Set Up For Success: A Club Volleyball Blueprint
August 20, 2018
At LeagueApps we pride ourselves on living and breathing youth sports. Our platform powers countless teams around the country, across a multitude of sports.
To better understand the sports we’re serving, we have launched our “Best of the Best” series. Each article will feature top organizations answering questions pertaining to their sport. Topics will range from organizational growth and savvy technology utilization to college recruitment and coach retention. Our series gets kicked off with three questions for some of the country’s top volleyball directors.
In your opinion what is the number one hurdle to clear as you try to grow your business?
Facilities, that was the number one issue. To be honest, once we had that squared away, everything else wasn’t really that difficult.
We are in the process of building a new facility. We’ve outgrown the place where we’re at and I think the facility is going to help us continue to grow not only as an organization in size, but also grow the product that we’re putting out there. We designed the new location with the parents in mind. It’s probably bigger, square footage wise, than we really need but we wanted to make sure we had everything covered. We think that the overall experience is going to be incredibly beneficial to our players. We’re going to have a physical therapy group in the building that will offer services, including massages and private therapy. We’re going to have private and group tutoring, including SAT/ACT prep classes they can take at our facility. We’re really trying to make it a one-stop shop. At 7,000 square feet, the training facility will be not only for our athletes, but it will also be open to parents so they can come in and work out. We’ll have high-intensity training classes that the parents can participate in too, that’s the next thing on the horizon as far as where we’re going, and we think that will make everything better for us. – Tony Carrow, Nebraska Elite
We went out on a limb in 2009 and opened a facility hoping people would come. Now we’re at a current facility that we own with four courts and we’ve grown significantly. We had 230 club kids last year. We offer camps in the summer and we have an in-house program. We have about 200 kids that come through the program and we do a middle school beach program and some rec programs, so that’s where we are right now. We also run about eight tournaments a year on the club side. We partner with some really good clubs around the country. That’s how we got here and ended up doing what we’re doing. – Chris Hames, K2 Volleyball
We train primarily at the Pleasant Prairie Rec-Plex, which, at one point, was the largest facility in the United States. Its size allows us to physically fit about six courts on certain nights. We practice five days a week at the Rec-Plex, and we also host our tournaments out of here. So while we don’t have our own facility, we do rent and we have exclusive rights to the volleyball here so no other club is allowed to come and train. The Rec-Plex has been amazing for us from a Wisconsin Juniors standpoint. – Scott Marita, Wisconsin Juniors
How do you go about recruiting, cultivating and ultimately retaining quality coaches?
The majority of the coaches we have on staff we’ve had for at least five years. The reason for that is we want to identify quality coaches, and quality people, and do everything we can to keep them. The key attribute we look for in our coaches is a desire to learn and evolve. You don’t have to come as a great volleyball coach, a finished product, so to speak, but you have to come willing to learn. We put a premium on creating an environment centered around learning and growing, which is critical for our staff and players. Sometimes we get so used to giving feedback to players, but it’s important for the coaches and directors to receive feedback and grow from that as well. – Jordan Reeder, Silver State Volleyball
As organizers we really help run everything, so the coaches can come in there and focus on making the best out of the team they have. We handle the logistics for them in regards to organizing practices and stuff like that, so I think that helps us retain coaching talent, which in turn helps retain the kids that are playing at the highest level. – Chris Hames, K2 Volleyball
The biggest thing for us is continuing our coaches’ education. We want coaches who have a desire to learn new things. At Wisconsin Juniors we are always trying to learn the latest techniques, nuances, and the changes in the game. We also provide a coaches educational email thread where once a month we send out either a drill or an article by someone significant that gives us new ideas and new thoughts on training. Creating this environment of continuing education has helped us retain and develop our staff. – Scott Marita, Wisconsin Juniors
From a technology perspective, what have you embraced in recent years to help your program and your players?
How we view technology has significantly changed. When we first started, we didn’t really have a set plan, in terms of how we promoted, or what our website needed to be to facilitate sign-ups. We really were very raw when we first started. Our goal was to get to the point where we could manage sign-ups for over 200 kids. I think that’s the biggest thing for us, because we do run four tournaments in a row at the beginning of the season, was to have the technology work for us. And that’s the one of the things I love about LeagueApps. It’s so user-friendly and so easy for us to get information and put it in spreadsheets or use google. – Chris Hames, K2 Volleyball
We’ve always had a spirit of innovation. Our Carson facility is equipped to stream every one of our practices. Each of our three courts have high-def cameras that can capture everything that we’re doing and stream it. We also have ten iPads that coaches can check out and use for practices or tournaments to capture stats. We have a custom video server that operates almost like YouTube. In addition, we have the most video cloud storage space of any company in Northern Nevada. That allows us to capture games, practices, and individual player development. So technology is huge in our mind. It’s how people learn nowadays and can shorten that learning process. – Jordan Reeder, Silver State Volleyball
This is the first year we didn’t do paper copy folders — we finally went all digital. Being able to go digital makes it a lot easier to communicate, of course there are some people still who want that hard copy from a financial standpoint. As a club, it is obviously easier to do everything digitally, communication-wise. We’ve definitely utilized it from an administrative standpoint and communicating with our families is a lot easier. There simply is an expectation nowadays that you’re sophisticated when it comes to technology. – Scott Marita, Wisconsin Juniors