Youth

USAV SportKit DVD
The new USA Volleyball SportKit DVD (2013-2016 version) is now available to help all USAV Clubs, P.E. teachers and school coaches, and affiliated organizations like YMCAs and Park & Recs.

The DVD contains free books, skill and drill videos (both indoor and ParaVolley to show the game-like similarities), posters, handouts, quizzes, court creation ideas and much more. It has sections for elementary, junior high and high school aged athletes and programs. The DVD is also free to copy to give out to parents, players, teachers or coaches during your own program’s training and clinics. Marty Miller out of the Iowa Region has his young players write a thank you letter to their P.E. teacher for helping them, and as a gift, they give the teacher the DVD, a great example of empowering the kids rather than adults doing all the work. USAV regions mail them to anyone interested in starting new programs, as the recipients get decades worth of experience and ideas to grow the game with USA Volleyball. Send us your mailing address to mvp@usav.org to get a copy at no cost.

Positive and Negative Errors
This is a 2x6 graphic, we have placed 2 of them in a PDF that you can download here. The purpose of this visual is to remind players and coaches of the differences between positive and negative errors. We suggest getting them laminated and hanging one on both sides of the net during practices or clinics. Spanish and Italian versions, download here.

FIVB Cool Volley Program
The FIVB created a Cool Volley Program that is a great adaption to the USAV Minivolley program book, simply making all competition 2 vs 2, to maximize contacts per player at all times.

11U: Two-Point Incentive Rule
If after a team has three consecutive contacts, AND the ball goes over the net, AND it results in a point without coming back over, that team will be awarded two points instead of one.

A Volleyball Kids Coloring Book
Give your child, youth teams or nieces and nephews a copy of this ALL volleyball characters coloring book. Sitting volleyball is also included! If you have a volleyball drawing that you have done and wish to donate to the next edition, email it to mvp@usav.org.

USA Volleyball Crossword Puzzle H
Here is a fun volleyball based crossword puzzle that you can download for your players to test their knowledge of the game.

Coloring Book Competition
Dennis Belaire, coach of a 12U team with the Skill Ignition Volleyball Club, emailed USAV to share this great idea in using the coloring book. He writes, "My ‘creativity meter’ has been working overtime lately. I've incorporated four children's board games into my practices and they have proven to be a BLAST (Chutes and Ladders, Trouble, Sorry, and Connect Four). Well, my daughter is a teacher and a former volleyball player. We got to talking the other day and for whatever reason, I brought up John's ‘volleyball coloring book’ for her to use with her young students and, well, it ‘hatched’ an idea in my head. There's a couple of pictures of a grasshopper playing volleyball, and I got the bright idea of doing a variation of ‘paint by numbers’ with each drawing, but using crayons. I lightly numbered each picture with 14 different colors to be filled in.

"The team that won the ‘served rally’ gets to color in one number and the team that wins the ensuing rally can color in one number. So, a team COULD win two chances to color in a number. I added a time component to make it more challenging. I gave them 20 seconds to color. Keeping with the Easter theme (see "hatched" earlier...LOL), I awarded the winning team with ‘Peeps.’ I allowed them with their 20 seconds to color in previous numbers or start on a new number. Again, it was a BLAST and it was fiercely contested coloring contest, unlike anything I've ever witnessed.

“Yet another idea for using that coloring book ... Instead of doing a ‘color by numbers’ in the format we did it last night, you could pick "X" number of crayons/colors and have each color crayon correspond to a specific volleyball skill that is performed. For example: BLUE = any 3-hit attack kill, RED = and ACE serve, BROWN = any KILL of an overpass, GREEN = any deep (>15-18' from the net) non overhand killed ball, YELLOW = any terminated tip...and so on. This way, as the coach, you can divide the picture up as fine as you want (you can have 2 of each color, or 10 of each color, it's up to you) and reward the plays that YOU want to reward.”

Novice Recreation Program
Form teams of novice players based on age from elementary and middle schools. High school players are the coaches of the younger teams and practices are overseen by the adult coaches. Charge a minimal amount to cover costs of promotions, T-shirts, and awards. Hold hour long practices twice a week for six weeks. At the conclusion of the practices the high school players will coach their team against the other teams in a "City Championship" event.

Coaching to Learn
That which you teach, you learn. You will be a better player if you coach. Both these statements are something every coach and teacher agrees are true. Yet if you query nearly every junior national team or high school program as to how much during their season do they let their athletes coach kids as part of practice, their answer is invariably "Never..." or "In our summer camps we do."

