USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body for the sport of volleyball in the United States. We run and manage the USA National Men's and Women's Volleyball Teams, the USA Olympic Teams, and also USA Youth and Junior National Teams for each gender. The Youth and Junior National Teams, along with a number of tiered training programs, fall under the High Performance Department, or HP.
The High Performance Department works to advance volleyball talent and build a broader and stronger pipeline of athletes and coaches for our USA Olympic Teams. The High Performance Program bridges the gap between our USA National Teams and youth volleyball programs across the country. This is done through a system of national tryouts which then qualify athletes for training programs, camps, and Youth and Junior National Teams. The HP Program at USA Volleyball is the “Pipeline” for volleyball athletes who aspire to reach the elite level of their sport and is intended to grow the pool of talented young players who may someday compete for a spot on the USA National and Olympic Teams.
The HP Program and Athlete Pipeline include players of each gender in five age groups that are based on the birth year of the athlete. Those age groups are referred to as Senior (oldest) Junior, Youth, Select, and Future Select (youngest). These age groups are determined by an athlete's year of birth using mandatory international criteria beginning approximately when they are 11 or 12 years old as Future Select athletes and continues for eight seasons through the Junior age group, often into their collegiate years. Many athletes also continue through their college years in the Senior age group in the Senior A2 Program, US National Training Team, US National Team, and ultimately, the USA Olympic Team.
High Performance Age-Group Definitions
Attending a National HP Tryout is a prerequisite for entry into any USAV HP Program. Each year, athletes attend tryouts held across the country and are evaluated by USA Volleyball HP Pipeline Coaches. HP Coaches and staff then combine all tryout evaluations from each age group and rank players based on overall skill, positional skill, athleticism, and potential. Based on this ranking system, athletes are then invited to attend one of our program levels. As athletes participate in our programs each year, we keep track of their progression, working to help each athlete reach their potential and to help develop the next USA Volleyball Olympian.
Athlete who move up the Pipeline who are Junior age or older are eligible to attend the Women’s National Team Tryout, held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs each February. From that tryout, the Women’s A2 Team Programs are chosen and athletes may be selected directly from the tryout for the Women’s National Training Team. Often, athletes will play on the A2 Team and are then selected to move up to train with the National Team to compete for a position. Athletes from the National Training Team are then eligible to be chosen for the squad that attends the Olympic Games.
The goals of the USA Volleyball High Performance Program include:
To bring young volleyball athletes together in challenging and rewarding training environments;
To provide them the opportunity to learn and develop with the best coaches in the USA Coaches' Pipeline and to compete at the elite and international levels;
To grow the number of opportunities available to volleyball athletes, the number of high-level matches that they are able to play, and the amount of time they are able to train:
To enter High Performance teams in all FIVB or related international events possible, and;
To consistently prepare a broad pool of qualified and experienced athletes available to compete for spots on the USA Men's and Women's National Teams.
What do all of the program acronyms mean?
We use acronyms to help shorten the terminology of our programs – with 30+ programs run each year, spelling everything out would create quite a headache.
1. Gender – The first letter of the acronym refers to the gender of the athlete - male or female. Men’s programs start with a “B” (boys) or “M” (men’s), while women’s programs start with a “G” (girls’) or “W” (women’s).
2. FIVB Age Group – The second letter of the acronym refers to the age group of the program:
“J” for Junior
“Y” for Youth
“S” for Select
“FSL” for Future Select
3. USAV HP Program – The final 2-3 letters refer to the program, listed below in order of program level:
“NT” or “NTT” – Top level of programming offered in the country, “National Team” or “National Training Team”
“A1” – Top level of programming for the Select age group, National Training Team Level. Athletes in this level are in top consideration for a spot in the Youth or Junior National Team Programs the following year.
“A2” – A2 National Invitational Team Program
“CT” – Continental Team Program, level equivalent to Region HP Programs for athletes who come from USA Volleyball Regions that do not sponsor a Region High Performance Team that attends HP Championships
“A3” – National A3 Training Program
“SP” – National Skills Program (Select age group only)