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Club Handbook

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Club Handbook
for Players and Parents

2019 Edition

The Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club reserves the right to add or amend the information herein as changes become relevant throughout the season. Every attempt will be made to contact the club members regarding major policy changes, however, the club asks parents and players to occasionally refer to and familiarize themselves with this document prior to and during the season.

The following Table of Contents can be used to jump to appropriate section of the Handbook.

Club Mission
Mission Statement
Beliefs

The Start of the Season
WEVA Membership
Medical Release Form
Team Parent Meetings and Agenda

Coaches Code of Conduct
Coach Education

Club Attendance Policy
Player Attendance
Multi-Sport Athletes

Tryouts
Team Selection Process
Playing Up Policy

Tournaments and Events
Tournament Scheduling
Team and Individual Travel
Hotel Stay

NFVB Club Communication
General Communication
In the NFVB Offices
Tournament Information
Weather Announcements

Club Evaluation Process
Website, Facebook and Social Media
Grievance Procedures
24 Hour Rule
Other Grievance Policies
Sexual & Physical Abuse Policies
Reporting Complaints

NFVB Teams and Level Structure

Travel Navy and Gold Team Philosophy
Player Participation on a Navy or Gold Team
Expectations of Travel Navy or Gold Team Coaches

Travel Red and Silver Team Philosophy
Player Participation on a Red or Silver Team
Expectations of Travel Red or Silver Team Coaches

Local Team Philosophy
Player Participation on a Local Team
Expectations of Local Coaches

NFVB Team Communication Guidelines
Routine Team Communication
Player to Coach
Player to Player
Parent to Parent
Parent to Player
Parents to Coach

Finding the best time to talk
Parents should be saying this… 

Playing Time Guidelines

Appendix
Parent Meeting Agenda

 

Club Mission

Mission Statement

The Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club was established to expand Junior Club volleyball in the WNY region by offering a greater opportunity for competitive play and an expertly-guided volleyball training experience.  Niagara Frontier Volleyball strives to offer young athletes the opportunity to develop skills that will enable them to excel and compete successfully at the interscholastic, regional, and/or national level of youth volleyball.

Beliefs

We are a community-based organization committed to training and developing student-athletes through competitive participation in the sport of volleyball.

We believe in providing a solid foundation of fundamental and technical skills to help participants develop, not only as athletes, but also as individuals.  Teaching positive, lifelong character traits, including sportsmanship, leadership, and cooperative teamwork, is an essential facet of our club’s commitment to developing the entire athlete.

Code of Conduct

All participants within the Western Empire Volleyball Association (WEVA), athletes, coaches, parents, referees, staff and spectators are expected to create a memorable atmosphere where everyone gets the most out of the shared experiences. The mission of all events sponsored by WEVA is to provide athletes with tests of their athletic talents while at the same time offering the entire community with opportunities to be enlightened by their experiences both on and off the court.

A mutually supportive atmosphere can only be created and maintained when everyone commits to embodying this spirit. The primary components of this spirit are family, friends, and fun. Families are encouraged to share in the joy of witnessing spirited competition and in sharing off-court special moments. Athletes are provided opportunities to strengthen bonds with their friends and family. All participants deserve to be provided with opportunities to join together to celebrate individual and collective achievement.

The WEVA Code of Conduct should be read and needs to be adhered to:  
http://www.wevavolleyball.org/PDF/Manuals/codeofconduct1.pdf

The WEVA Tryout, Registration and Recruiting Policy should also be read and needs to be adhered to:
http://www.wevavolleyball.org/PDF/Policies/WEVA_Tryout_Registration_Recruiting_Policy.pdf

Other documents and information regarding the WEVA Region can be found here:
http://www.wevavolleyball.org/index.asp

 

The Start of the Season

Following are a number of things that are necessary and/or mandatory to start the season. Any questions regarding this info or the completion of these documents can be directed to your team coaches or staff coordinators.  

  1. WEVA - A membership with the Western Empire Volleyball Association (WEVA) is required by all coaches, players and staff associated with our club. This membership, separate from tryout fees or team dues, most importantly covers our players and personnel with insurance at sanctioned events and practices. It also provides our club with services, education and representation under USA Volleyball.
    Players CAN NOT practice or be added to tournament rosters until their WEVA membership is current. The link to create a new membership, renew an existing membership or upgrade your membership (from Tryout to Full Regular Junior member) can be found here: http://www.wevavolleyball.org/G-Reg-O.asp#
  2. All players are required to submit a USAV Youth & Junior Volleyball Player MEDICAL RELEASE FORM to their coaches at the start of the season. This form, declaring that your player has medical insurance, is carried by the coach (and/or parents rep) at all times the the event of an emergency where a player needs medical treatment in the absence of their parents. This PDF form can be found, downloaded and filled out before printing here: 2019-Player-Medical-Release Form
  3. A Parent Meeting will be scheduled near the start of the practice season following the posting of final team rosters. The meetings will provide parents and players with information regarding club policies and expectations for the season. The Parent Meeting Agenda can be found near the end of this document by clicking HERE.
     

    Coach Education

    It is the intent of the NFVB staff to provide an on-going learning environment for its coaches.  Informally, this goal can be achieved through interaction between coaches and running practice sessions in which young coaches work with master coaches or other coaches with more experience.  However, in order to keep up with the ever-changing rules, regulations, and modes of play in the sport, all coaches will be encouraged or mandated (where necessary) to attend clinics offered through USA Volleyball, the WEVA region or other private educational organizations.

All NFVB Coaches must:

  • Attend an IMPACT clinic for certification (if not acquired in previous years).  This clinic is MANDATORY in order to coach USAV Junior Club Volleyball players. Classes are held within the WEVA region at the beginning of each season and can be taken online. More info on IMPACT classes can be found here: http://www.wevavolleyball.org/S-Clinic-O.asp
  • Complete a SAFE SPORT training class endorsed by the USAV Academy. Every two years all coaches must view the online SAFE SPORT video course to be eligible to work with a youth volleyball team. More info on the USA SafeSport program can be found here: http://www.wevavolleyball.org/pop-SafeSportRequirement.html

Club Attendance Policy

Player Attendance

Commitment to full attendance at practices and tournaments is critical to the team’s success however circumstances arise during the season due to personal and academic responsibilities. It is paramount that coaches record a weekly log of player attendance.  This documentation can aid you when challenged about an athlete’s play time and it is part of our final player evaluation.

