Early Contracts

Beach Volleyball has begun and the indoor club volleyball season is coming to an end. Most athletes seem to be glad for the change of scenery with Beach Volleyball. However, with the indoor club volleyball season wrapping up for the year, there are a few things you should be aware of going into the Summer months.

In the Ohio Valley Region, clubs affiliated with USA Volleyball are permitted to offer contracts to their current athletes for next years club season. The window of opportunity for clubs to distribute these early contracts is June 1 through July 31. There are some things you should know before signing a contract to any club:  

  • Clubs can offer early contracts to current club members anytime between June 1 through July 31. At Elite Volleyball Training Center, we typically wait until a team is completely done with the season. This means 12 year old contracts may go out earlier than a 17 year old’s contract. 12’s teams are done in May but 17’s teams are done closer to July. If you do not hear from us by July 4, feel free to reach out to us if you have questions.
  • Clubs can designate their own deadline for when these early contracts must be accepted. Make sure you know when you need to get back to them with a response.
  • Some clubs ask for a deposit at the time of acceptance. This is a great way to get a head start on paying your club fees.
  • It is nearly impossible to nail down coaches for next years club season. However, we have a great head start, and are excited to have great coaches lined up for most of our teams already. Do not sign the contract just because of the coach designated to the team. Make sure you would be happy with the team even if that coach decides to not coach anymore.
  • Signing the contract means that you are committed to that club no matter what. The Ohio Valley Region states that these early contracts are binding. This means that you cannot attend another club’s tryout if you sign an early contract. Terminating your contract could lead to a club asking you for your fees in full before releasing you to play for another club. If unforeseen circumstances do arise, do not wait until after tryouts to discuss termination of a contract. Reach out to your club director before tryouts so the club has the best chance of finding a replacement for you.
  • Some clubs will offer contracts back to the club, but you will need to attend tryouts to determine what team you will make. Before signing this type of contract, make sure you can see yourself playing on the lowest level team listed within the club/contract. If you end up being placed on a higher level team at tryouts, consider that a benefit.
  • Only sign your contract if you feel that you are comfortable with the club. At Elite Volleyball Training Center, we will not hold it against any athlete if they choose to not accept their early contract.
  • It is not the end of the world if you do not receive a contract. Volleyball Clubs need to keep spaces open in case there are other athletes that want to change clubs. Plan to attend tryouts and fight for the spot you had last year.

Parents sometimes question why a club would hand out an early contract back to the club versus back to a specific team. For example, Suzy played for a local club on a 12 National team for the last season (a National team is typically the highest level team, and Regional is the lowest level team). Her club sends her an early contract on June 15 stating that she has been offered a spot to one of the three 13’s teams that the club will have for the upcoming season. By signing this contract Suzy, and her parents, are agreeing that she is ok with the possibility that she could move from a National team down to a Regional team. In short, she is agreeing that she understands that in order to keep her spot on the National team she is going to have to be one of the best in her position at tryouts. Clubs use this process to motivate their athletes to ensure they do not become complacent. Athletes should battle to not only earn their spot on the top, but also hold onto their current spot. Consider this contract as motivation to prove to that club that you deserve to be on the highest team.

In this situation, some parents and athletes will choose to not accept this contract. Just be aware that there is a chance that another athlete could come in to tryouts and take your daughter’s guaranteed spot in the club.

These early contracts are intended for the athlete that loves her current club and does not want to go through the stress of trying out for other clubs. At Elite Volleyball Training Center, we have had instances where athletes decided not to accept a contract and lost their spot to someone at tryouts. We understand it can be hard to commit to a program that does not start for another 5 or 6 months. However, declining a contract means you need to prepare to tryout at 3-5 different clubs in July.

Clubs in the Ohio Valley Region are going to offer early contracts regardless if they agree with the process or not. Make sure you educate yourself prior to signing anything. It is important that you know the best and worst case scenarios with signing an early contract. Do not think your club does not like you if you do not receive a contract. Reach out to your club and ask what you need to work on to stand out at tryouts. We want all our athletes to have a good experience from start to finish at Elite Volleyball Training Center. We are happy to answer any questions about early contracts even if you do not play for our club.

Jim McLaughlin Joins EliteVBTC as a Coaching Consultant

(Plain City, OH) – Integrity Athletics, home to Elite Volleyball Training Center, is proud to announce the addition of Jim McLaughlin to our team as a Volleyball Coaching Consultant.

McLaughlin has coached both Women’s and Men’s collegiate volleyball, and won a NCAA National Title in each. He was the head coach for the USC Trojans Men’s Volleyball Team where they earned a National Title in 1989-1990. He also led the Women’s Volleyball team at the University of Washington to a National Championship in 2005. His 14 years with the Huskies resulted in NCAA national semifinal trips in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2013. After success at these programs, he finished his collegiate coaching career at Notre Dame.

