Start-Up Spotlight: Midwest Boys Programs
October 14, 2019 | Categories: Members, Blog, Club Director, Boys
There are roughly 6,000+ junior volleyball clubs nationwide, and each year brings more growth for the sport. But boys volleyball still has a way to go as the majority of junior clubs do not offer a boys program. This untapped market is sometimes overlooked because Club Directors are not ready to take on a "project." But what if a boys program was more attainable and less of a "project" than you thought? Here is a look at JVA clubs around the midwest that have started a boys program in the past year.
Ohio Premier Volleyball Club (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Boys Director: Anitra Brockman. The program has three Assistant Directors and 14 coaches.
Commitment: Leading up to tryouts, open gyms were held in August and September, a couple were free. Tryouts were held at the end of September, followed by Commitment Night in early October and the first practices began in mid October. The competition season runs December through February for all teams. Then practices for the summer session will be in June for national level teams. Regional teams ends their season at Regionals. Practices are twice per week for 2 hours. National level teams compete in 8 two day tournaments for a total of 18-19 play dates. Regional teams compete in 6 tournaments.
Kairos Elite (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Why: "We’ve wanted to start a boys program for a while now and are very excited to offer this opportunity to the boys in our area. We’ve got 3-4 colleges in our area that offer men’s volleyball and we want to offer a program for the kids that want to go on to play in college. We’ll offer a spring season as well, we’ll look to have tryouts for that after the basketball season is completed."
Boys Director: Max Curran
Teams: 1 (pictured below)
Ages: 14-18. "We had 11 boys tryout from 10 years old up to 18. The boys that will compete will be 14s-18s. The two younger boys will be practice players."
Commitment: September to the end of October with two play dates and then 2 practices a week. Practices will be on Sundays and Wednesday’s for 2 hours.
Munciana Volleyball (Yorktown, Indiana)
Why: "The boys initiative was brought about by our desire to grow the game. With the addition of boys volleyball we inch closer to our mission of becoming a clearinghouse for all things volleyball." ~Mike Lingenfelter, Munciana Co-Director.
In August 2019 Munciana acquired Indy Assault, the largest boys club in Indiana. Under the Munciana umbrella, the club hopes to take the boys program to a level of national prominence and offer the boys all of the recruiting support, organizational structure and coaching resources that has helped Munciana's girls program remain one of the most successful girls junior volleyball programs in the country.
Boys Director: Munciana hired a boys director, Kevin Owens (who will share some female responsibilities until the program is stand alone) to oversee all aspects of the program.
Teams: 2 competition groups and 1 training group and look to grow as the new year approaches. 1 Training program in Muncie has 15 boys, and Indianapolis location has 24 teams.
Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy (Warren, Michigan)
Why: "Boys volleyball is starting to grow as we have 12 high schools on the west side of the state that have started an effort to push it as a varsity sport. All our surrounding states have strong mens /boys volleyball and even Canada. We would like to complete the area. There are boys interested but have nowhere to go right now. The challenge right now is being able to spread the word. Also with other sports, seasons can conflict, which makes it difficult to get athletes out for other sports."
Boys Director: Faisa George
Teams: Goal is to have a middle school team and a high school team. Both fielding about 10 athletes per team.
Ages: 5th grade to 12th grade.
Commitment: "Right now we are in the starting phases of a pilot season. We are looking to run a season from January to May, with about 4-5 tournaments to attend. We are yet to confirm dates of tournaments. Mainly looking in the Ohio region and possibly local areas in Michigan. We want to make sure we don't put the cart before the horse, so for our pilot season we will run practices once per week. "
Most of the boys players are joining their high school teams and junior club teams with zero experience and little to no foundation. So, the sport—on the boys side--is in its infancy in many parts of the country. But at the same time, coaches have noted dramatic improvement in a short time period. Many of the boys are quick learners and come from other sports backgrounds, so they’re athletic and very coachable.
If your club is thinking of starting a boys program, know that there is no cookie cutter way to do it, and your boys program may only start with a handful of boys, eager to learn. JVA clubs are starting programs, sharing ideas and establishing the framework for what will hopefully be a thriving boys program in a few years. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on starting a boys program.