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What you should know about Club Volleyball

Annual Club volleyball has become a difficult decision making process.  One of the purposes of this section is to help parents and player make the best informed choices when it comes to club volleyball.  Keep in mind, each year current events can change the basis for decision making with each club due to personnel changes, philosophy changes, and new club offerings.  Some of this is not new information for many of you that already have been involved with club, or are returners to the volleyball club seasons.  For some of you, it's your first information on club volleyball ever.  Please read on, and fill free to follow up with our staff if you have any questions. Club tryouts can be a stressful time of year, so hopefully Alpha Prime can help at least make things a little less stressful with some information.

Members of our staff have played internationally, coached on multiple levels of play including Middle and High School teams, received the most current industry training standards with the NCVA , coached for other clubs in the area, and continue to play both beach and indoor volleyball locally.

Answers to Common Questions

1) Why should I (my daughter) participate in club volleyball?

For the love of volleyball and the desire to improve with high quality coaches and competition – those should be the main driving factors.  Club volleyball can also help to get a student athlete recruited to play in a collegiate program, but it’s certainly no guarantee. Club volleyball can be expensive (can range from $1500 all the way up to $6000 for January to June, including travel expenses for power league) when taken on a whole, but if you spread out that cost for the hours of coaching and game time, it comes out a LOT less than private lessons (which can range from $30 - $60/hour).  But it is still very expensive.  So you must really think hard about why you want to make the time and financial commitment.

Club is a great way to play with and against high quality players and for good coaches.  For some, it's a way to get noticed by college scouts for scholarships (keep in mind, less than 1% of high school volleyball players actually get college volleyball scholarships).  For others, it's simply a way to keep involved with the game they love or it’s about improving their skills, meeting new people, and having fun.  For Alpha Prime, we are honored to have the opportunity to mentor players and provide them with an avenue to receive and build great physical fitness habits

2) Which club is best for me (my daughter)?

You must balance many variables:
Time - If you're taking a heavy class load and have other extracurricular activities, it will be tough to balance all of those demands with club volleyball.  Typically club volleyball practices are twice a week with Saturday/Sunday tournaments once or twice a month from the end of January thru May.  If you play on a Power League team, you will likely be participating in 1-3 qualifier tournaments which usually involve travelling out of town, leaving on a Thursday and returning on a Sunday.  Don't sign up for club volleyball unless you're committed to the time you need to invest in volleyball - it takes a significant amount of your time.  There are low key clubs and teams that will demand less time, and have less travel, so you'll have to match your choice with the time and money you can invest.
Coach - This should be of utmost concern.  You need to play for a Club team that will improve your skills... not just play on the "cool" team or the team that everyone else wants to be on.  Play for a coach that matches the expectations you have.  If you're not sure about the coach, interview them!  Find out their contact info from the Club Director and find out what they're about.  It's a 6 month commitment, so do your homework.  Questions to ask:
* What club/high school coaching experience do you have?
* What's your coaching philosophy?
* What are your goals for the upcoming club season?
* What position do you think I'll play on your team?
* How many people will you take on your team?
Players - Will you have any friends on the team?  What other schools do the other players come from?  Will you be able to learn from the players?  Will you be able to get sufficient playing time based on your skills and your teammates' skills?
Cost - Area League is generally less expensive than Power League due to less travel and less tournament commitments.  Area League tournaments are all local (within a 30 min drive) while Power League may require travel to regional tournaments 2 hours away, and some qualifiers are in different states.  Some clubs offer discounts for hardship situations.  Power League is centered around a qualifier system that enables teams to earn the right to attend USA Junior Nationals at the end of the season (you can qualify out of your region and from national qualifier tournaments).  Area League is more centered around competition with local teams.  Clubs usually charge a base fee (ranging from $2000 for an Area League Club up to $7500 for a high level Power League Club), and then may also include fees for travel and accommodations for tournaments.  Some clubs will have the parents take care of travel on their own, so make sure you ask about what’s included with the club fees.
Logistics - There are clubs ALL over the bay area.  Since there are many practices, keep travel time to the club practice facilities in mind when signing up for Club.  Will you have friends on the team so that you can carpool?  Does the club have its own facility or will you have to practice at various high schools rec centers in the area?
Fun! Find a club that has a philosophy of having fun along with the season.  Inquire about team bonding; community service and skills clinics.

3) Does High School Coaches require girls to participate in Club to make a HS team, especially Varsity?

In a perfect, selfish world, probably, yes.  The more touches a player gets the more chances to improve.  However, the world does not revolve around volleyball.  Girls should be encouraged to play other sports that help cross-train muscles and keep them from burning out.  However, girls that participate in club volleyball usually do stand a better chance at tryouts the next year if they had good coaching and competition.  But Club is NOT required to make a team.  Alpha Prime Volleyball Club strongly encourage every player to consider club volleyball if they love the game and if they want to improve and get more out of it.  Only play Club if you really want to.

4) What if I'm doing other sports?  How should I stay in shape for volleyball for next season?

