Frequently Asked Questions By Parents Regarding Junior Olympic Volleyball

  1. What is Junior Olympic Volleyball?

Junior Olympic, or Club volleyball as it’s commonly referred, is open to high school and junior high school boys and girls.  It is not affiliated with a particular school so players on any given team may be partially or wholly from one school.  Club volleyball is a private program sanctioned by USA Volleyball which allows players to participate within their own peer or age group.  There are local, regional and national levels of play.

  1. How much does it cost to play club volleyball?

The cost of Junior Olympic volleyball varies from one club to another.  The cost generally ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars with most clubs on the lower end of the spectrum.  Some key cost factors include how many tournaments teams play, length of season, how extensively the team travels, and whether uniform and equipment are included in the cost.  Research your own area to find out more information.  Some clubs do offer partial scholarships to help defer the cost.

  1. Are there any additional costs of which I need to be aware?

Depending upon the club, you may find yourself putting a lot of miles on your family vehicle.  The cost of gas is something for which to budget.  Also consider food.  Often players and parents will pack picnic lunches that include sandwiches, juices, and fruit.  Many tournaments have concession stands as well.  Some clubs take overnight trips.  If so, you’ll need to consider the cost of lodging as well.

  1. What kind of time commitment is involved?

Most club teams practice at least twice a week for a couple of hours at a time although this does vary from club to club.  The Junior Olympic season runs from November through July.  Some clubs compete for the entire seven months, others for only a small portion of the season.  Ask the club director how long the season is and how many tournaments will be played.  Tournaments are primarily on weekends and many are one day.  One day tournaments usually last all day – 8am – 8pm.  You may have to travel a few hours to and from tournaments as well.  Some clubs travel extensively others compete locally.  Participating in some clubs takes a great deal of time.  So, ask the club director what their policy is regarding participation in other sports and activities.

  1. Why can’t the club director tell me exactly when we will be playing.

Very often try-outs for Junior Olympic clubs are held in November prior to the season starting.  At this time of the year, it is too early to officially enter tournaments.  Often, club directors organize a tentative schedule but are then required to wait and see if their team(s) make it into tournaments.  It’s possible a tournament may even be canceled if not enough teams enter.  So, you many have to be flexible.  Tournament schedules may change.

  1. Does playing club volleyball give my son/daughter better exposure to collegiate coaches?

While there is no guarantee your son or daughter will be seen by a college coach, there is a much better chance they will be seen if they play club volleyball.  Since the high school season generally coincides with the collegiate season, the heavier recruiting time is after the high school season during the club season.  A majority of college coaches search for prospective players at Junior Olympic tournaments.  Events such as regional tournaments, national qualifiers and the National Junior Olympic Championships attract the most college coaches.

  1. How accessible are collegiate volleyball scholarships?

NCAA Division I programs can give no more than 12 full scholarships

NCAA Division II programs can give no more than 8 full scholarships

NCAA Division III does not award athletic scholarships

NAIA can award 12 scholarships

** There are about 7500 scholarships available for girls.

  1. Why should my child play club volleyball?

Aside from the obvious benefits of learning and improving volleyball skills and playing the game, club volleyball provides a broad educational experience.  It enhances athletic, social, leadership skills.  One of the best ancillary benefits of club volleyball is making new friends from new schools and new towns. Since players regularly officiate matches when they are not playing, leadership skill and knowledge of the game is also enhanced.

  1. What is the difference between AAU and JO Volleyball?

Simply, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and USA Volleyball are two separate organizations.  AAU volleyball is not operated by USA Volleyball while Junior Olympic volleyball is.  AAU does offer local, regional and national tournaments which any team can enter.  At the Junior Olympic level, teams are required to play their way into the National Championship.  As a result JO’s are viewed as more prestigious.  JO’s also provide a direct pipeline into the USA High Performance, National, and Olympic teams.

  1. What is my responsibility as a parent?

Two big responsibilities lie in providing support financially and assistance with  transportation.  You can also help by encouraging good balanced nutrition.  Of course the players love the encouragement parents provide as well.