Acceptable player absences

  1. Absences for academic, school athletic or religious functions within reason. Coaches should be notified via phone call or e-mail one week prior to the absence.
  2. Illness – Any illness that would keep you from going to school is accepted as an excused absence.
  3. Weather warnings in your area.

Unacceptable absences

  1. Participation on another outside club team or activity (AAU sports, outside recreational events, etc.)
  2. Homework is NOT an excuse for missing practice. Part of being a student-athlete is organizing your time to accommodate your studies and practice commitments.

Multi-Sport Athletes

Sports and other activities are an integral part of the high school experience. We make every effort to schedule practices to accommodate other activities and encourage participation in them. However, if an athlete participates in another high school sport, we expect the athlete to have good communication with her coach.

Tryouts

Policy and Procedure for Competitive Team Selection

Each year, the Niagara Frontier Volleyball club forms a Selection Committee that will select the rosters of all teams, as well as consider players who may “play up” on a team at an older age group. The team selection process begins during previous club seasons and includes in-person evaluation of high school matches, NFVB tryouts, and evaluation at post tryout practices. The data they consider throughout the team selection process include written evaluations from a player's former NFVB head and assistant coaches, recommendations from past and current High School coaches, and past years' player practice and tournament performance.  All this information combined, enables the committee to make a sound decision. Therefore, it stands to reason that a good amount of player placement consideration or pre-tryout evaluation may occur, especially in the older age groups, in order to expedite and streamline evaluations throughout the process. When the tryout process is complete, the Selection Committee will submit final rosters to the NFVB staff for posting on the web site.

“Playing Up” in an Older Age Group

The Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club believes that players will develop better at their age appropriate level than at an age level above. However, the club recognizes that, some talented players may exist that are physically and psychologically ready to be considered for the next age level within the club’s competitive team structure. NFVB recognizes the fact that when training top-level athletes, these athletes need to be challenged and pushed to ensure their continued development. In some cases this may be best achieved by allowing a player to compete with athletes in an older age group.

The Selection Committee will review each “Play Up” case, taking into consideration the individual athlete, the makeup of the team, and the vision of the club. NFVB also recognizes that allowing a player to compete outside their age group may, in some cases, be beneficial for the athlete, but is not in the best interest of the team or club.

With prior Selection Committee approval, players may attend tryouts and/or may be placed on teams in age groups OTHER than their own if they meet any one or all of the following criteria:

  1. There is a significant void at an upper age group in a certain position (Setter, Outside Hitter, Middle, Right Side, Libero) that cannot be adequately filled to meet the overall team skill level or tournament schedule.
  2. There is a surplus of quality players in a specific position in a lower age group.
  3. A player demonstrates ability that clearly puts them at the top of their class in their own age division as well as ability that clearly puts them into a role as a key player in the older age group.
  4. A player of advanced talent/mentality/skill/experience level whose development will likely be hindered due to skill level of players at his or her age level.
  5. A player who, at age, is one year below his or her grade level. (ex. A 16 year old at age level but who is a Junior in high school)

Additional criteria for consideration may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Parent/guardian must confirm in person willingness to “Play Up”
  • Recommendation of previous year’s coach;
  • Size: player is physically bigger and/or stronger than age-appropriate peers for fear of inadvertent harm/injury;
  • No grandfather clause. EACH YEAR the Selection Committee must approve a player trying out up in an older age group. Trying out “up” is not a guarantee that they will make a team in the older age group.

 

 

Tournaments and Events

Tournament Scheduling

Each team’s tournament schedule is decided upon by the club directors in conjunction with the tournament coordinator. Sensitivity is given to the predicted roster, skill level and budget of each team when choosing tournaments.

Team and Individual Travel

Please refer to the WEVA Team and Individual Travel Guidelines posted on the WEVA website: http://www.wevavolleyball.org/PDF/Policies/2010JuniorTravelPolicy.pdf

NFVB player travel to all tournaments will be at the responsibility of the parents. Athletes cannot drive themselves to tournaments as this may lead to situations like, getting lost, fatigue after playing or other circumstances. Athletes may not have their boyfriends or friends drive them to tournaments. It is recommended that the parent/guardian, an adult family member/relative or another NFVB parent drive the player to the hotel and tournament site. NFVB coaching staff and advisory board members will be keeping a close eye on this activity. NFVB will not give or be expected to provide any athletes a ride to tournament sites or hotels. If there is a unique situation, the coach must receive written permission from the athlete’s parent/guardian, releasing the coach of ALL LIABILITY. Players will be given information about the tournament location and what time to arrive to team meetings and to the venues on a daily basis. It is recommended that team meals be scheduled in advance and around play/work duties once the initial tournament/pool schedule is announced. Athletes will not be allowed to leave the tournament site until excused by the coach. Except in cases of true emergency, an athlete who has an officiating assignment may not leave a tournament before the assignment is completed.

Hotel Stays

NFVB tournament schedules often require travel outside our area for tournaments. Tournament Coordinators will provide hotel & playing facility information when required.

For events not pre-booked by NFVB or required for a given event, the coaches in conjunction with the team/parent rep may elect to use the club’s travel agency to aid in hotel searches, discounts and sometimes, complimentary amenities and/or rooms.

It is an expectation that all coaches and athletes stay at the team hotel with their teammates. Coaches can keep club expense to a minimum by sharing rooms with same sex coaches whenever possible. Male and female coaches may not share hotel rooms unless related. If a player cannot stay at the hotel, they must notify the coach and team representative; and provide information as to where they will be staying and provide cell phone contact information. That player will still be required to attend all team meetings, gatherings and meals unless excused by the coach.

