If you are new to club, and even if you're not, you may have some questions that you wish someone would answer. Here is BAVC's attempt to help make you an informed consumer.
How do I choose the right club?
This is a hard question to answer. In my opinion it's almost like choosing a college. If they offer everything you want from a club then it's all about the feel. Does it feel like a place you would want to come to, hang out in, and call your volleyball home for the next six months? Does it welcome and offer a comfortable place for parents to hang out during or watch practice? These are important questions to ask yourself when thinking long term. Below are some factors to consider in selecting the ideal club:
What information should I expect a club to disclose prior to going to tryouts?
The short answer is everything. They should disclose on their website; 1) what teams they plan on having; 2) how much they plan to charge for the team; 3) what's included in the price (i.e. whether it's an all -inclusive price or if there will be additional charges throughout the year; 4) what tournaments each team is going to attend; 5) who the coaches are for each team; 6) whether a significant number of coaches in the club coach for multiple teams; 7) where and for how long each practice is going to be; 8) how travel is handled. If this information is not readily available on their website, you need to wonder why and ask before attending a the tryout. Be an informed consumer.
What are the red flags I should be looking for when I go to a clubs website?
Be alarmed if you go to a club website and you have to hunt for Season Fees or if they keep their fees reasonable but add on additional charges for uniforms, tournament fees, coaches travel and meals, etc. Also be on the lookout for clubs that keep their fees the same or raise them but lower the amount of practice hours. The norm for practices for club is 2 hour practices 2 times per week. Another red flag is the travel game. Do they book all the travel for the players themselves (airfare, hotel, etc.) and have you reimburse them? Be sure to ask if the club is getting a kickback from the travel company. This would equate to double charging if they get free rooms for coaches and then turn around and charge you for coaches travel. Also ask if you are allowed to travel with your daughter or if they are required to share a room with other players.
A volleyball club is just like any other company. Uniforms, tournament fees and employee travel is all part of doing business and should not be passed on to you, the consumer, as an additional charge over and above the season fees you are paying.
Does the name of the club affect my chances of playing college?
Absolutely not! If you can play and are willing to put in the work that is required of EVERYONE wanting to play college volleyball, the coaches will find you no matter where you play or what court you play on at a tourament. It does help however, if your club has a College Recruiting Program and an experienced Advisor available to help you through the process. Be very leary of anyone telling you they can quarantee you any kind of college scholarship.
My daughter is being approached by club coaches at her school matches. How should I respond to these recruitment efforts?
Volleyball clubs are all interested in recruiting players, particularly at tryout time. Overly aggressive recruiting is becoming all too common in youth athletics however. If you daughter is being "recruited by a club", by all means listen but trust your instincts and be suspicious if they make promises trying to flatter an impressionable young athlete that they cannot possibly keep. Additionally, it is against NCS rules for a high school coach to pressure his/her players to play for his/her club. (i.e. "You may not make varsity if you don't play for my club this season.") If statements like this are reported and verified, the coach may be dismissed and the school sanctioned. Coaches may absolutely advocate for their players to play club and even express that they think their club is the best. But they may absolutely not put undue pressure on their players to play for their club.
Does the Club Director live near and is he/she present in the communities served? Or, does the Club Director coach multiple teams?
These are two very important questions. Do you ever see your club director at your school matches so that they can watch and care about your development? Or, if they didn't make it to your specific school are you hearing from your friends that he/she was at this match or that tournament? Some area club directors take your fee for the club season and then don't show any interest in their club players off season. We at BAVC find this odd, and during the off season we try to find opportunities to attend matches of every high school or middle school that has our players. We are truly interested in your development! There are club directors of some area clubs that don't even live in the same geography and run their clubs remotely with no personal interest in their players.
Additionally, if your club director coaches multiple club teams and does not have time to make himself/herself available to get to know every team in the club, then we feel they are doing a disservice to their club families.
If you have any questions you'd like answered, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.