The level of play in club ball is much higher than that found in local recreational leagues, such as the YMCA, and even school programs at the lower grades. This is primarily due to professional coaching and more touches with a ball. Club experience is important in developing as a player. Most, if not all, girls who make their high school teams (not to mention those that go on to win college scholarships) play club ball.
The club volleyball season begins after school season ends, in the fall. Clubs have tryouts during the summer, prior to the start of school season. Teams begin practice after school season ends, usually around mid-November, then begin playing tournaments on many weekends starting in December. Club season ends at various times, usually late April. National teams usually continue to practice and compete in postseason play, perhaps even traveling to compete in the Junior National Championships or the AAU championships in the summer.
The learning focus of the club experience is for the individuals to work together as a team, how to be competitive. This is done through team practice, four to six hours a week, two or three weeknights every week), and then tournament play on many Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. Tournaments usually last all day, and sometimes well into the night.(Sunday play is usually morning through early afternoon.)
Getting Started in Club Volleyball
A certain level of skill is expected from each prospective player. Each club holds tryouts to determine if the prospect has sufficient ability to make the team. New players are at a disadvantage, particularly in the older age divisions.
So how can a player get the necessary skills if they can't even get on a team? . Many clubs have developmental teams for the early age groups. Older players may need a "jump start" -- formal instruction programs that can teach the skills necessary to play club ball.
There are many choices of teaching programs for developing players. Group instruction, such as our instructional leagues and developmental classes, can provide a set of fundamental skills the player can build on, and they include some play time. Summer camps provide intense training over a short period of time. Private instruction is helpful in identifying and correcting weak areas, or to perfect the player's technique. Experienced players utilize summer camps and private lessons to hone their skills as well.