NFVB Club Communication

General Communication

NFVB understands the importance of communication. In our efforts to provide constant communication, our website is the primary source of club information, weather announcements, team listings, practice schedules, and away tournament information. Please save our website in your favorites and access it often.

In addition to the website as a form of communication, emails and phone calls are important components of club correspondence. Anytime there are practice schedule changes, practice cancellations, or other team updates, NFVB coaches are required to contact parents by email; and follow-up phone call if necessary. It is important that parents (and coaches) keep their WEVA membership account and SPORTENGINE account profiles up to date. ALL e-mail addresses and phone contact information should be entered and the email accounts listed should be checked frequently.

Coaches will get notified by the NFVB staff and possibly by fellow coaches through the NFVB Coach e-mail distribution lists. Notify the directors if you are not receiving e-mails periodically sent out by the staff.

In the NFVB Offices

Players or Parents are not to enter any office space in the facility unless invited or accompanied by a coach or Niagara Frontier staff member.

Tournament Information

Pre-tournament information is often delayed and vague. The club directors will release the information to the coaches and coordinators as soon as it becomes available. Parents and guardians should familiarize themselves with any information that comes home with athletes. Parents should ask their players on a continual basis if they brought any information home with them. As we know, sometimes we may not see it unless we ask. Patience and cooperation is appreciated. If you have any questions, don’t refrain from asking at any time. Typically, local and regional tournament information is available between Monday-Wednesday the week of the tournament. It is recommended that coaches and parents go to tournament or regional websites to get information before it gets distributed by tournament directors.

Weather Announcements

Western New York is known for great winter weather. In the event of any closures or cancellations, announcements will be posted on the web site and on WGRZ, Channel 2.

The club administrators remain in contact with select coaches as well as club members living in each of the suburban areas surrounding the facility. If a majority of those contacts recommend the cancellation of practices then the following will be placed in effect…

  1. Post notification of a practice or event cancellation on the front page of our website www.NFVBjuniors.com by 3pm. Please note that a power outage can make posting a notification on our website impossible.
  2. on Channel 2 - WGRZ Storm Team 2 Closing Central via the TV ticker and their website at http://www.wgrz.com/closings/ under ORGANIZATIONS.
  3. All cancellations after 3pm will be at the discretion of the staff via text message to individual team members. Coaches ARE NOT authorized to cancel practices without prior consent from the Club directors.

Predicted weather will not dictate practice cancellation and the BNCC will only issue a facility closure if there are road closures or a driving ban in West Seneca, NY

We understand safety for our families is most important. We know some players are driving up from the Pennsylvania border as well as from Rochester. If coaches or players can’t get out of their driveway or after starting the trip, feel weather conditions make it unsafe to travel, staff and/or coaches should be notified as soon as possible before practice. Don’t ever feel like you need to brave the trip if the roads are bad. We expect that your call, text or e-mail will occur before practice. Of course, your decision should be based on safety, and not that you would prefer s’mores in front of the fireplace instead of going to practice.

DO NOT TRAVEL IF YOU DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE DRIVING TO PRACTICE! JUST NOTIFY YOUR COACHES!

Club Evaluation Process

NFVB believes that player and parent feedback is critical to the growth and development of our coaching staff as well as to the continual improvement of the club as an organization. To that end we have three mechanisms in place to solicit feedback:

  1. Form Submission Page on our website at www.NFVBjuniors.com. Comments and feedback is received and reviewed by the club administration and may be forwarded to appropriate parties when necessary.
  2. Comment Cards found at the bottom of the staircase near the coach's office in our facility. Comment Cards can be filled out and dropped in the mailbox at the bottom of the stairs.
  3. Meetings with Club Administration can be scheduled at any time during the season.

Our goal is to obtain constructive, actionable feedback. We welcome honest opinions and ask that coaches and parents be constructive in their feedback, as we may provide this to necessary parties. Personal attacks or venting are not welcome. Consider the type of evaluation you would want as a coach (or player) or from your supervisor at work.

Website, Facebook and Social Media

Our website www.NFVBjuniors.com has a lot of information and resources for parents or players. A directory exists on the website with email and phone numbers of all board members and coaches as well as our club’s mailing address.  By accepting a roster spot on a team or in the House Program, parents agree to post player names, pictures or recruiting information on the website. A player’s home address or other contact information will never be posted on the website.

The Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club has a Facebook page, Twitter account and an Instagram account. We encourage you to follow and post to the pages and update everyone with match results and pictures of our players and teams.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nfvbjuniors/

Twitter: @NFVBjuniors  - https://twitter.com/NFVBJuniors

Instagram: @NFVBjuniors  - https://www.instagram.com/nfvbjuniors/

Common hashtag to be used: #NFVBnation

Social media can sometimes have a negative role and we would encourage players and parents to use social media in a way that would NOT be disruptive to team chemistry and cohesion. A good rule of thumb is to not post anything that you would not feel comfortable saying directly to the team or particular person.

Grievances and Procedures

Knowing when and how to communicate with coaches or the club to resolve a conflict is a concern for every coach, player and every parent at some time during the season. We think the ability to confront and discuss potentially emotional topics is an absolutely necessary skill for negotiating conflict within one’s life. However, we also realize there are times a problem needs to be addressed and the involved parties cannot bring themselves to approach any form of dialogue. In this case, we HIGHLY encourage the coaches/parents, in a spirit of collaboration with the parents/coach, to produce the best environment for the player, to bring the issue to attention. Please do not let problems fester – it only makes things worse for everyone in trying to resolve issues.

  • We encourage player communication with their coaches.
  • If a parent feels that he or she must address a team situation, they are permitted to contact the coach 24 hours after the last game of a tournament to discuss their concerns. The coach will only address concerns regarding a parent’s own child.
  • At no time should a parent approach the coach during a game. No parent should come onto the court for any reason during competition. Parents must not contact any coach before 24 hours after a match to discuss a player situation unless the athletes safety in jeopardy.

