About Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club
NFVB is an organization that promotes girls volleyball in the Niagara Region. It is a USA Volleyball sanctioned (i.e., “club”) program which operates in the Western Empire Region of USA Volleyball. As such, it offers various levels of programming (i.e., teams of differing levels) to meet the needs of individuals interested in bettering their skills in volleyball.
Geographic Area of Operation
NFVB operates in the Western NY area, specifically Buffalo, NY and its extended communities. NFVB typically draws athletes from within 50 miles of Buffalo, NY including Niagara Falls, the Tonawandas, Eden, Randolph, Attica and many additional communities all along the Lake’s edge to the west. This is only a sampling of the communities from which NFVB athletes come, as an athlete may come from any community within the boundaries of the WEVA organization.
Physical Area of Operation
NFVB is housed and operated out of the Buffalo Niagara Court Center (BNCC) in West Seneca, NY. Located at 425 Meyer Road, West Seneca, NY 14224. This facility houses all practices during the season as well as several tournaments locally. Because tournaments often draw a large number of teams, other local (i.e. Buffalo-area) sites may be used to house tournaments (e.g., St. Mary’s of Lancaster, Center Court Sports, etc.).
Levels of Play
The club is organized into 3 Tiers:
These teams, labeled with a 1, 2, or (in some seasons) 3, in our naming system (i.e. 15-1, 14-2, 16-3, etc.) have a 2- or 3- times per week practice schedule. They are the highest levels of NFVB’s skill performance, teaching and development.
Our 1s teams (i.e., 18-1, 17-1, 16-1, 15-1, 14-1, 13-1, 12-1) are our premier skill level. These are extremely competitive teams fielded by NFVB which challenge annually for USA Regional Championships and attempt to gain a qualifying bid to the USA National Tournament, which is held annually in July at a designated city within the continental US. In 2011, our 1s teams won 5 of the 7 age groups in our regional championships competition (run by WEVA – The Western Empire Volleyball Association – a region of USA Volleyball). All of these teams went on to compete in the Junior Olympic National Championships (called, J.O.s). At the national championships in 2011, both our 14-1s and 15-1s team finished 5th in the nation. In this way, then, the 1s teams are NFVB’s most competitive teams. As such, they feature an aggressive practice and competition schedule as well as an extended season (discussed below).
NFVB’s 2s teams (i.e., 18-2, 17-2, 16-2, 15-2, 14-2, 13-2, 12-2) are fielded to be competitive teams as well. They are expected to challenge regionally to be one of the top teams in the Western Empire. Almost all of our 2s teams finished in the top 5 in our 2011 regional championship competition. These feature a slightly less aggressive practice and competition schedule and a slightly shorter season (discussed below), but all are entered in a season-ending tournament.
NFVB’s 3s teams (i.e., 17-3, 16-3, 15-3, 14-3, 13-3) are fielded to be regionally competitive. They are expected to compete regionally and fall within the top eight teams at their age level in the Western Empire. All of our 3s teams (as White teams last season) qualified for the 2012 WEVA Regional Championship competition. These teams feature a less aggressive competition schedule and a season ending in May (discussed below).
Our local teams (i.e., Blue and Red) are designed to compete in a relatively close geographical location to Buffalo. These teams have a less exhaustive practice and competition schedule, and length of season. However, they are still designed to appeal to everyone from the newcomer to the committed volleyball athlete. Many of NFVB’s newcomers to the sport start at the local team level. They feature a full club length season (i.e., Jan-May) with good opportunity for both practice and competition.
NFVB has a house program which is composed of players that only train “in-house” at the BNCC. These players will participate in a 14 week season. The primary focus is on individual skill training with limited competition once a week in a 1.5-hour, Sunday night time slot.
House is designed to be an introductory level for athletes new to volleyball as well as for those athletes and families that have multiple commitments and cannot devote weekends to travel or participate in the traditional length club season (i.e., Dec/Jan to May/June).
The club season for volleyball runs after the fall HS volleyball sports season concludes. Typically, club seasons start in December (regular practices for travel 1′s and 2′s) or January (regular practices for Travel 3′s, Local and House) and end from mid-to-late May to the first week of July, depending upon the team. Our travel 1 teams typically run until June/July, finishing at USA Volleyball Nationals or at another season-ending tournament. Our travel 2′s, 3′s and Local teams will finish in mid to late May. Our house teams finish in mid April.
Travel teams feature the longest season of all teams in NFVB. For example, 1s teams are vying for a bid to the National Championships (aka J.O.s) and typically practice from early December to late June, and then attend the Junior National Championships which take place typically from the last week of June through the first week in July. Our 2s and 3s teams typically practice from early December to mid May.
Our 12s teams would be included in this group somewhat, as they typically begin practice in December, and depending upon the level of the team, will finish at nationals (12-1s) or in mid May (12-2s and 12 Blue).
