What Volleyball Parents Can Expect
If you are the parent of a child who is interested in playing volleyball, it is important to realize the role you will play. The parent of a volleyball player, just as a parent of any athlete, has certain responsibilities and expectations. The responsibilities will vary depending on how dedicated your child is to the sport. Regardless of your child’s level of involvement, you will likely have to drive her to practice, run team fundraising efforts, and play a role in your child’s volleyball ambitions.
If you are thinking about getting your youngster involved in competitive volleyball, but are unsure of what lies ahead, here is a brief outline of what you can expect.
Parents & Transportation
The first, and perhaps most obvious, expectation of a parent is the responsibility of getting your child to and from practice
At first, practice may only occur once or twice a week. But before long, as your child’s interest and skill level grows, you will be driving her to the gym as often as 3 to 5 times a week. Make sure, when you are deciding which volleyball club to join, that you take the commute into consideration. Is this a distance you are willing to drive to and from, multiple times a week?
A coach will expect a child to be at practice on time. If you are late too often, your child may have to endure the consequences. Most volleyball coaches won’t hesitate to make the players stay after practice to run suicides. Additionally, your child may miss out on important skill building exercises or dynamic warm-up drills that are performed at the beginning of a practice.
As your child’s skill level increases, the level of commitment will also increase if she decides to play competitively. Playing club volleyball, or even high school volleyball, will require a good amount of your child’s time. And as a result, your time commitment will increase as well. Here are some factors to consider:
- Tournament location: Most tournaments will not be located near your home. More often than not, the matches will require your family to travel significant distances.
- Time at the gym: Tournament lengths vary depending on the type of tournament it is: Some can span the entire weekend while others are single-day affairs. Multiple-day tournaments are generally only four or five hours. However, most single-day tournaments are all-day events with an early morning start time and a late afternoon finish. That means you can expect to spend up to eight hours at a given tournament location.
- Additional practice: Once your child becomes a competitive athlete, you should anticipate attending multiple tournaments during the year and driving your daughter to additional practice sessions on the weekends.
Costs Involved with Volleyball
Hot Tip: Shop Around
Shopping for shoes and kneepads online can be a great way to save a few extra dollars. If you need tips on how to choose volleyball shoes or what volleyball equipment a beginner should have, please check out the iSport guide “Volleyball Essentials” in the sidebar to the right.
Money is an important factor for all families to consider. Costs can add up quickly and it is good to know what you can expect to pay.
- Club fees: Annual costs of playing club volleyball will vary depending on the club. On the low end, fees can total 500 to 600 dollars per season, and on the high end costs can skyrocket into the thousands of dollars.
- Equipment: Fortunately volleyball does not require an excessive amount of equipment. The costs are generally under 50 dollars for each necessary item: Kneepads, athletic shoes, and a volleyball bag.
- Travel: If your volleyball player is competitive, chances are the team will want to attend out-of-state tournaments. If this is the case, you should anticipate additional costs for transportation, food, and tournament registration fees.
Participation & Volunteering
Most teams require and depend on parent participation in order to run smoothly. This includes not only parents providing transportation, as mentioned above, but also the following:
- Team events: A parent will often be the one who organizes team functions, including: Social outings, fundraising efforts, and the distribution of important team information (often newsletters or web posts).
- Assistance: Parents will often be called upon in competition to help run various aspects of a tournament. From running the concession stand, to collecting the registration fees, to working the scoring tables, the role of parents is an important aspect to a successful competition. To get a better understanding of how a meet operates, take a look at the iSport guide, “What to Expect at a Club Volleyball Tournament” (link to the right).
In reality, a team could not function without the volunteer efforts from parents. This is an important element to consider when deciding if your daughter is to get involved in the sport.
Encouragement & Support
Just as any athlete needs a cheering section (especially when things aren’t going well), a parent will need to play the role of booster and confidence builder.
Hugs and love are the strongest ways to encourage your child and bring out the best in her. However, this loving approach also needs to be countered with an equal level of encouragement and pushing — finding that balance is not easy. Here are some tips that may help:
- Pushing: Parents need to find a balance between pushing too hard, and not pushing hard enough. Make sure you are pushing for the right reasons. Your child should be the one who benefits from your efforts, not you.
- Criticizing: Leave this up to the coach. Even if you are knowledgeable about the sport, let the coach be the one to point out errors and corrections. You should be a support system of love and encouragement. This is often difficult, but it’s best to let the coach be the critic.
Only the Best
In general parents want the best for their children. When entering the sport, seek to find a volleyball team that both you and your child are happy with. Make sure you like the coaches and their style of instructing, but more importantly ensure that your player enjoys her time in the sport.
Line up your expectations with the reality of your child’s ability and you will enjoy the wonder and fulfillment volleyball can provide.