 

24 Hour Rule

Both coaches and parents need to understand the importance of the club’s 24 Hour Rule for their protection. The order of a player or parent grievance should be as follows:

  1. The athlete should talk to the coach about the matter.

    1. It is understood at the younger ages (U13 or younger) sometimes the parent will be the first contact with the coach.

    2. If the matter remains unresolved, or if the athlete has reasonable concern that talking to the coach will not resolve the matter, then;

  2. The parent should request to talk to the coach.

    1. Parents and/or athletes should call the coach on the phone or email the coach to schedule a meeting.

    2. Meetings need to be at times and locations other than at tournaments. If a parent approaches a coach during a tournament, coaches should refuse to discuss any controversial matter, refer the parent to the Local or Travel Team Coordinator, and walk away from the parent.

    3. We ask that any meetings be at least 24 hours after the reason for that meeting.

    4. The recommended time for a parent or athlete to talk to a coach about a problem is a previously arranged time either before or immediately after a scheduled practice.

    5. In certain situations, we may ask the athlete to attend the meeting also.

    6. If the matter still remains unresolved, or if the parent has reasonable concern that talking to the coach will not resolve the matter, then;

  3. The parent should contact the Travel or Local Team Coordinator and request a meeting with the coach.

  4. If the parent or the athlete is not satisfied by the action taken by the Team Coordinator, they may request, in writing, that the NFVB Administrative Staff review the matter.

    1. The staff may, at its sole discretion, review or refuse to review the matter.

    2. The staff will not review coaching decisions, training regimes or skill development.

  5. We encourage parents to approach us earlier rather than later about concerns they have. There is little we can do to rectify a situation that is not brought to our attention until the end of the season. It is much better to have open lines of communication about problems as soon as they arise.

Other Grievance Issues

NFVB will not tolerate any hostile, aggressive confrontation between a coach/parent and any official, any other parent, any athlete or any coach, regardless of whether the coach, athlete or other parent is a member of NFVB or not. Violation of this policy may result in the athlete being dismissed from NFVB.

It is inappropriate and undesirable for a coach, an athlete or a parent to approach other NFVB parents and athletes to complain about a problem they may have with a Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club policy or club member. Asking un-involved persons to take sides on an issues such as objections to coaching decisions, or about disagreements with an administrative decision is unfair to the third parties, to the team and to the club. Competitive team athletics, by its very nature, creates situations where everyone may not be happy all the time. For the psychological health of the coaches, athletes and the club as a whole, grievances need to be handled between the parties involved and the decision-makers in the situation, meaning, talk to the coach or talk to the appropriate coordinator.

We strongly encourage any member who is approached and asked to listen to or express an opinion about matters between two other parties in the Club to suggest to the complaining party that he or she needs to take the matter up with the coach in question, or the club administrators, and refuse to listen further.

Sexual & Physical Abuse Policies

NFVB recognizes that all forms of sexual abuse, assault or harassment with athletes are illegal and unethical, even when an athlete invites or consents to such behavior or involvement. Sexual abuse and harassment is defined as, but not limited to, repeated comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature. This includes demanding sexual favors in exchange for promotions, unwelcome touching of any kind, unwanted letters, telephone calls, texts or email of a personal nature, unwarranted inquiries about personal life or sexual habits, repeated jokes with sexual content, and sexual comments about a person’s appearance or body.

The Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club will not tolerate sexual or physical abuse of any of its staff or of participants. NFVB regards the safety of the young athletes entrusted to our care and instruction as our highest priority. We do not tolerate physical behavior that compromises that priority. We monitor activities and interactions to try to prevent miscommunications that cause discomfort to any of our athletes or parents.

Niagara Frontier Volleyball will not tolerate hazing. Hazing is defined as any intentional act that endangers the mental or physical health of one person or a group of people, by another person or group of people, for the purpose of group acceptance or membership. Hazing behavior would include but is not limited to: brutality such as beating or striking, excess calisthenics, excessive consumption of food or drink, or intimidating/threatening activities that cause extreme mental stress.

Reporting Complaints

If you see or experience behaviors by a NFVB coach, staff member or chaperone that you believe to be inappropriate, report it immediately to a club administrator. All complaints will be investigated. Anyone affiliated with the club, found to be in violation of the codes of conduct or sexual and physical abuse policies will be subject to discipline, which may include dismissal. There will be no retaliation against any complainants or witnesses who participate in an investigation of an abuse or conduct charge.

NFVB Team Levels and Structure

Travel Navy and Gold Team Philosophy

Coaches who run a Travel Navy and Gold Teams (age levels 13 -18) should, first and foremost, make it clear to their players and parents that this team’s “collective” ultimate goal is to win the USAV National Tournament.  Likewise, the team’s goal for each individual is to train that athlete to reach high levels of skill, fitness, competitiveness, passion, and sportsmanship. It also should be made clear that these two goals are never in conflict and are not mutually exclusive: they are one in the same.  

Player Participation on a Navy and Gold Team

Players on a Navy and Gold Team must make a commitment of effort, time, and finances to be a successful, contributing member of this team.  This will involve the following:

  • A steadfast commitment to a multi-session weekly practice schedule.  Players on Travel Navy and Gold teams are not denied participation in other organizations: school teams & clubs, musical organizations, even other sports travel teams; however, failure to commit to regular attendance (95% or better) of practices and near 100% of tournaments will directly impact a player’s ability to compete for time on the court, significantly impede the team’s progress, and, if egregious, serve as grounds for removal from the team.  A coach reserves this right (after consultation with the club travel coordinator).
  • Participation in a number of MAJOR 3-DAY TOURNAMENTS that involve travel outside the WNY area: National Qualifiers, Sports Performance JNC, etc.
  • A clear understanding that the team enters every tournament with an ultimate goal to win it.  (**This goal is proportional to age  12’s – 18’s)
  • An understanding that playing time among team members WILL NOT BE EQUAL, especially in play-off situations when the team is in Gold Bracket or fighting for a Bid.  The coach hopes to clearly define each player’s role (and offer the player opportunity to expand that role), but the coach will base playing time on what line-up/substitution scenario best offers the team a chance to be successful.  Rarely will the coach sacrifice an opportunity to win or advance in a tourney in order to “give someone playing time.” Coaches will attempt to adhere to the “50%” PT rule during pool play.
  • An understanding, therefore, that team selection will carefully weigh the ability of each prospective player to establish a meaningful role on that team.  Those qualities include physical abilities/potential, skill level, competitive fire, passion to improve, coachability, and sportsmanship.
  • An understanding that the full club season extends from December to July: roughly two tournaments a month (with the possible exception of June), beginning in January.
  • Finally, an understanding and acceptance of the club mantra: “Players pay to train, not to play.”  Playing time is not a given; it is earned first by hard work, positive attitude, and a display of skills on the practice court.

