Monday, October 22, 2012

PVA, Performance Volleyball Academy

Club Director: Christi Lutman
Fees: $675- $2800

PVA is a premiere club. One of my daughters played for them last year and it was a great experience, intense but great. For the athlete who pushes themselves to do better this is the club for you. If you have an athlete who is comfortable with being middle of the pack I would suggest going to another club. To be happy in this club, the player will need to be able to push their skills to the limit and never give up. The coaches with PVA are highly trained and are some of the best I have seen. PVA also has a new 80,000 sq ft facility in Overland Park. I contacted players and parents to get their reviews and have not received a response from anyone yet.  Below info was taken from PVA's website.

Mission Statement
PVA will provide a rigorous volleyball experience that empowers each player to realize what it takes to become a CHAMPION.  PVA will commit themselves to teaching and training individuals sportsmanship, self confidence, and the principals involved in being an exceptional athlete.  PVA will prepare their athletes to be ready to compete at the next level.

Club Structure
PVA is geared to the athlete searching for a club program that puts volleyball at the forefront of their lives. We desire competitive, driven athletes who desire a high level of training and competition.

It is PVA’s belief that in order to achieve greatness -both personal and athletic- coach, player, parent and staff must work together to develop a relationship which puts the team and players first. Our complete fee structure and itemized expense breakdown are available at our informational meeting. Additionally, PVA costs are all inclusive excluding national and local travel for the coaches and are highly competitive with other organizations.

Teams within PVA will compete both regionally and nationally. Travel is directed by the club directors.  PVA will take all their National level teams to the same qualifiers.  National travel is designed to expose our athletes to college coaches and recruiters, and expose our players to a higher level of play they don't get to see at home. 

Southside Swarm VBC Review

Club Director: Chris Heman
Flub Fees: $695-$1150

I have had many opportunities to see Swarm teams play and see their coaching styles. Overall as a whole, Swarm is a great club to play for. I have met and like the club director very much. I do have a few concerns though.  My concerns lie with the individual coaches.

Some of the Swarm coaches only experience is in coaching park and rec teams. I feel not all of their coaches make the mark. One coach in particular I have experience with. We played against each other many times. I observed him become quite belligerent when his team was loosing. I witnessed girls brought to tears and parents irate with his behavior. Another coach I witnessed as the director of a tournament. She was great. She was quite the opposite of the coach before mentioned. She knew how to bring the best out of her players, which is exactly what a coach is supposed to do.
Parents who daughters played for Southside Swarm gave me the following comments.

" We loved playing for Swarm. The coach was great and we had a successful team."

" The overall experience was okay. We had a coach who seemed less knowledgeable about volleyball than we thought they should be. The coach was good at individual skills, but lacked the ability to teach and coach the game, like setter rotation and transition."

" Our team did very well. We liked the coach and their style of coaching. Our daughter improved a lot while playing for Swarm"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Invasion Volleyball Club Review

Invasion Volleyball Club
Director: Cliff Robinson
Fees:$1200-$2400 (Current 2012 fees not posted)

Invasion is one of the most sought after clubs in the KC metro. Is it worth the hype.....Yes....and No.  They do attract many top level players and their coaching staff is Top, but they also have flaws I feel are worth mentioning. If your daughter cannot handle intense coaching tactics,  this club is not for you. If your daughter can push herself and accept intense coaches then maybe this is the club for her. Many coaches don't know how to motivate without yelling, and harsh words. I have heard this may be an issue with Invasion coaches. My personal belief is you can coach with love and respect. As a coach I can honestly say that I loved each girl I coached like a daughter. I tried to remember that young girls are already susceptible to poor self esteem and put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect. As a coach to young girls it is their job to increase their abilities with out berating them in the process. Read on to hear what players and parents had to say about invasion.

"I was so happy when they offered my daughter a spot on a team, only to rescind their offer when it was too late for my daughter to tryout for another club."

 The problem, this is against HOA Volleyball Rules.   HOA site Here

"Our experience with Invasion was wonderful. We had quality coaches and a great group of girls."

"Our daughter played one year for Invasion. She hated every minute of it. She refused to tryout for them again and went on to play for Swarm." 

