Strategies and Objectives

11/5/2007

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JVDA Strategies and Objectives

I. Organic Growth: The Only Solution

Organic growth: "The rate of business expansion through increasing output and sales as opposed to mergers, acquisitions and takeovers."

The volleyball clubs around the United States serve as small businesses that provide a service and that service is volleyball. For these small businesses to grow they have one of three options.

   1. Expand their membership base by attracting more members.
   2. Expand the services they provide to their current membership.
   3. A combination of the two above.

At that point organic growth will occur if:

   1. The quality of the service is at a level that is desired by the general public.
   2. The cost of the service is affordable to the general public.

II. Grassroots Development: The Key to Organic Growth

If we take a look at where volleyball stands in the world of youth sports we see the following:

* Registered Junior Volleyball players: 200,000 (estimated inc. USAV & AAU)
* Registered Junior Softball players: 1,400,000 (inc. ASA & Little League Softball)
* Registered Junior Soccer players: 3,800,000 (inc. USYS & AYSO boys and girls)

Soccer and Softball both have very large pyramids with very wide bases where the 5-10 year old age group is heavily involved. Both soccer and softball have special games and a specific growth plan for this age group while volleyball has virtually no presence at this level. The JVDA strongly believes that development of this age group is paramount if volleyball is going to achieve any significant growth in the future. The JVDA recommends the following.

JVDA member clubs double the size of their membership over the next five years by offering the following grassroots programs.

VolleyTots: Ages 5-8 with an emphasis on motor and physical development through the use of ball training and skills such as running, jumping, rolling and shuffling that make up the sport of volleyball. At this age, clinics and classes should be the standard format to keep the young athletes excited about participating.

MiniVolley: Ages 9-10 with 3-4 players on a smaller court with a lighter ball. There are many variations of this game and players may use all three contacts to send the ball over the net or they may catch one or all of the three contacts as they begin to develop specific volleyball skills. For tournament play the JVDA is advocating shorter events where parents and players are playing one to two matches per event and not required to spend long hours in the gym as is the case at many tournaments.

The JVDA urges our local and national leadership to install a $5 membership for both of the above programs so these players can become registered members of the volleyball community. These types of grassroots development programs must be affordable to the general public if we are going to involve the large numbers and persuade young athletes of these age groups that volleyball is a viable option to soccer or softball.

Youth Volleyball: Ages 11-12. Over the next five years if volleyball clubs across the country begin to implement the grassroots programs listed above, the level of play and also the number of players who are playing at the youth level will show a dramatic increase. The JVDA is advocating a series of Zonal Championships to be held around the United States at the end of May or early June that would allow all players at the "Youth" level to participate in an affordable year end event close to their homes. The JVDA feels these events would create excitement for both players and parents at this level. Also, players would be anxious for volleyball to become their primary sport as they move into junior high and grow closer to choosing which sport they will eventually participate in on a regular basis.

Junior Volleyball: Ages 13-18. The JVDA is urging clubs to consider offering both "competitive" and "recreational" programs for this age group as parents are constantly looking for positive outlets to keep their children busy participating in extra curricular activities. Athletes who are not able to make a junior high or high school team could still use volleyball as an after school option if multi tiered programs were available to the general community. These types of recreational programs would also allow facility owners to keep their courts busy on a regular basis as well.

The JVDA is advocating that clubs seek a 70% (grades 8 and lower) 30% (grades 9-12) ratio to develop a true pyramid and provide the greatest chance of success for their business model to be successful.

III. Coaching is Key

The JVDA understands the need to expand the coaching pool as well as give new coaches the ability to be productive teachers for youth and junior volleyball. If a grassroots movement is realistically going to happen in the U.S. the current coaching pool must double or triple in size. The JVDA believes that volleyball must do what other youth sports have done and incorporate parents into the coaching ranks at the youngest levels. Unlike baseball where most parent/coaches are former players, volleyball will need to develop a coach education program to give parents the basic fundamentals to assist them in the early stages of motor learning / athlete development. This type of program should be coordinated through an AVCA / JVDA joint effort to bring forward an extensive coach education program that will cover the entire spectrum of coaching development. This program could be a series of basic testing manuals for the beginning level coaches progressing to affordable, on-line accreditation where coaches could continue to be educated and seek knowledge. A series of teaching videos could also be developed that would serve as visual models for everything from individual skill development, to the best way to run an efficient practice, to the role of a master coach overseeing multiple teams in a training environment. Testing could also be done at this level for coaches to evaluate their understanding of the course material. The JVDA strongly believes that coaching must improve at all levels, but we must also provide affordable information and make that information available to every person who has the desire to improve themselves as a coach.