Expectations of Travel Navy and Gold Team Coaches

  • The coach’s commitment should equal, if not surpass, the players’, especially in terms of attendance, preparation, intensity, & willingness to learn.

  • The coach’s expectations of players concerning attendance, practice demeanor, team dynamics, etc. should be communicated early to players & parents and then reiterated often throughout the season.

  • The coach must work carefully to establish a rapport with each player.  The player must be able to understand their role on the team and how to expand that role. Coaches hold individual meetings at the beginning & half-way point of the season: goal-setting, expectations, questions/concerns.

  • The coach must work carefully to establish him/herself as the clear authority.  Although he/she must be friendly, the coach is NOT the players’ friend. Each player has friends; but they need a coach.
  • Ditto concerning relationships with parents.  Parents can be helpful and, at times, great allies.  If they do not understand clear boundaries in the relationship, however, they will consistently step over them.

Two suggestions:

  1. Hold a mandatory parent meeting where, among other things, coach-parent & coach-player dynamics/parameters are laid out;

  2. At tourneys, establish a routine that as soon as day begins, players are to stay together as a team (and away from parents) until the coach “releases” them after the day’s last match and team meeting.  

  • When practices are not run by the Master Coach, practices should be well-planned to create optimum number of ball touches, efficient use of time, and attention to specific team and individual needs.  The maintaining of a season-long practice log is strongly encouraged.
  • A series of season-long goals should be established and communicated to the team.  These goals should be high but grounded in a realistic assessment of the team’s talent/skill level and the anticipated level of the competition.

  • Likewise, the coach should approach each tournament with clearly defined and communicated goals.  Although (as stated earlier) at least older teams (14-18) should approach each tournament intent on winning, the team should know what constitutes an acceptable finish (T-3rd, T-9th, Gold or Silver Bracket, Top Half, escape from the toilet bowl, etc).

  • Goals, of course, should not be limited to wins and losses, particularly with younger teams: a team may set a goal to implement a quick attack by March, to minimize receiving errors (no more than 3 per game), to increase number of stuff blocks per set, to successfully run X many quicks per set, etc.   A focus on winning is really only about learning to compete & play hard.

  • Although the club has determined practice & tournament schedules, and, with the help of Parent Reps, tourney hotel stays, it is the Head Coach’s job to determine and establish the primary mode of team/group communication: group text, email, Twitter group, etc.  Establishing an efficient group communication vehicle is key to efficient communication.

Travel Red and Silver Team Philosophy

A Travel Red and Silver Team coach should communicate to parents and players that a Travel Red and Silver Team’s commitment to practice and tournament attendance will be no less enforced than a Travel Navy or Gold Team’s.  Player and team improvement is the major goal here, regardless of each team’s tourney finish. Team goals still come before individual ones, so players must understand that playing time is not a given but must be earned in practice through attendance, positive attitude, and hard work.  However, winning each tournament may not be the ultimate goal, so playing time among team members may be more equitable than with a Travel Navy or Gold Team. The coach must assess reasonable team potential (even at each tourney) and make decisions accordingly. However, a highly talented Travel Red or Silver team can reasonably set as a goal to win a bid to USAV Nationals.

Player Participation on a Red or Silver Team

Player Participation on a Red or Silver Team must include the following:

  • A steadfast commitment to a multi-session weekly practice schedule.  Players on Travel Red or Silver teams are not denied participation in other organizations: school teams & clubs, musical organizations, even other sports travel teams; however, failure to commit to regular attendance (85% & or better) of practices and near 100% of tournaments will directly impact a player’s ability to compete for time on the court, significantly impede the team’s progress, and, if egregious, serve as grounds for removal from the team.  A coach reserves this right (after consultation with the club staff).
  • Participation in overnight tournaments.  If a team qualifies, participation in the WEVA Bid Tourney is MANDATORY.
  • An understanding that playing time among team members MAY NOT BE EQUAL, especially in playoff situations.  However, the coach will do his/her best to give each player playing time in at least 50% of the games in pool play.  THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS TRANSLATE TO PLAYING 50% OF THE TIME. The coach hopes to clearly define each player’s role (and offer the player the opportunity to expand that role), but the coach will base playing time on what line-up/substitution scenario best offers the team a chance to be successful.  When the situation warrants it, the coach may allow inexperienced or less-skilled players to receive extended court time.
  • An understanding, therefore, that team selection will carefully weigh the ability of each prospective player to establish a meaningful role on that team.  Those qualities include physical abilities/potential, skill level, competitive fire, passion to improve, coachability, sportsmanship.
  • An understanding that the full club season extends from December to July: roughly two tournaments a month (with the possible exception of June), beginning in January.
  • Finally, an understanding and acceptance of the club mantra: “Players pay to train, not to play.”  Playing time is not a given; it is earned first by hard work, positive attitude, and a display of skills on the practice court.

Expectations of Travel Red or Silver Team Coaches

  • The coach’s commitment should equal, if not surpass, the players’, especially in terms of attendance, preparation, intensity, & eagerness to learn.
  • The coach’s expectations of players concerning attendance, practice demeanor, team dynamics, etc. should be communicated early to players & parents and then reiterated often throughout the season.
  • The coach must work carefully to establish rapport with each player.  The player must be able to understand their role on the team and how to expand that role.  It is strongly suggested that coaches hold individual meetings at the beginning and half-way point of the season to discuss goal-setting, coaches’ expectations, and player’s questions/concerns.
  • The coach must work carefully to establish him/herself as the clear authority.  Although he/she must be friendly, the coach is NOT the players’ friend. Each player has friends; but they need a coach.
  • Ditto concerning relationships with parents.  Parents can be helpful and, at times, great allies.  If they do not understand clear boundaries in the relationship, however, they will consistently step over them.
  • Two suggestions:
    1. Hold a mandatory parent meeting where, among other things, coach-parent & coach-player dynamics/parameters are laid out;

    2. At tourneys, establish a routine that as soon as day begins, players are to stay together as a team (and away from parents) until the coach “releases” them after the day’s last match and team meeting.  