You can learn more about McLaughlin at the following links:

Jim McLaughlin’s 2021 AVCA Hall of Fame Video

Jim McLaughlin’s Wikipedia Page

We are excited to have Jim McLaughlin in the gym as a consultant. He will be helping us develop a curriculum for our coaches that will allow us to progress a young athlete to a collegiate bound athlete. The goal is to help our staff better understand what milestones need to be met at every year of development.

McLaughlin will also be a great resource to our staff as we continue to guide our athletes through the collegiate recruitment process. We have been helping athletes since 2007 find the right college or University to fit her personality, goals, and needs. The goal is to guide EliteVBTC athletes to use volleyball as a tool to become a great adult. To date, Elite Volleyball Training Center has helped earn $15,050,000.00 in scholarships for our athletes. With McLaughlin’s background, his feedback is only going to make that process for each of our athletes better.

With McLaughlin’s help we plan to not only help our athletes better themselves on the court physically, but mentally. His guidance will help our staff with communicating with each athlete to get the most out of each personality. We also plan to use his curriculum to offer Coaches Clinics in the near future to help our volleyball community continue to progress the game to the next level.

Join us in welcoming Jim McLaughlin when you see him in the gym. He will be part of the Elite Volleyball Training Center for the next few months.

Club Volleyball?

New to the Team for 2022

Elite Volleyball Training Center is Moving


Integrity Athletics is proud to announce that our volleyball program, Elite Volleyball Training Center, will be expanding. We have moved our volleyball courts and olympic weight room to 8163 Business Way, Plain City, OH 43064. This new location is only two buildings over from our current location. There are four volleyball courts in the space. We plan to offer four pickleball courts for use, and will have basketball options in the distant future.

All volleyball services are cancelled for Saturday, February 15 in order for cement to dry. All clinics and practices will resume as scheduled at our new facility starting on Sunday, February 16. We will continue to update you with more information through all our social media outlets, and post information on our website. Emails will go out directly to families if we need to cancel or reschedule an services.

The current space volleyball is occupying will be transformed into more training space for all Integrity Athletics programs currently housed at the 8185 Business Way location. This space will also include our new Integrity Ninja space. This ninja space will allow us to offer exciting ninja based classes, along with adding to the birthday party experience for all boys and girls who choose to celebrate their birthday at Integrity Athletics.


Check out the drawing of our new volleyball and weight room space.

The EliteVBTC Story

Nikki Van Cleave and Dan Reilly Join EliteVBTC Full-time

We are excited to announce Nikki Van Cleave as our new Recruiting Coordinator for Elite Volleyball Training Center. In addition to her recruiting responsibilities, Nikki will be teaming up with Jackie Cline to enhance our Setter Training, coaching clinics and lessons, and stepping into the role of Heach Coach for the 17 Blue team.

Prior to joining EliteVBTC, Nikki was the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at The Ohio State University Women’s Volleyball program. The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Tournament and Sweet Sixteen in both her years with the program. She coached three All-Americans and four All-Big Ten players. She was named an AVCA Thirty Under Thirty Award Recipient in 2017. While at Ohio State she recruited the #16 and #13 ranked recruiting class according to www.prepvolleyball.com.

Van Cleave also has coaching experience as the assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She assisted the program to the Horizon League regular season championship, tournament championship, and NCAA appearance in 2013.

As a player for Marquette University, Nikki was named two-time All-Big East setter, and honorable mention All-American in 2010 following a 12.10 assists per set average which ranked fourth nationally.

Following her collegiate career, Van Cleave competed overseas in Germany for a season following her senior campaign.

Her addition to Elite Volleyball Training Center will streamline the recruiting process for the athletes and their families. She has extensive knowledge in the field of recruiting, not to mention her long list of contacts in the collegiate volleyball world. All recruiting fees are included in your club tuitions. Please reach out to Nikki at nikki@integritygym.com to set up anything from a meeting about the recruiting process to a mock phone call with a head coach.



Dan Reilly has been working with Elite Volleyball Training Center for the past few months as a part-time coach. We are excited to announce he will continue with Elite as a key staff member in club training and lesson training. He has been named head coach to the 16 Blue team at EliteVBTC.

Reilly is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He recently finished working with The Ohio State Women’s Volleyball program as a video coordinator. At Ohio State, Reilly helped with scouting of opponents and used video to provide technical and strategic feedback to coaches.

Prior to his time at Ohio State, Dan lived in Charleston, West Virginia, assisting with the Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams at the University of Charleston, and in Wilmington, North Carolina coaching club volleyball.

At the University of Charleston, Reilly assisted in aspects of the offense and blocking schemes, helping lead the Women’s Volleyball team to a 42-29 overall record and second place in the Mountain East Conference both years. During these seasons, Reilly was an integral part of coaching three First Team All-MEC Players, as well as helping drive the team to two AVCA Team Academic Awards.

Reilly also coached the University of Charleston Men’s Volleyball team in the spring of 2018, Dan helped lead the Men’s team to a 16-10 overall record, with a 5-9 record in the EIVA, both program records. During his time with the men’s team, Dan was tasked with analyzing video and preparing scouting reports, as well as assisting with offensive and defensive schemes for the Golden Eagles.