"I played 4 years for Invasion and was recruited for a Division I college, where I am still playing."

"Our daughter cried on the way home from every practice. She  felt picked on by her coaches. When we went to the coaches they stopped coaching her all together."

**UPDATE 10/24/2012**
Last night one of my daughters attended an Invasion Open Gym. Overall It went well and was run smoothly. Immediately the coach chose 4 girls to be the setters he obviously knew them from previous experience, other girls who were also setters did not have the chance to set. I bring this up because it is an open gym where the girls should be able to work on not only their all around skills but their position they play also.

Saturday, November 3rd:
13's - 8:00-10:00 AM
14's - 11:00-1:00 PM
11's & 12's - 2:00-4:00 PM
Saturday, November 10th:
15's - 8:00-10:00 AM
16's - 11:00-1:00 PM
17's & 18's - 2:00-4:00 PM

Next review Southside Swarm

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BVAC Attack

Club Director: Becky Elkins
Fees: $500-$700 (this years current fees not posted)

BVAC Attack has come a long way from previous years. In the past they had little talent on their teams. I have personally seen their talent grow over the last two years. Is BVAC worth it...Yes but mainly because their fees match the level of coaching they provide. Many parents I spoke to were thrilled with their teams, a few expressed coaching concerns. They do have a what I consider a mostly novice coaching staff. One coach in particular was described to me as belligerent. He supposedly uses profanity more often than words from the dictionary. At a fundraiser he reportedly was so drunk parents spoke of it for weeks. I know I would not want one of my daughters on his team. I had the opportunity to speak to previous players of mine and their moms, who played for BVAC last year.

One said they were happy with the experience they had playing for BVAC. They liked the coach and felt like personally as a player she grew a lot. Their team as a whole ended up doing pretty well and the player when asked said "I loved it" She was happy and felt successful, what more could a parent ask for.

Another of my previous players played on another BVAC team. She happened to play for the coach mentioned above who drinks too much and has a potty mouth. Her mother expressed that her daughter progressed very little playing on that team and wished she had known about the coach before trying out.

I have noticed that any girls that I have coached who play for BVAC tend to be at the higher end of the talent pool and are placed on their gold teams. If your daughter is a moderate player you can expect her to look like a superstar at BVAC's open gyms and tryouts:)

Our next review will be on Invasion Volleyball

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Southern Elite VBC Review

Southern Elite VBC
Club Director- Bre Barnes

Silver $695 Select $895 Gold $995 Force $1295

Should you consider trying out for Southern Elite VBC? I have mixed feeling on this. They are worth the fees that is sure but the atmosphere is not healthy for young girls to be in. There are other clubs out there that are competitive yet foster a great attitude and environment for these young girls to learn in.

I had a hard time finding parents willing to allow me to publish their experience with Southern Elite. Many feared their daughters being punished or worse released from their team, if they were ever found out. So I decided to use my own personal experience.

One of my daughters went to both their open gym and their tryout last year. Upon arrival she said she just felt like a piece of meat. The coaches were so short an impersonal compared to other clubs she has participated with.  I stayed and watched the open gym. They did not follow HOA rules for open gyms. They separated girls into modified skill level, which is a no no. They took a group and worked with them on setting. My daughter is a setter and every time she asked to join the setters she was told she would get a chance, but they never allowed her to set. Not at the open gym or the tryouts. She ended up playing for PVA as a setter which is a much more elite club, though it too is not without flaws.

The only comments I could get Southern Elite members to allow me to publish is as follows;

"Bre Barnes is a nut job"
"My daughter learned and improved despite our coaches lack of coaching skills"
"We had a good coach, but she wasn't able to bring the girls together as a team"
"The director is really intense, and the overall atmosphere is tense"
"My daughter thoroughly enjoyed her team and coach"
"Our team was very successful and we enjoyed the experience"

Our next review is BVAC. If you have any comments about BVAC please let me know.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Boost Volleyball Review

Boost Volleyball
Club Fees Gold $1975 Silver $1490

Should you give Boost Volleyball a chance? I want to say no but I have recently learned they have a new director. So my answer is...Maybe. But the price, I feel the price for this club is too steep. They are not established enough to warrant that price level. Also their main facility is not up to standards. Their court is too small and has a dangerous ledge in the serving position. I think your money is better spent elsewhere.Read on to hear from a parent.

