Is cost the main factor? Do you get “What you pay for?”
Not always.. there are good clubs with lower fees and excellent coaches and there are good clubs that’s worth the price of admission because of the knowledge and experience of the team’s head coach. Get to know your coach.
Be realistic and honest about your player’s ability and potential, are you willing to pay high fees just to be on a branded team with names such as “Select” “Black” “Open” “Elite” “National”. Is she ready to compete at that level or will she be player 10,11, or 12 who will have limited play time.
What should I look for in a team?
The coach. Your player’s success or frustration will heavily rely on the experience of your coach. Paying more doesn’t necessarily will get you the better coach, often times a good player is not necessarily a good coach if they cannot break down techniques and format the training in an instructional way. Understand the tournament schedules and who/where you’ll play.
The team’s philosophy is very important, look for goals and philosophy that matches your player’s persona.
What should I look for in a coach?
Experience. Can the coach break down techniques into small coachable steps? does he/she have the progression knowledge to teach certain skills like footwork for sprawling, setting, blocking or hitting? We’ve seen very accomplished adult players who took a long time to develop into a good coach, their teaching techniques may not be as strong as their playing skills. A combination of playing experience and good communication skill is necessary to break down techniques and systems to players. Is the coach doing his homework and continuing his education? attending seminars, clinics, certifications etc.. does he study or review past matches with his team?
What is his or her philosophy on and off the court?. Building team dynamics is a big factor, how will they build team dynamics and keep the negative aspect of youth social behaviors in check?
Just as important is how experienced the coach is with young female athletes? We’ve seen men’s coaches struggles with teenage girls learning style. Interestingly enough, every age group from U12 to U18 have a different learning style that changes with their normal growth pattern both physically and emotionally.
Does the coach have the season strategy and plans? Do they have their team lesson plans organized and goals for the season?. Ask.
What to look for in a club
Is it the right fit?. Know your goals ( college recruiting, HS Varsity, MS, developmental) some clubs focuses on different goals.
Will the club support the coaches and teams? Are the coaches able to define their season to fit the team’s goals even if it changes during the course of the season. Do the coaches have the flexibility to select the tournaments, its locations and the # of tournaments beyond the contractual obligation?
Does the club have a strong work team training program? Do they have experience in teaching players to understand work assignments and certifications? Playing club volleyball requires you to understand the game’s rules and boundaries.
How is the club run as an organization? Is this a reputable club with a strong operational history?
Is the facility the club practices safe, insured, well lit and in compliant in building codes?