  • When practices are not run by the Master Coach, practices should be well-planned to create optimum number of ball touches, efficient use of time, and attention to specific team and individual needs.  The maintaining of a season-long practice log is strongly encouraged.
  • A series of season-long goals should be established and communicated to the team.  These goals should be high but grounded in a realistic assessment of the team’s talent/skill level and the anticipated level of the competition.
  • Likewise, the coach should approach each tournament with clearly defined and communicated goals.  Although (as stated earlier) at least older teams (ages 14-18) should approach each tournament intent on winning, the team should know what constitutes an acceptable finish (T-3rd, T-9th, Gold or Silver Bracket, Top Half, escape from the toilet bowl, etc).  
  • Goals, of course, should not be limited to wins and losses, particularly with younger teams: a team may set a goal to implement a quick attack by March, to minimize receiving errors (no more than 3 per game), to increase number of stuff blocks per set, to successfully run X many quicks per set, etc.  A focus on winning is really only about learning to compete & play hard ALL THE TIME.   
  • Although the club has determined practice & tournament schedules, and, with the help of Parent Reps, tourney hotel stays, it is the Head Coach’s job to determine and establish the primary mode of team/group communication: group text, email, Twitter group, etc.  Establishing an efficient group communication vehicle is key to efficient communication.

Local Team Philosophy

A Local White, Green, Black or Purple Team coach should communicate to parents and players that a local team’s commitment to practice and tournament attendance will be no less enforced than any other.  Player and team improvement is the major goal here, regardless of each tournament finish. Team goals still come before individual ones, so players must understand that playing time is not a given but must be earned in practice through attendance, positive attitude, and hard work.  However, winning each tournament is not the ultimate goal, so playing time among team members will be more equitable. The coach must assess reasonable team potential and judge accordingly; it is suggested that each player receive as close to 50% playing time as possible.

Player Participation on a Local Team

Participation on a Local Team includes the following:

  • A steadfast commitment to a two-session-a-week practice schedule.  Players on Local teams are not denied participation in other organizations: school teams/clubs, musical groups, even other sports travel teams; however, failure to commit to regular attendance (85%) of practices and near 100% of tournaments will directly impact a player’s ability to compete for time on the court, significantly impedes the team’s progress, and, if egregious, serve as grounds for removal from the team.  A coach reserves this right (after consultation with the club director/travel coordinator).
  • Participation in roughly 5-6 local tourneys in the WNY area, most of which will be held at Niagara Frontier Sports.  If qualifying, participation in WEVA Bid Tourney is mandatory.
  • An understanding that the team enters some tournaments with goals other than to win it.  The team may set a goal to finish as high as possible, but may also set its main goal to become competent at a 6-2 offense, to improve its team defense, or to reduce service errors by 20%.
  • An understanding that playing time among team members WILL NOT BE EQUAL, especially in playoff situations.  However, the coach will do his/her best to give each player playing time in at least 50% of the games in pool play.  THIS DOES NOT TRANSLATE TO PLAYING 50% OF THE TIME. The coach hopes to clearly define each player’s role (and offer the player the opportunity to expand that role), but the coach will base playing time on what line-up/substitution scenario best offers the team a chance to be successful.  When the situation warrants, the coach may allow inexperienced or less-skilled players to receive extended court time.
  • An understanding, therefore, that team selection will carefully weigh the ability of each prospective player to establish a meaningful role on that team.  Those qualities include physical abilities/potential, skill level, competitive fire, passion to improve, coachability, sportsmanship.
  • An understanding that the full club season extends from January to May: roughly two tournaments a month.
  • Finally, an understanding and acceptance of the club mantra: “Players pay to train, not to play.”  Playing time is not a given; it is earned first by hard work, positive attitude, and a display of skills on the practice court.

Expectations of Local Coaches

  • The coach’s commitment should equal, if not surpass, the players’, especially in terms of attendance, preparation, intensity, and willingness to learn.
  • The coach’s expectations of players concerning attendance, practice demeanor, team dynamics, etc. should be communicated early to players & parents and then reiterated often throughout the season.
  • The coach must work carefully to establish rapport with each player.  The player must be able to understand their role on the team and how to expand that role.  It is strongly suggested that coaches hold individual meetings at the beginning and half-way point of the season to discuss goal-setting, coaches’ expectations, and player’s questions/concerns.
  • The coach must work carefully to establish him/herself as the clear authority.  Although he/she must be friendly, the coach is NOT the players’ friend. Each player has friends; but they need a coach.
  • Ditto concerning relationships with parents.  Parents can be helpful and, at times, great allies.  If they do not understand clear boundaries in the relationship, however, they will consistently step over them.  Two suggestions: 1. Hold a mandatory parent meeting where, among other things, coach-parent & coach-player dynamics/parameters are laid out; 2. At tourneys, establish a routine that as soon as day begins, players are to stay together as a team (and away from parents) until the coach “releases” them after the day’s last match and team meeting.
  • When practices are not run by the Master Coach, practices should be well-planned to create optimum number of ball touches, efficient use of time, and attention to specific team and individual needs.  The maintaining of a season-long practice log is strongly encouraged.
  • A series of season-long goals should be established and communicated to the team.  These goals should be high but grounded in a realistic assessment of the team’s talent/skill level and the anticipated level of the competition.
  • Likewise, the coach should approach each tournament with clearly defined and communicated goals.  Although (as stated earlier) older teams (ages 14-18) should approach each tournament intent on winning, the team should know what constitutes an acceptable finish (T-3rd, T-9th, Gold or Silver Bracket, Top Half, etc).
  • Goals, of course, should not be limited to wins and losses, particularly with younger teams: a team may set a goal to implement a quick attack by March, to minimize receiving errors (no more than 3 per game), to increase number of stuff blocks per set, to successfully run X many quicks per set, etc.  A focus on winning is really only about learning to compete & play hard.    
  • Although the club has determined practice & tournament schedules, and, with the help of Parent Reps, tourney hotel stays, it is the Head Coach’s job to determine and establish the primary mode of team/group communication: group text, email, Twitter group, etc.  Establishing an efficient group communication vehicle is key to efficient communication.