The following was submitted anonymously from a mother a a girl who played for the club Boost last year.

"Our experience with Boost Volleyball started off well, but ended bad. Boost promised individual training with a trainer. We went to training sessions every Sunday, it was a waste of time we had 30 minutes conditioning 30 minutes skill training. It just wasn't enough to help. The conditioning done by the coach was much better. We had a great coach who really cared about the girls and their individual skills and their team skills. Our team was a mess, passing was poor, hitting was not good and we did not have a setter. She worked with the girls individually and as a team. In less than 4 weeks she had brought the girls individual skills up and team skills to a much higher level. One night we scrimmaged with the other team in our age group who was supposed to be the gold team, we kicked their keesters. Within one week of that scrimmage our coach was replaced without even asking parents. She was replaced less than a week before our first tournament. Not only did they replace the coach they cut our  practice time an hour per week. Over all we lost more than 20 hours of practice time we paid for. Our new coach was a nice guy but he didn't know how to relate to or coach girls this age and he seemed pre occupied with the other team he coached. we stopped progressing as a team. I honestly believe that was the intent Boost Volleyball director had in replacing our coach like she did. She wanted our team to fail."

The purpose of club volleyball is to allow players to grow and excel. Removing 20 hours of practice time from a team can seriously stunt their growth individually and as a team. I cant say what the reasons were behind such an abrupt decision. I have been in club volleyball both as a coach and a player and there is no reason for a director to behave the way the director did and to cut practice time on a team who needed that time. Could 20 hours of practice really made a difference...Yes, yes it could. I cannot speculate what the directors reasons were or why she made the decisions she did, but I think she made a bad decision.

Boost Volleyball has a new director for 2012-2013 Jennifer Hart has replaced Erin Wilson.
It should be noted that Erin Wilson has started a new club Summit Volleyball club. Information I chose not to publish makes me leery of any club she is involved in.  Do your homework.

Next review will be Southern Elite Volleyball. If your child has played for Southern Elite Please let me know your experience.
Welcome to our first post:) If you haven't read my about me section to the right of this post here it is in greater detail. I feel that I need to outline not only the qualifications that make me the right person to write this blog, but also the things I feel everyone should know about the clubs they are considering.

My love for volleyball started when I began watching my older sisters play, I was 8 years old. I watched them play for 3 years before I was old enough to play. I played on a 12's Club team when I was 10 yrs old. I played club volleyball for the next 8 years while also playing in middle school and high school. I went on to play college MH(middle hitter) and OH(outside hitter). I had 3 very successful college seasons and then left play after a serious injury prevented me from playing for 18 months. I then got married had a few kiddos and started coaching.

My coaching career started with a park and rec team who the bulk of the team stayed together and they went undefeated for 8 seasons. I then took those same girls and started a club team. They played together till they were 16 and for the three years of club play that I coached them they were ranked between 29-40 out of 180 teams. They did very well. I went on to coach with another club for 2 years and then a another for 1 and I stopped coaching 2011. Throughout my coaching career I have coached over 75 girls ages 10-17. In the years I spent coaching the dynamic of the club mentality changed significantly.

Clubs went from wanting to enrich players individual and team abilities to their sole purpose of making money. It is this shift in dynamic that possesses me to write this blog. My last year as a coach I was excited to coach for a club who I thought had the same views and goals toward a club as I did. I was unfortunately wrong. They were only a club to create a business income. I witnessed them move girls from their age group up to the year older when they were not ready to play at the upper age group. I watched them have enough talent for one team but create a second team in an age group when their wasn't enough talent to create a successful team. They created a second team they knew and told the coach wouldn't have a chance to succeed. Practices like this and much worse happen in many clubs. Their are clubs out there that still hold to some sort of values on individual skills enrichment and I hope to help you find them.

Please share with me your personal experiences with club volleyball. All submissions will be confidential.