One of the videos on the MVP CDs is of Lions Cup - the elementary school championships of Japan. In my time working with the Japanese schools, I was amazed to see practices after school being led first by the 4th-6th graders, as they coached the 1st-3rd graders for 30-45 minutes. Then the younger kids would leave and the school coach would work with the older kids for the second half of practice. Half their training time found these older elementary kids learning by teaching the sport to others.

What some clubs have started to greatly benefit from is the same concept; letting their older kids during their season and practice, routinely coach kids younger than themselves. A club of four teams would train younger kids for one hour once or twice a week. The club might have their 18s teach within their club, helping those kids who are going to follow in the footsteps of their program. That is a great thing, but even more impactful is to reach out to youth outside your program. For example, make the first Tuesday of the month, for half a practice, time for your 18s players to coach kids who come to their practice from other kids groups, who want to learn/experience good volleyball. The next Tuesday the 16s teach the same program group of young kids, and so on through the month before the cycle begins again. For the kids coming, every Tuesday is volleyball training, while to your program, each team only does this once or twice a month. Add in a Friday night 3-hour jamboree event once a month, or one on Saturday morning to make an all morning "practice" and you have a great youth program feeding the future of our sport, while helping your players become better as well.

Kidz Kourt
Kidz Kourt is a USAV program to involve USA Volleyball players’ younger brothers, sisters and friends in a fun and educational volleyball experience while at a tournament. All kids from 3 to 12 years of age that are interested can be involved. The goal is to introduce young kids to the skills of volleyball through recreational play, making them become aware of the lifetime possibilities of this exciting team sport. Kidz Kourt can take place in any area deemed suitable and safe. Examples include:  a. An extra court   b. An unused meeting room in the convention center or gymnasium that is clear of tables and chairs.

All that is needed is a safe space, a net, and some version of a light volleyball, along with a supervising adult to instruct and guide their games. If you are playing at a college, see if the padded wrestling room is available!

Little Brothers - Little Sisters - Little Friends
Using the "teach to learn" volleyball principle, your program is requested to start including once or twice a week training of around an hour for the younger children of the families in your program, and their friends. The team sizes can vary between two, three or four - and teams do not have to be the same numbers of players to compete (i.e. three-person teams can play vs. four person or two person teams). The courts of course should be smaller and the volleyballs lighter than regulation. At times, the older players should step in and play with teams, primarily in the setter position so they can improve errant passes and deliver better off the net sets to the younger kids.

Add Extenders to Badminton Courts
If you use a gym which has badminton standards and courts available, raising the nets gives you a few GREAT kids’ volleyball courts for 7-14 year-olds. You simply buy thick walled PVC pipe of the right diameter that can slide over the top of your badminton standard and can be stopped after sheathing the standard a certain distance. Now put the badminton net up to a good volleyball playing height for the age group you are working with, and play using the badminton court lines as your court lines. They are wonderful two, three and four person courts for kids and for older kids to warm up and train on. If your badminton standards are portable, you can move them to the endlines of the normal badminton courts and tie two badminton nets together, or use a rope, and run them down the center of the badminton court. Now you have THREE little kids’ volleyball courts. These littler kids may not even need the standards to be extended, as the badminton net height is perfect for letting them spike and even block and have fun on a lowered net. The endline is the new kid’s court sideline, and the 2-meter badminton lines are the other sidelines. The sidelines are thus the new endlines, or you can extend them with markers to be longer if desired.

Adopt a Starlings USA Program
There are some 40 Starlings USA programs, for economically disadvantaged area youth, around the USA. This group is a Member Organization of USA Volleyball, like the Girl Scouts, and other youth groups, but volleyball is the way life's lessons are taught. Connect with one in your area, or consider helping start a new program. USAV/RVA Grant monies and/or reduced fees are available to help with this growth area. Go to www.starlings.org for more information.

Start an Elementary School or Middle School State/City Championships
If you build it, they will come, is the concept from the movie Field of Dreams. The same is happening in states and larger cities around America, as USA Volleyball leaders create season ending events for school teams. The key ways for this to be a big success is to first find an available multi-court playing site because having everyone playing under one roof is crucial. The event needs to be at the end of the traditional school season volleyball period for your state or city – weather it is fall, winter, or spring. If volleyball is not offered as a school program, contact the PE teachers and ask them to field and train a coed or single gender group for a few weeks and then compete in your Championships against the other schools.

