The Volleyball Practice Wins JVA Club of the Month

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The Volleyball Practice formally began in 2014 with a simple objective: Encourage more youth to play volleyball by offering opportunities to practice every week and by nurturing a culture of learning among participants, coaches, and parents.

"In February 2014, we introduced a series of skill clinics for a group of 15 middle school boys" shares TVP Founder & Director John Hartranft. "That summer, we set up three nets in a grass field and collected $1 from each person who showed up to play, and with the $200 collected, hosted an end of summer party for the participants."

In October, TVP started an indoor boys program with U16 and U18 teams, practicing 1-2 times per week.

Now in its' fourth year, The TVP Team program trains boys teams at the U14/16/17 and 18 age divisions, each team playing a full schedule, and practicing 2-3 times each week. TVP teams have competed at the Boys Junior Nationals each year.

The TVP Grass League will enter its fifth season in 2018 supporting 100 boys and girls (and a growing waiting list), with ten nets running several days per week during the summer.

TVP staff has grown from two to 13 current coaches (and a network of more than 25 consulting staff) with international, professional, NCAA Division 1, national and local experience.

"Along with TVP's growth, we are also acutely aware of the growing demand for the programs we offer" adds Hartranft.

An incomplete, evolving timeline, in reverse order, is on the TVP website.

New programs and exciting things happening at TVP

Each year, TVP learns ways to be better. The current programs and initiatives are focused on:

Athlete well-being
Each TVP athlete's ability to function well directly corresponds with the level of their family's support and the quality of teaching and training. The club engages expert help when needed and are enthusiastic about two new partnerships this season. TVP has teamed with Launch Sport Performance to offer a training program focused on athleticism and health. TVP's partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance equips us with the tools for athletes, coaches and parents to create meaningful, healthy and positive experiences that extend well beyond volleyball.

Our TVP coaches are positive role models, team players, energetic and passionate about volleyball, and committed to teaching and learning. They do important work, and they deserve support. TVP coaches have access to coaching resources offered by JVA, the Positive Coaching Alliance, and other professional development programs. 

Community connections
Though TVP has expanded the number of training locations, TVP teams have been training at the Bender JCC in Rockville, Maryland since the beginning. The staff and players have served as instructors for JCC introductory volleyball classes. TVP has raised money to upgrade JCC volleyball equipment, and the club is an established in-house program serving a population that had been previously underrepresented: teenage boys. TVp conducted a series of open gyms at the JCC and other locations this past Fall to generate interest in volleyball. More than 75 boys tried out for the TVP Team program, triple the number from the first season.

Plans for the future

TVP's Team Program (indoor): TVP has no current aspirations to be a large club with numerous teams and programs at each age group. While making no claims to be an elite program, limiting the number of teams that TVP supports allows us to focus our organizational resources and maintain an appropriate level of attention to its participants.

TVP aims

  • to develop quality in a visible way that generates interest in the game
  • with others, to help build the infrastructure to meet the growing demand for boys volleyball.TVP hosted a low-cost boys tournament last year (under JVA's insurance program), and hopes to do more of the same as our resources allow

TVP hosted a low-cost boys tournament in 2017 (under JVA's insurance program), and hopes to facilitate more low-cost competitions as resources allow.

TVP Grass League: The popularity of the TVP Grass League is due, in part, that there are no coaches. Research supports the notion that "free" play promotes emotional intelligence, and benefits social interactions and problem solving skills.

"We see evidence of this in the existing format for the league. Our challenge is to meet the growing demand for the TVP Grass League, and to develop formats where the participant's experience is the lead teacher" adds Hartranft.

TVP School: TVP is increasingly sought as a resource for volleyball. Though much of the staff's time and energy is focused on two programs, TVP Team and TVP Grass League, there is a demand for skill clinics and recreational programs, especially at the beginner level. TVP School is a return to the club's beginnings four years ago, and the staff hopes to attract the resources necessary to offer beginners access to the sport.

Resource development: The TVP Team program and the TVP Grass League are now established and the leadership has a good sense of the value TVP offers to participants.

"We operate on a shoestring, yet, our goal is to lower the cost per participant without devaluing the program" states Hartranft. "Participant cost should not be a barrier to access our program. We are at a point where a sponsorship program makes sense, and aim to broaden our community of support".

The Volleyball Practice, based in Metro Washngton, DC, is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players and fans.

For more information about joining the JVA click here. For more information about JVA Awards click here.


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