IV. Facilities

The inherent disadvantage that volleyball has compared to other youth sports is the cost to rent or own facilities. While outdoor softball and soccer fields are plentiful at little or no cost, the same cannot be said for gymnasiums to play volleyball. The expense of renting or owning gymnasiums immediately puts volleyball at a disadvantage compared to other youth sports where cost to participate is minimal. The JVDA realizes that if youth and junior volleyball is going to see substantial growth that growth must come through the club system. This growth will be through the development of new clubs and also with current clubs expanding their membership base to incorporate the youth development programs mentioned above. Regardless of how this growth occurs, many more facilities will need to be available to handle the growth and those facilities must be kept busy on a regular basis to succeed and stay open. The JVDA realizes that for volleyball clubs to operate successful facilities, a sound business plan must be in place to minimize the risk that clubs will be taking if they decide to rent, buy or build their own facility. Currently the JVDA has several members who operate very successful volleyball facilities. Those members can be a great resource for other JVDA members who are looking to develop their own facility. A thorough, well thought out business plan is a must before moving forward with facility development.

Another option as it relates to facilities is for junior clubs to partner with current organizations in their communities such as park districts, city recreation centers, YMCA's and Boys and Girls clubs. Developing working relationships with these types of organizations could be done through a well organized "barter" system where junior clubs could develop, organize and oversee grassroots programs in return for facilities for their junior clubs to practice and hold competitions. Another advantage of working with local youth organizations is that clubs would have a built in feeder system for their youth development programs since the organizations mentioned above are normally just "starter" programs for the beginning level.

We understand that if the sport of youth and junior volleyball is to grow and prosper we must all work together to make it happen. We also understand that if the sport of volleyball sees significant growth over the next five years, all of us will have a great opportunity for our organizations to thrive and be successful.

V. Power League Development

Over the past decade the sport of junior volleyball has seen participation cost escalate substantially due to increased travel costs. The JVDA realizes that the costs of "competitive club volleyball" has kept the overall membership base low and made the sport unaffordable to a large percentage of American families. The JVDA is advocating that clubs throughout the country work within their local areas as well as within reasonable driving distances to develop a network of "power league" models. This league model has many advantages including offering a regular season schedule to many clubs throughout the country as well as putting a balanced competition schedule in place that allows all levels of teams to play "quality" matches throughout the season. One needs to look no further than the history of the 18's division at the Junior Olympics to see the benefits of strong power league competition. Since the Junior Olympics were founded on 1980 26 of the 28 Gold Medal winners in the 18's division have come from three regions (Southern California, Great Lakes and Northern California) where strong leagues are the lifeblood of the competitive club schedule. These leagues develop local rivalries and help clubs grow their business models while keeping travel expenses much lower than anything that requires air travel.

Possibly the most important issue regarding local league development will be that it will provide a need as well as a market for the development of additional volleyball facilities. More facilities will mean more space for more kids to play volleyball and strong local leagues can be the lifeblood for facility development across the country. The JVDA believes that all growth must ultimately be at the local level and that local growth can lead to providing many more opportunities for the volleyball clubs across the country in their local communities. Leagues have long been the lifeblood of high school, college and professional sports not only in the United States but throughout the world. The JVDA believes that the development of youth and junior leagues will allow the junior community to accelerate growth and make youth and junior volleyball more widely available at the local level.

The JVDA envisions a series of leagues throughout the country that can develop not only strong, local competition, but can ultimately lead to some type of "National League Championship Series."

   1. Northwest (Oregon- Western Washington)
   2. Northwest / Mountain (Eastern Washington / Idaho / Montana)
   3. Northern California
   4. Southern California
   5. Southwest (Arizona-New Mexico)
   6. Texas
   7. Rocky Mountain (Panhandle of North Texas, Colorado, Utah)
   8. Great Plains (Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri)
   9. North Country (Minnesota & Northern Wisconsin)
  10. Great Lakes West (Wisconsin, Illinois, Western Michigan, NW Indiana)
  11. Great Lakes East (Eastern Michigan, NE Indiana & Northern Ohio)
  12. Ohio Valley (Western PA., S. Ohio, S. Indiana & N. Kentucky)
  13 .2Northeast (possibly two leagues in this geographic area)
  14. Southeast (Carolina's, Georgia, North Florida)
  15. Central & South Florida
  16. Bayou area

Future JVDA Projects:

Assist all JVDA member clubs in their effort to double their membership over the next five years by establishing grassroots and youth volleyball program models that are affordable and available to the general population.

Development of a Video / DVD to help all clubs establish a teaching and training model for the "VolleyTots" and Mini-Volley levels.

Send a JVDA representative to the 2009 NORCECA Mini-Volleyball championships in Puerto Rico to view training and competition and also submit a written report to JVDA leadership and membership.

Work with national and regional leadership to offer a $5 membership fee for the 10 year old and under age groups.

Work with the AVCA to develop an extensive, systematic and affordable coach education program that will consists of basic teaching manuals, online education and also video instruction. This will assist club directors in the area of coach development for all levels. A battery to tests must also be put in place to allow and encourage coaches to continually work towards improvement and gain knowledge.

Become a resource for clubs who are working to develop their own facilities.

Become a resource to assist clubs in business development and planning.

Use current successful models to further league development around the United States and work with clubs at the local level to assist in league start up.

Work to develop a series of zonal tournaments for mini and youth volleyball teams that will provide an exciting year end event to their club season by the end of May.

Provide a yearly grant to USA Volleyball that would be used to sponsor elite level athletes that are in need of financial assistance to participate for the Youth or Junior National teams.

 

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