Day Care Programming
Two options here: one is to provide the SportKit DVD and help day care centers create small "volleyball courts" in their facilities, using the ideas of rope courts, badminton courts and the like for courts, and balloons, beach balls, balloon balls, playground balls, and light volleyballs to play with. Arrange a day to send each player out with a parent to each day care you find in the yellow pages, and have them teach the day care provider and kids the ideas for making youth volleyball fun. The second idea is to invite the day cares to your practices if you hold early practices right after school, much like the other member organization connections.

Create a Day Care City Jamboree, where your program and facility hosts all of them on a day the older kids are not in school, such as a teacher work day. If that does not fit, in the summer you could have a 3-5 day day care summer camp sessions as part of either a camp you run in June or July, or for high school programs as a week in your pre-season. Run it either from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or 1-4 p.m. (mornings are better for littler kids due to afternoon heat).

USAV League/Youth Memberships
One little-used insurance option for many of these "league" programs is the USAV league insurance. The insurance can be used for events taking up no more than four hours in one day, and lasting no more than 16 total hours of competition. The intent is to get teams/programs connected to USA Volleyball and covered by insurance, who only play once or twice a week for an hour. Costs are lower for two, three- and four-person teams, over the six-person package. USAV decals can be given to every participant for less than 10 cents a person. The per person cost is determined by the USAV region, but an average per person cost is often less than $5 for the entire league.

The many “Teach to Learn” programs covered here, with young kids coming to learn, can fit perfectly into this league membership, so every player and your program is covered by insurance at a much reduced cost per child. An eight-week "Kidz Kourt" League could also work with one hour on Tuesday training, and one hour for Thursday games. It can also happen with 4-5 weeks of one-hour training once a week, followed by a three-hour league tournament. Then 4-5 more weeks of once a week one-hour training and a "season ending" three-hour league finals. More recently, USA Volleyball has created an annual youth membership option to RVAs for players 11 & under, which still gives the USA Volleyball magazine subscription and full annual insurance for $15 or less. This membership does not count towards the full membership 12 and under bid numbers, and thus is not for players/teams who wish to play in the national championships. It is for local, regional and intra-regional competition.

Parent/Child Teams Competition
Your program should create a tradition of hosting kids and parent competitions in some format or another. For a club, this could take place any weekend that makes sense within your overall planning. For a region or large city, this can be most fun on Mother's Day and Father's Day weekends. Weather permitting; this can be done on grass or sand courts, or for some regions, indoors for Mother's Day. Doubles is most common but triples - where a team is a family group with substitutions allowed for other family members is an option. Pools of three, fighting out to 2-0, 1-1 and 0-2 groups for the next round of the event. As many families have more than one child playing volleyball, your regulations for the doubles tournament option should allow the team to substitute one child for another. Just make sure the team plays in the higher age group bracket, or a brother and sister combination play in the parent/son division.

Thirty Kids and Two Volleyballs
These are suggestions to create as fun and valuable a training situation for programs that only have one to two volleyballs, one "net" and one court. This happens to be a common situation for many teachers in the world. The core changes you should consider begins with doing stations. You can get 24 kids active, by playing four groups of six, playing over the regulation net with one group, while playing triples over a rope with another group. Taking two 2x4s and making them into an "X" and staking the rope into the ground, you can make many more "nets" on the flat areas. Continue to teach the game to the other eight or more kids who do not have a ball, by creating conditioning stations, invisible ball station, or beach or soccer ball stations.

Rewards
At appropriate times, deserving kids could be rewarded based upon Hustle (a spray painted gold spark plug), improvement (a gold butterfly, showing the change and growth), character, and skills (again you can spray paint). The "best" teammate might be given a college or even USA national team replica jersey to wear for the next practice or series of practices. Give glow in the dark stars or other figures to the kids for shining so brightly on the court or accomplishing a new skill. They will turn off the lights in their room every night, and remember when you caught them doing things right and rewarding them. Have officials, coaches, and administrator's give away the popular plastic bracelets with program logo/web site as a thanks for doing a great job in the tournaments. Create topical awards, based on the news and movies of the month, such as Jody Webber's kids out of Oklahoma creating the seagull award- taken from the seagulls in the Finding Nemo movie who always said "Mine, Mine, Mine"- they used that movie reference to teach the kids to call the ball. If you can afford it, giving top kids in these areas their own volleyball is a huge push for the future.

Success Store
Jimmy Peden from the Palmetto RVA shares why we like real dollar stores for affordable award ideas and suggests this: Go to www.funexpress.com and buy $100 worth of trinkets and get a lot of stuff. This is the award box full of these goodies for successful accomplishments by the players. Could be three serves over in row, pass to target X times, 2 v 2 tourney play with winners, etc. They LOVE IT.