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How to Start a Volleyball Club

Whether indoor or beach, volleyball is popular from coast to coast!
Whether indoor or beach, volleyball is popular from coast to coast!
Hemera/Thinkstock

Volleyball is the second most popular participation sport in the world, ranking just behind soccer. It has been described as a creative blend of other familiar sports like tennis, basketball, handball and baseball. However you describe it, volleyball is an Olympic favorite and probably has an enthusiastic following in a town near you.

Volleyball attracts a dedicated 800 million participants worldwide who play a minimum of once a week, with about 46 million players in the U.S. alone. That's not counting scores of fans content to sit on the sidelines and watch the excitement. From beach to indoor, grass and paralympic varieties, volleyball is a versatile sport that can be played by all ages and both genders. That makes it an equal opportunity, multi-generational activity appropriate for the whole family.

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If you love the life lessons volleyball teaches and the friendships it inspires, you may be the perfect catalyst for the next, best volleyball club in your area.

Starting a volleyball club can be fun, but it can be hard work, too. Volleyball is a competitive sport, and the spirit of competition that can get players and their families all fired up and determined to win can also lead to occasional conflicts, like losing important players to competing teams and dealing with bruised or inflated egos.

When you've been bitten by the volleyball bug and want to start your own club, you have options for going it alone organizing casual competitions for fun, or joining a national organization like USA Volleyball that offers regional outreach services giving members an opportunity to participate in nationally recognized competitions.

On the next page, we'll discuss some important practical considerations you'll need to be aware of if beach volleyball is the sport for you. From recruitment to fundraising, getting the details right can make or break your club building efforts.

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There are some important things you can do during the planning stages of your club to help keep administrative chores and problems to a minimum. USA Volleyball is the official governing body for the sport in the U.S., so familiarize yourself with its rules and practices. The organization has an extensive Web site to help you. You should also think about these important topics:

Find a place to practice and play - Get in touch with community, school and regional recreational centers to source locations where you can conduct practices on a regular basis. If nothing looks appropriate, you may be able to work with local businesses to erect a facility. (If money is a problem, you can solicit donations and pursue applicable grants. Once your club is active, you can charge dues and seek out sponsors.)

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Locate qualified coaches - If you don't plan on performing coaching duties yourself, finding qualified, dedicated coaches should be one of the top goals of your volleyball club-building effort. Talented coaches are at a premium and can sometimes burnout after dealing with the long hours and stresses of competition, so expect some turnover, too. Sometimes high school or college coaches are willing to lend a hand, and students may also have an interest in coaching.

Plan player recruitment and tryouts - A club can have any number of teams, but you may want to institute minimum requirements for the players. Holding tryouts can help you get an idea of the available talent. Word of mouth will get things started, but you might also need to post fliers at school tournaments and community recreational facilities.

Ask for volunteers - Parents and relatives can be invaluable resources when it comes to finding volunteers to help conduct fundraising efforts, transport players and perform all the extra duties involved in maintaining an active club. Most clubs will also have volunteer officers to take on tasks like safety management, media relations, recruiting and transportation. Sourcing talented individuals to fill these rolls now will put you ahead of the game.

Anticipate and manage your expenses - To avoid problems later, structure your volleyball club like a business. It's a good idea to have a separate checking account for club expenses along with a few published policies regarding things like reimbursing coaches for travel and lodging.

Put together a budget - You won't have a clear idea of what you'll need to charge in club membership fees until you know your current (and some future) expenses. Take the time to put together a budget. A beach volleyball season can vary in length depending on where you are, and your budget will also be impacted by the types of amenities you offer your players. If this is a large enterprise, you might consider incorporating your club, too.

Strategize fundraising efforts - You'll want to find additional ways to support your club, and working now to find sponsors and secure other funding will make it easier for you to concentrate your energies on building your club instead of worrying about supporting it.

When you're dedicated to a sport, creating a venue that encourages others to develop their skills can be satisfying. Organizing a beach volleyball club is a blast -- exciting, rewarding and always challenging. It can also involve long hours, budgetary ups and downs, injuries, unexpected losses and frustrating nuisances. If you're game for the game, though, it'll be like nothing you've tried before -- and summer will never be the same again.

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Sources

  • Couvillon, Art. "Sands of Time: The History of Beach Volleyball." 2002 (7/19/11). http://www.amazon.com/Sands-Time-History-Volleyball-1895-1969/dp/0938329480#reader_0938329480
  • Online Volleyball Coach. "How to Start Your Own Volleyball Club." (7/19/11). http://onlinevolleyballcoach.com/volleyball-coaching/want-to-start-your-own-club-volleyball-team/
  • USA Volleyball. "How to Start a Junior Olympic Volleyball Program."2007.(7/19/11).http://assets.teamusa.org/assets/documents/attached_file/filename/16621/How_to_Start_a_Junior_Olympic_Volleyball_Program_06.05.07.pdf
  • USA Volleyball. "USA Volleyball Membership." (7/19/11). http://usavolleyball.org/usa-volleyball-membership-services
  • USA Volleyball. "Why is USA Volleyball the Right Choice?" (7/19/11). http://assets.teamusa.org/assets/documents/attached_file/filename/38364/Why_is_USA_Volleyball_1_19_11_v13.pdf
  • Volleyball BC. "How to Start a Beach Volleyball Club." (7/19/11). http://www.volleyballbc.ca/files/How%20to%20Start%20a%20Beach%20Volleyball%20Club.pdf
  • Volleyball England. "Starting a Volleyball Club."(7/19/11) http://www.volleyballengland.org/Clubs/Starting_a_Volleyball_Club.php
  • Volleyball.org. "History of Volleyball." (7/19/11). http://www.volleyball.org/history.html
  • Westlake High School. "Volleyball Brief History." 2009. (7/19/11). http://westlake.k12.oh.us/hilliard/whspe/volleyball/volleyball_history.htm

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