Local teams typically begin practice the first week in January and continue through mid May.
House teams feature a 14-week season (2 more weeks than last year) running from early January through April.
The weekly practice schedule of NFVB’s teams varies based on the type (i.e., travel, local, house) and level (i.e., 1, 2, 3, Blue, Red) of the team.
All of our travel practice sessions are 90 minute sessions, and we typically expect athletes to arrive 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late. That said, athletes and their families should see practices as 2-hour sessions. Our time slots typically run weekday evenings between 5:30pm and 10pm.
Our 1s teams feature the most extensive practice schedule. They practice 3 evenings a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Our 2s teams practice 2 evenings a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and partner with our 1s teams during the practices. Our Travel 3′s practice twice per week on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Since 2008, NFVB has used a “master trainer” method of running practices in which all of our top travel teams practice concurrently led by a practice trainer teaching the highest technical skills while being supported by the specific coaches of those individual teams. This system allows for greater parody in practice of our top-level teams, and is one of our steps toward our goal of standardizing our training techniques and language, while continuing to provide excellent skill development in the sport of volleyball.
NFVB shifted to a “master trainer” method for our local teams as well which practice concurrently on Monday or Wednesday evenings led by a practice trainer who is supported by the specific coaches of those individual teams. Our local teams (identified by colors) practice one day a week. On occasion, extra practices for local teams may become available on Sunday evenings when travel teams are on the road.
Our house players train one night a week. Their practices and occasional in-house competitions occur on Sunday nights between 6:30pm and 9:30pm (practice time and competition slots vary). Each group is assigned a coach and is also lead by a “master trainer” that develops practice plans for player development.
All of our teams’ schedules are developed and monitored by NFVBs Director as well as the Board of Directors. Schedules are not picked by our individual coaches, but rather determined by our administration in an effort to ensure a more appropriate match between the level of competition and the annual skill level of each team.
For example, our 1s, 2s teams may travel to a qualifier (i.e., besides the regional championship, USA Volleyball fields 10 “Qualifiers” – Qualifying events – as a means of offering bids to the national championship). Qualifiers contain higher levels of competition as other teams are there to challenge themselves and to vie for a bid to the Junior National Championships. USA volleyball offers different levels of qualifying tournaments. Open is the most elite. Our 1s teams typically aim to participate in the open division (though they may participate in the club division).
To round out the competition schedule, travel teams (1s, 2s) will also participate in Ohio Valley Region (OVR) national and/or regional challenges, select WEVA tournaments (our region, Western Empire), events down the east coast and possibly a tournament in the Pittsburgh area, or somewhere else in the state of Pennsylvania.
Our local teams would not be sent to a qualifying tournaments as this doesn’t align with the philosophy of matching competition schedule to the appropriate type (i.e., travel, local, house) and level of our teams. They typically participate in multiple WEVA tournaments varying in location from Buffalo to Rochester to Jamestown. Many of them will play in at least three or four tournaments in our practice facility, the BNCC.
NFVB has a tiered fee structure system for individuals participating in club. Generally speaking, our types (i.e., travel, local, house) of teams feature a different cost structure. That is, in the same way that travel teams feature more extensive schedules than local teams, the cost of participation on travel teams is greater than that of being on local teams.
Those differences in cost, however, are attributed to the differences in skill training and preparation in volleyball. Athletes playing on travel 1s teams practice 3 times per week, 2s teams practice 2 times per week, local teams practice 1 time per week - and the season lengths for each are shorter, respectively. In addition, travel distances for 1s teams are more substantial than those of 2s teams.
Generally speaking, travel costs are excluded from the club’s fees, as is the Registration/Tryout fee paid each fall to tryout. That means that athletes/parents are responsible for gas, food, lodging, etc. at tournaments. This includes arranging transportation to and from practices and tournaments.
Uniforms, coaches, practice time, tournament fees, etc. are all included in athletes fees. For more information on what is included in the fees, please see the FEES page which will be updated very soon.
We at NFVB believe in our organization and its efforts to increase young athletes’ level of skill and understanding of the game of volleyball in Western NY. We have provided as much information here as possible to answer any questions you may have. Our programs are set up to offer a wide variety of opportunities to connect with our programming.
We understand that families face many constraints (i.e., financial, time limitations, etc.) and have designed our programs in the attempt to create a place for every young athlete wanting to participate in “club” volleyball an appropriate level to meet their needs.
If after reading the info on our website, you still have questions, please contact the director or the appropriate coordinator via the form on the home page. NFVB has different individuals responsible for fielding questions related to: our house program, local teams, travel teams, website, etc. The opportunities for development of skills in a sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime are within your reach! Contact us today to register for a place in Niagara Frontier Volleyball.