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.
Every time Suzie touches the volleyball, whether she gets an ace or messes up the play, she looks up at her dad. When she makes an error, Dad gives her a calming hand gesture and mouths the words, “It’s OK.” When she rocks the play, he gives her that iconic thumbs up with the ecstatic facial expression that goes with it. We all know the look because we have all done it at one time or another.
Don’t be the “Thumbs Up Dad (or Mom).” You have been and probably always will be your daughter’s biggest fan. However, you are hurting her if you are giving her your constant feedback. Don’t make her feel like she must impress you to feel good about playing the game of volleyball.
I feel I can say this because I’m a parent also. I know what it feels like to look down at your athlete at practice and see her goofing off or not absorbing every detail of what the coach is trying to teach her. It takes every ounce of energy to not yell across the gym, “KNOCK IT OFF.”
In an article written by Steve Henson, he shares that hundreds of college athletes were asked, “What is the worst memory from playing youth sports?” The majority responded, “The ride home from games with my parents.” Click here to read the entire article
Your athlete spends a minimum of 4 hours per week at practices being told over and over what she needs to do to correct a problem. She doesn’t need to be reminded of it when she gets in the car. She really wants to hear you say, “I loved watching you play today. What do you want to eat?”
It is really hard to coach an athlete that needs to be complimented every time she does something well. As a coach, our job is to give an athlete the tools she needs to not only succeed at the game but to be able to coach herself through a situation. Athletes need to be able to embrace a mistake. The truth is, volleyball is a game of mistakes. The team that makes the least mistakes usually wins. We must trust the process.
As a parent, please know that your daughter is going to make mistakes. She is going to make a lot of them. The mistake may happen on set point, or on a really easy ball. She can’t look to you for guidance or acceptance on every ball. We as parents need to teach our athletes to accept the mistakes, own up to them, and move forward.
How do we make sure we are not the “Thumbs Up Dad?”
- Cheer on the Good Plays – This means all of them. I respect a parent who sits quietly in the stands and cheers respectfully even when the other team makes a great play. I hate it when a parent only gets excited when their daughter makes a great play. I hate it when a parent throws their hands in the air and makes that loud grunting noise of disgust when their athlete misses her serve or hits the ball into the net. Cheer on the good plays and be quiet on the rest.
- Bring a Good Book – We see parents all the time that watch their athlete like a hawk at practice. It’s very noticeable from the practice court. This is where we see the “Thumbs Up Dad,” the most. Instead of straining to hear what the coach says to your athlete after a mistake, bring a good book, and sit on the couches that are turned away from the courts. Allow yourself to miss some of the action. Imagine what your reaction will be when you get to watch your athlete at the next tournament and see the amazing improvements she has made because of her hard work at practice.
- Let your Athlete Bring Up the Game in the Car – If your daughter wants to talk about the tournament, she will. She may even ask your advice. The best thing you can say is, “I think you did great today. What did your coach say about your performance?” Each coach has a game plan and a process he follows. He can’t teach your daughter everything in one day. The team’s focus may have been on communication for the tournament. If your athlete communicated to the standards the coach was asking, she succeeded. Ask your daughter to share with you what the team’s focus was. She may love teaching you about what she is learning.
- When do you step in? – You should step in to give advice when your daughter is not showing respect for the coach or the team. If your daughter gets in the car and says, “My coach has no idea what he’s talking about.” Please remind her that it isn’t her job to know what’s going on in the head of a coach. It is her job to stick to the game plan and win. We need her to respect the club, the coach, and her teammates. We all know the scenario when an athlete gets subbed out of the game. The subs stand together touching hands like an elongated high five for approximately 30 seconds waiting for the scorekeeper to record the substitution. You see the face of the athlete being removed from the game as cold, upset, and disappointed. The face of the athlete that is going into the game is excited and motivated. Imagine if the athlete coming out of the game fixed her face and said to her teammate, “You’ve got this; you’re going to do great out there!” She would empower her teammate/friend to succeed. As coaches, we cannot stand it when an athlete leaves a game pouting. She should go to the end of the bench and be the loudest cheerleader. We need to teach our athletes to be excited for the team in all moments even when it’s hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I want you to cheer on your athlete and her teammates. However, I want to encourage you to spend the next tournament watching someone other than your daughter. If you criticized that athlete the way you criticize your daughter, how would that athlete feel? We appreciate that you have allowed us to teach your daughter the game of volleyball. Now bring a good book and trust the process.
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:
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.
Ben Spurlock and Alana Smith Join EliteVBTC Full-Time
Plain City, OH, September 2020 – Elite Volleyball Training Center and Integrity Athletics are proud to announce the addition of Ben Spurlock and Alana Smith to our Full-Time Volleyball Coaching Staff.
Ben Spurlock comes to EliteVBTC with extensive playing and volleyball coaching experience. He played for The Ohio State University Men’s Volleyball program from 2005-2009 where the team won the MIVA Conference and finished in the Final Four in 2005, 2008, and 2009. After playing, he went on to coach collegiately as an assistant coach for the Women’s Volleyball programs at Northwood University, Saint Louis University, and The Ohio State University. He lives here in the Columbus area with his wife Kim and his daughter Maybel.
“Ben’s knowledge of the game and experience coaching at the collegiate level will help prepare our athletes to play at a high level and be recruited for the collegiate game,” says EliteVBTC Club Director, Randy Cline.
The second hire, Alana Smith, is actually an alumnus of the EliteVBTC program. She was part of the 2013 EliteVBTC Graduating Class. She went on to play 5 years at Wright State, and she has decided to make coaching her career. She has experience playing both the Outside Hitter position and Libero. She is currently the Varsity Head Coach for Amanda Clearcreek High School.
Ben and Alana join the already stellar list of EliteVBTC Full-Time coaching Staff. Kalisha Goree, Joe Jackson, Randy Cline, Jackie Cline, Sandra Borer, and Nationwide’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chelsea Alli. Dan Reilly has accepted a Men’s Assistant Coaching Position at New Jersey Institute of Technology. We are sad to see him go, but we know he will do great things at the collegiate level. His last day will be September 25th. Nikki Van Cleave will continue working at EliteVBTC as a Full-Time Recruiting Coordinator, position coach, and Club Assistant Director.
Here’s the link to our Staff Page to read up on our complete coaching staff: https://www.elitevbtc.com/contact/staff-coaches/
We are excited to announce Joe Jackson as our new Beach Volleyball Club Director. Joe has been working with us for 4 years within our Beach Program under the direction of Randy Cline. We are proud to place him in the leadership role of overseeing all Beach Volleyball activities including training, tournaments and lessons.
He will be teaming up with our Recruiting Coordinator, Nikki Van Cleave, to help our athletes whose goal it is to play Beach Volleyball at the collegiate level. Beach Volleyball in one of the fastest growing sports for women. With added opportunities for scholarships at universities from coast to coast, our athletes could extend their careers into college and beyond.
All Beach Volleyball related questions can be sent to Joe via email. You can reach him at email@example.com.