Reilly attended Penn State Altoona for four years where he played Division III Men’s Volleyball for the Lions.  A switch of majors added a 5th year at Penn State Main Campus in University Park, PA. During his final semester, Dan worked with the Penn State Men’s Volleyball team as an assistant manager, and finished with a degree in Kinesiology.

Reilly’s educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Penn State and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership from the University of Charleston in 2017. He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.


Game Changer

If you are ever at a convention center volleyball tournament, take a moment to walk over to the 10 and Under – 12 and Under courts. As you mosey into this area, you will feel as if you are getting taller, but the nets are actually getting shorter. The ball is different also. Pick one up, and you will see it is lighter. Coaching styles and athlete body types are much different too. I am telling you, the 10U – 12U game is completely different from the game played by 13’s – 18’s.  The 13’s age group is a game changer for a lot of athletes.

At the age of 13, a volleyball player essentially becomes an adult volleyball player. She will be asked to play on a women’s regulation height net at 7 feet, 4 1/8 inches (compared to an 11/12-year-old net height of 7 feet, and 10-year-old net height of 6 feet 6 inches). To most athletes this is the difference of getting their hands over the height of the net at 12’s to barely getting their finger tips over the net at 13’s. The ball also changes from a “light,” volleyball (7-8 oz.) to a normal volleyball (9-10 oz.). To the average person a change of one ounce seems like nothing, but to a young girl still developing muscles and growing it can feel like 5 extra pounds.

Athletes ages 10 – 12, come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are short and round, others are tall and thin, and some are so tiny even the smallest size spandex look like basketball shorts on them. The most successful volleyball players ages 10-12 are the stronger, thicker girls. They are the ones with the best serve. They go back to the service line and serve a line drive ball that the other team has no hope of returning. The tiny volleyball players go back to the service line and try with all their might to get the ball over, just to have the ball barely clear the 10-foot line on their own side. Even if they do serve the ball over, it is usually in the form of an underhand serve. Underhand serves are the easiest to receive. Any good team is going to convert this serve into a hard-driven attack and a point.

When these volleyball players transition into 13’s, the strengths are almost reversed. Serving becomes less important. It is no longer the number one scorer but becomes just a way to enter the ball into the game. Most 13’s are able to get the majority of their serves over the net consistently. The girls who are taller and faster now have the advantage. Shorter and slower athletes now struggle to keep up with the speed of the game.

The skills that a 13-year-old athlete are expected to perform or at least be willing to try are:

  • Overhand Serve: Almost every 13-year-old is overhand serving. Most are using a Jump Float or Jump Top Spin Serve. The goal is to serve a tough enough ball that the other team cannot pass it to their setter at the net.
  • Full Approach Jump and Attack: She must be able to transition off the net and expect to get set the ball. Once she is set, she must be able to approach, jump and score.
  • Block: She will not need to be an expert blocker. However, she should be showing desire to stop the other team’s attacker by blocking.
  • Use Three Contacts: Passing the ball over the net in one contact or sending a ball over by passing/setting (also known as a freeball) is no longer acceptable. The only way to beat the other team is to start passing, setting, and hitting the ball hard.
  • Running Plays: Most 13-year-old teams will start running plays off of serve receive or freeballs. The idea is to confuse the other team, so they are not ready for the attack. Here’s an example of one of our Elite Volleyball Training Center teams running a front one and a back one play off of serve receive.
  • Dig a hard-driven attack: She must be able to dig a hard-driven attack up in the air. This ball should not go over the net but should be directed toward the 10-foot line on her own side.
  • Be a good teammate: She must be able to cheer on her teammates, even if she’s on the bench. Most 13’s and older volleyball players are only playing 3 of the 6 rotations. Usually they are either playing front row or back row.
  • Tell someone what to do: Feedback is crucial in the game of volleyball. She should be able to look at her setter, when she receives a bad set, and say, “I need it higher.” This should be done without fear of hurting her setter’s feelings. The team is working toward a common goal of winning. If she needs a better set to score, she needs to speak up.
  • Take criticism: On the other side, she needs to be able to take this feedback. If she’s not passing a good ball to the setter, she may be replaced by someone from the bench who can. She needs to maintain a positive attitude and be willing to hear her faults, so she can correct these mistakes.

Just because a volleyball player was good/great when she played on a 12 and Under team, does not mean she will be good/great at 13’s. There are 5-6 months between the end of the season to the start of the next. That is a lot of time for athletes’ bodies to grow taller, thinner, or faster. Make sure your athlete is working on the things listed above in the off-season. The key is to be an athlete first, and a volleyball player second. A coach can teach anyone to play volleyball if they are jumping higher than everyone in the gym. A coach cannot make you faster or jump higher if you are not willing to put in the time to get there. Our staff at Elite Volleyball Training Center works with athletes transitioning from the Junior’s game to the adult game every day. We would love the opportunity to work with your daughter in a lesson or clinic to help her reach her goals.