With so much anticipation surrounding the school sports seasons and the continued re-opening of businesses and events in New York State, I figured it was time to send out an update regarding club volleyball as it pertains to the Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club. It’s probably easiest for us to provide the topical list below:
COVID SAFETY: The staff at Niagara Frontier Sports (formerly known as the BNCC) is always keeping the safety of players, coaches and building tenants at the forefront of all decision making processes. We often update the traffic patterns, cleaning procedures and on-court protocol to stay on top of the ever changing information put out by the CDC, state and local governments. You can access our current cleaning guidelines, building procedures and new COVID-19 Symptomatic-Exposure and Positive Test Notification Procedures on our website HERE.
FALL TRAINING PROGRAMS: As many of you know, we are near the end of a fall six week training program for both boys and girls. The volleyball happening on the courts and the response from both coaches and participants has been great. It’s good to know that our facility has been able to hold private lessons and small group training since early July. In conversations with other club directors in WNY and across the country, we know how lucky we are to have a facility at which we can continue training youth volleyball players in a safe and clean environment.
We are planning to host some shorter small group training sessions starting in October, which will straddle the week of tryouts, with the focus being on position specific training in one of 3 or 4 categories including setters, attackers and defensive specialists/liberos.
CLUB TRYOUTS: We sent a “Save the Date” email out as we are planning to hold club team tryouts for Boys and Girls on Sundays AND weekdays between October 18th and October 25th (Girls and Boys 11U and 12U players will have tryouts in November.) Our tryout page with step by step instructions will go live by the end of the week. This season, players will tryout at their current grade level (see “Play-Up” information below). Each grade level group is scheduled to have two tryout opportunities (one on a Sunday and one during week).
There will be a selection committee who will follow the guidelines for our “Play-up” policy as stated in our Club Handbook throughout the tryout process. There may be some instances where the committee chooses to place players back on teams based on their USAV age level in order to balance both roster numbers and team skill levels.
WHAT CLUB WILL LOOK LIKE THIS SEASON: Our staff and coaches have been talking about team formation, fees, practice schedules, uniforms, equipment, tournament schedules and team travel. The Covid epidemic regulations and limitations have forced us to re-think our club structure and many of the things we have offered in the past. Below is a list of items (in no particular order) that the staff and the club’s advisory committee is working on:
· Less expensive team fees – We are looking at ways to reduce the team fees/dues. Our staff will need some additional time to work on the fees for each level but we will post them on the web site as soon as they become available. This season we will categorize teams into three divisions, National, Regional and Local (see below). Each division will have a different fee structure. Any events (ex: tourneys, practices) canceled due to potential Covid related issues will be evaluated and calculated for a refund.
· Number of teams offered by NFVB - On the boys side we are planning to host a Gold and Silver team at each age level and possibly one Bronze team. The girls will have a Navy, Red and White team at each age level. Last year’s Black, Purple and Orange teams will also be formed but will only practice once per week and participate in the newly formed Queen City Volleyball League. This plan for both girls and boys will maximize the roster spots and opportunities available for volleyball players across the greater Buffalo region searching to stay active in volleyball. The three divisions will be categorized as follows:
NATIONAL – Girls Navy, Red and Boys Gold
REGIONAL – Girls White, Green and Boys Silver and Bronze
LOCAL – Girls Black, Purple, Orange, etc.
· Practice schedules – Our girl’s Travel teams and all 13 through 18 boys teams begin practices in early November. Girl’s Regional and Local teams in December. Practice schedules will be similar to previous years and will be finalized as Covid-19 restrictions evolve. In the event that high school volleyball occurs in March and April, our plan will be to reduce the number of weekly practices and resume a regular club schedule in May.
· Uniforms and Equipment – In an attempt to reduce costs, we will allow the re-use of last season’s sublimated jerseys by Smack Sportswear. After rosters are posted, players will be assigned a uniform number and asked to order any required jerseys, shorts, spandex and other equipment through an on-line store. Each team’s required list of uniform items and equipment will be posted following tryouts. If you already have it and it has the correct number, you won’t need to buy it.
· Tournament Schedules – As clubs across New York State navigate travel restrictions and event formats, our club will create a base tournament schedule for each team with plans to reduce tournament play during high school volleyball seasons if or when they occur.
As previously mentioned, teams will be placed into three categories. While tournament budgets will be the same for teams in each category the number of events may be different due to tournament entry fees and number competition days per event. The number of events in each category would be subject to change based on both Covid-19 regulations and limitations imposed by the potential high school schedule.