Team Communication Guidelines

Routine Team Communication

Good communication between Player, Coach, Parents, and Club is very important. It is critical that you provide the club and your team’s coaches with all email addresses where you want information sent as well as cell phone numbers for both parents and player. The primary way that you will receive communication from your coach will be established at your team meeting in the beginning of the season. If a last minute change occurs with a practice or with a tournament, the club will contact the team representative to spread the word among parents on the team. Also be sure to check the club’s website regularly.

Player to Coach

Both players and coaches are responsible for establishing a relationship of trust and mutual respect. Bringing up a problem can be very difficult for a player, but this is one of those life skills that sports can teach. Parents may need to push their son or daughter to take the first step. Our coaches work to be approachable and to create a safe environment for players to bring up concerns.

Player to Player

It is our expectation that if a conflict arises between players on a team, then it gets resolved outside of practice/tournament time, if possible, so as to minimize the effect that it can have on the chemistry of the team. It is important for players to realize that they do not have to like everyone on the team or be friends with them but they can still respect their contribution to the team. If the conflict is not reconcilable then it is our expectation that the players involved should not aggravate the problem by involving other players or parents on the team with gossip, rumors, or attacking people on Facebook, Twitter or in other forms of social media. Players should NOT search for other teammates to side with them… issues should be confronted one on one and face to face.

Parent to Parent

Parents should not speak negatively about the club, individual players, the coaches, officials, or opponents. Parents need to understand that youth volleyball is filled with mistakes from players to coaches to officials. We need to be open-minded and keep any negative comments about any plays or any persons involved with the game to ourselves.  Coaches need parents on the sidelines that support the overall spirit of the game versus parents who may fill the minds of another parent (or a young person’s mind) with counteractive thoughts about volleyball. What we say and how we act, does make an impact on the parents and on the parent’s relationships with coaches, officials, and opponents.

Parent to Player

Let the coach instruct your child. Commit to allowing games and practices to be a time when the child can fully listen to the coach’s instructions. Trust the coach to give instructions during the game. Do not yell instructions to the child during games or practices and “coach from the bleachers.” When parents give instructions from the bleachers while the coach is instructing from the sidelines, children become very confused and/or distracted trying to attend to both sources of information. In short, allow the coach to coach. Save any “tips” or “instructions” that you would like to give the child until well after the game (or well after the ride home with other players in the car), when you are alone with your child, the child has had a chance to rest, and is away from teammates. Saving your comments until after the game will prevent the coach from becoming frustrated because he/she will not be competing for your child’s attention during the game and it will also prevent the child from potentially being embarrassed in front of his/her peers and coach.

Parents to Coach

NFVB wants to encourage appropriate communication between our parents and the coaching staff of their son or daughter’s team. What is appropriate communication?

  • Any information about a player’s health. Recent illnesses, medical restrictions relative to practice and tournaments, allergies, medication needs are all examples of important information that we want you to communicate to your coaches. 
  • Any information about a player’s emotional health. It may be important for your coach to know if your son or daughter is struggling in school or had a recent death in the family or is dealing with another emotionally charged issue. Without this context, your son or daughter’s behavior in practice or during tournaments may be interpreted as being lazy, unfocused or disrespectful. 
  • Strategies that have worked for you in dealing with your son or daughter being successful in the past.
  • A quick heads up that a player is struggling to talk with the coaches. This is appropriate if it is only a head’s up and not a detailed email.
  • Your positive experience with the coach or the team. If we are doing things right then reinforce that by letting us know. We’d like to know when a player is enjoying their experience.
  • Your willingness to become more involved. If you want to help with pictures, video, fundraising or other activities to support our team and the club then let us know!
  • Your commitment to the program, and how you plan to make a contribution to the program's success. For example, one way is to be sure your youngster is at practice each day on time and to supervise that your child gets enough rest and nutrition at home.

 

There are topics of communication with your son or daughter’s coaches which are NOT appropriate or where there is a more appropriate venue to support our team and the club:

  • Conversations about play time: If a player is receiving playing time consistent with club policy and the expectations set forth by your coach at the player/parent meeting at the beginning of the season, and your son/daughter has not tried to discuss their playing time or their role on the team with their coach, it is inappropriate for you to do so. Before approaching the coach yourself, encourage your son/daughter to talk to their coach about what they can do to help the team and earn more court time or ask the coach to more clearly define their role on the team. If after this conversation, there are still concerns, a conversation with the coach, parent, and player may be appropriate. Request a meeting with the coach. The player must be present at the meeting unless there is a very good reason for them not to be.
  • Other players on the team. Your personal opinions of other player’s attitudes, skill, performance, or conduct are not appropriate topics of conversation for you to have with your son/daughter’s coach.
  • Coaching techniques, tactics, systems, etc. These are all issues that are not open for discussion or negotiation. There are opportunities with end of season parent evaluations to provide feedback on these topics to the coaching staff, the board and the club director.
  • Poor Sportsmanship. The club will not tolerate aggressive parent behavior toward any coaches, coaches of other clubs, parents, or officials. If a parent exhibits this type of behavior, they will be appropriately sanctioned, which may include being asked to not attend tournaments in the future or even the player’s dismissal from NFVB.

 

Finding the best time to talk

In looking for a good outcome to any meeting with your coach it is important to find the best time and setting for the conversation to occur. Here are some guidelines for finding the best time to talk.