Sign up for a volleyball camp in June/July to help prepare you for the high school season.  Talk to your coaches about volleyball specific workouts in the off-season or private lessons.  However, if you don't do club, you must do SOMETHING to prepare yourself in the off-season to make yourself competitive for next year's high school season.  The bar is always being raised on the quality of volleyball players in this area, so don’t expect to just show up without any off-season training and make a team the next year. 

5) How do I find out about Club tryouts?  Which ones should I go for?

Club info can always be found at the Northern California Volleyball Association website:

Age groups are based on the cutoff date of Sept 1st.  So go to the site and according to your players ages and birthdate NCVA will indicate the age group(s) the player is eligible to play with.  

Below is a link to the NCVA parent handbook in case you desire additional information about the NCVA rules for volleyball.

Differences between Power League and Premier League Club Volleyball

1) Power League - higher level of competition; usually teams try to qualify for Junior Nationals or participate in the AAU national tournaments at the end of the season.  Power League tournaments are sometimes as far away as Sacramento and Regionals cover a wide area.  Examples for Qualifier cities include Reno, Denver, Spokane, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Austin.  The Junior Nationals rotate.

2) Premier League - lower cost, and less travel; teams usually compete in Regionals and local tournaments but do not expect to qualify for Junior Nationals.  Premier League teams only play against other local Premier League teams in premier league tournaments (except for selected tournaments which blend power and premier league teams based on sign ups).

 Either way is fine, and you'll need to decide what's best for you.

How do we find out more about Northern California club Volleyball programs?

Clubs will be having clinics/open gyms over several weekends in October.  For clubs you are interested in learning about, check their websites to see if they are offering clinics or open gyms. These are informal sessions where you can meet the coaches and get a workout for a couple hours.  It’s a lot less stressful than a tryout.  If you are unsure about a club, this is a great way to get visibility.  When you go to a clinic, make sure you personally introduce yourself to the coach of the team you’d be trying out for.  You are interviewing all the time, so make sure it’s a good first impression.

Club Tryouts for the each season start the first weekend in November and continue into the next weekend (each club chooses when to start during this time for their teams), so you’ll need to pick out the tryouts you want to make and plan on the times and locations.  Don’t plan to try out for more than 3-4 clubs.  You’ll be exhausted trying out for too many clubs, and won’t be able to make the schedules.  No club can sign a play until 6pm on the following Monday.  All players must have at least 48 hours after a tryout session to sign with a club.  This is to allow a player and their parents to have enough time to attend other club tryouts and evaluate options. 

>> If a club volleyball coach or director is pressuring you to give them a decision during the tryout or within the 48 hour window, you should NOT feel compelled to give them an answer unless you are ready.  You should be aware that some clubs use these strong arm tactics to make girls feel compelled to verbally commit to a team so they won’t try out for or accept offers from another club.  However, you need to decide if that’s the type of club you want to join.  This is a 6 month commitment of time and a lot of money, so take the time you need to make a good decision. 

Bottom line, if you want to get involved with club volleyball, there WILL be a home for you.  Just don’t let the stress impact your performance in school or your high school team.  There are plenty of experienced parents, players and coaches that can help you out.  We invite you to “Experience the Alpha Prime Difference!”

Parent Involvement

Parents can play many roles in sport: current or former athlete, coach, fan, motivator, role model or critic. A few studies have shown that family members may influence an athlete’s involvement and achievement in sport more than coaches. Parents also are the first and most critical agents at socializing sports.

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Parents and athletes need to manage their SportsEngine accounts to ensure they get the most out of their Alpha Prime Volleyball Club experience during each sporting season. With their accounts properly configured, athletes and their families will receive communications according to their preferences and be able to complete registrations more efficiently.  SportsEngine has created a Team Management Guide for Parents and Athletes that will help our members with frequently asked questions about our website and mobile app.

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Keep connected to your team(s). Get schedules and team updates for every athlete in the house, plus a way to message other members on your team and a way to give coaches a heads up about practice. Enjoy unlimited access to scores & stats, photo/video sharing, and more.


Adding an additional guardian

In many instances, more than one parent or guardian needs to be in the loop with a child's sports life. Using the mobile app, you can add additional guardians to an account. Guardians can 1) View games and events 2) RSVP to games and events 3) Send and receive messages to coaches and team members 4) participate in team chat

Adding a Mobile Phone

Once you've created your account, add your mobile phone so you can receive text messages from your team manager or coach.

Enabling Text Messaging

Now that you have your mobile phone on your account, make sure you enable text messaging and any other notifications.

Following a Team on the SportsEngine Mobile App

Are you a family friend, grandparent or fan that wants to follow a specific team on the SportsEngine platform? Here is a quick guide to follow teams on the mobile app.

Forwarding Athlete Messages

Do you need a second parent, other family member or nanny to get messages about schedule changes or game times? Add a second email address to forward all communications.

Sending a Message

Do you need to send a question to your team manager or another parent about a ride? Follow these instructions on how to send messages using the mobile app.

RSVP to Game or Event

Coaches and team managers need to know if you are going to able to attend a game or practice. You can easily RSVP using the mobile application.

Team Management Guide for Parents & Athletes

Is your team using SportsEngine Team Management to manage RSVPs, schedules and communication? This list of articles will provide you with everything you need to know for a successful season!

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