated. Is it worthwhile to invest in volleyball just to play in high school? That's a very personal decision. For some families and athletes, the time and cost involved club play makes sense. Others may decide against club volleyball.
No matter your family's choice, volleyball is an enjoyable sport--and healthy lifelong pursuit. Adult volleyball leagues are everywhere and a great source of fun and camaraderie for many people. Getting involved at volleyball at any level of play can introduce your young athletes to a sport they may love for the rest of their lives.
Thinking About Starting Your Own Club Volleyball Program?
Check out our article on "How Much Does it Cost to Start a Volleyball Club" to learn some of our top tips.
Need Help Getting Started?
At Jersey Watch we help volleyball clubs manage their websites, registration, online payments, and communication. If you’d like to learn more or get started you can visit our website at www.jerseywatch.com, or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.