  • Little problems are easier to fix than big ones and little ones have a way of getting bigger when not addressed. If there is a question about what a player needs to do to play more, don’t wait for half the season to begin this conversation.
  • Don’t ask to meet during practice or during a tournament. Your coach will not meet with you at this time. Before or after practice is usually the best time. Please allow plenty of time for the meeting.
  • The 24-hr rule is a good rule because it works! If there is any emotion to an issue then wait at least 24 hours after the issue before having a meeting.
  • Provide a little prep for your coach but not too much before the meeting. Let your coach know why you want to meet but don’t send a lengthy email. Emails or long phone messages tend to be too emotional and accusatory. Avoid that with just a brief note or conversation.

 

Parents should be saying this …

Before the game, let’s tell our players to try their hardest and have fun. After the game, we should say two things. First, ask if they had fun. Then we should tell them that we really love watching them play volleyball. If it's not fun for the players, they're not going to do it. They're going to find something else to do that is fun. ... So let’s cheer effort, cheer trying hard and cheer successes.

Playing Time Guidelines

A continual source of frustration for players and spectators alike in any sport is the issue of playing time. The reality is that equal playing time is not a guarantee. Our team’s philosophy on playing time is stated below:

During match play, the coaches have the right to determine the line-up that they wish to use. An “equal play philosophy” does not apply in any situation at any time. It is each player’s responsibility to perform at a level that is consistent in keeping with the goals of the team. If the player does not, for whatever reason, fulfill their obligations on the court, it is the coaches right to substitute them out so that the team may achieve its goals. Players are expected to perform certain roles on the bench as well, which greatly contribute to the success of the team.

All players earn their playing time in practice. It is the player's task to work hard enough, learn enough and execute skills consistently to get on the court during games. Some players will have specialized assignments or positions while others must work to be the best alternate starter they can be. Regardless of the role that evolves over the season, all players, parents and team supporters are expected to remain positive and committed to the goal of having the TEAM do as well as possible by the end of the season.

Other situations that may keep a player on the bench:

  • Failure to follow team guidelines
  • Missing a practice unexcused
  • A player’s practice attendance
  • A player’s ability to perform at the necessary level for a skill or position
  • Sub-standard statistical performance
  • A player’s past performance during the tournament or the last week of practice
  • A player’s effort and work ethic
  • How a player’s attitude and general negativity adds to or detracts from the chemistry or performance of the team
  • The importance of the match
  • The needs of the team in the present as well as later in the season
  • Not being in good standing with respect to team fees

Based on position, a player may play back row and rotate out or play front row and rotate out before reaching the back. It is important for players and parents to understand that the goal of the team is to compete successfully in matches and get to the highest level possible. If it is the player’s belief that they are not being treated fairly and playing an inappropriate amount, he/she should discuss their options with the coaching staff first and foremost. Playing time issues will not be discussed with players until 24 hours following the last match of a weekend tournament. Playing time is not up for discussion with other team members, spectators or parents. The coaching staff evaluates team members at each practice and often sees things that spectators and parents do not.

Players should remember that playing time is earned. The players, by working hard in practice to improve skills, execution and consistency, will determine how much playing time they will get. Our competitive philosophy and substitution strategies may be different from other sports teams played on in the past. The staff places a greater emphasis on meeting goals and developing players with the whole team in mind.

 

Apendix:

Niagara Frontier Parent Meeting Agenda

MEETING WITH CLUB STAFF

  1. Club Goals for the season – Winning and Losing – Practice and Training
  2. Facility rules – Niagara Frontier Sports and other tournament venues
  3. Practice dates/times and Tentative tournament schedule (discuss travel arrangements)
  4. Cancellations due to weather will be posted on the web and on Channel 2 (WGRZ) by 3pm
  5. Player/parent expectations/ WEVA code of conduct
  6. Attendance – for practices and tourneys – Players need to TALK to coach (avoid texting) in advance if you are going to miss any team function.
  7. Master coaching/practice plans/ Communication with coaches – parents and players
    1. Playing Time Philosophy – "Paying to train" and  “Playing to win in Championship playoff bracket”
    2. Players speak with coaches FIRST
    3. 24 hour rule after any event
  8. All team fee payments are made via credit card through online account.  Players not having dues paid in full by January dates may be restricted from participating.
  9. Medical Release forms – Coaches or team rep will carry with them at all times
  10. Fundraising – Club and Team - Ideas?
  11. Things to remember
    1. Help us to create positive experiences and a culture that helps develop the volleyball and life skills of our players.
    2. We are training both players and coaches to be better.

MEETING WITH TEAM COACHES

  1. Introduction of team coaches and parents and collect or confirm contact information that families want to share.
  2. Coach’s goals and thoughts regarding the season
  3. Coach’s player/parent expectations
  4. Parent rep – a link between NFVB staff, the coaches and the team’s parents.
    1. Serves as the team representative to the NFVB club administration. Attends meetings at which a parent rep is required. Any information presented at the meetings is then communicated back to the team parents by the parent rep.
    2. Acts as the point person for any concerns relative to the team. Refers concerns to the coach and/or the club coordinators.
    3. Prepares a team directory for all parents with names of players and parents, addresses, phone numbers, and any other pertinent information. When travel begins, cell phone numbers are great to have.
    4. Assists in making travel arrangements for overnight tournaments. Assists coach in distributing tournament information to team.
    5. All additional responsibilities as designated at the parent rep meetings.
    6. THE PARENT REP IS NOT AN ASSISTANT COACH AND IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY COACHING DECISIONS REGARDING LINE-UPS, PLAYING TIME, ETC.
    7. Stock and/or coordinate the bringing of Med Kit to events (see Coach Rocco for small bag)
  5. Any additional information that you would like to discuss

​​​​​​​We encourage you to follow and post to the pages and update everyone with match results and pictures of our players and teams:
Niagara Frontier website www.NFVBjuniors.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nfvbjuniors/
Twitter: @NFVBjuniors  -  https://twitter.com/NFVBJuniors
Instagram: @NFVBjuniors  -  https://www.instagram.com/nfvbjuniors/
Common hashtag to be used: #NFVBnation