Apple Valley Volleyball Programs
This is a guide for people who have not been introduced to junior volleyball specifically and competitive girls volleyball in general, but would like to know more about the programs and opportunities.
The Apple Valley Junior Volleyball club is organized to provide an opportunity for girls to play competitive volleyball. The typical progression for girls has been to play in the community leagues and then move to junior volleyball and finally high school volleyball. Almost all of the girls who play on the varsity volleyball team have played with a junior volleyball club.
Girls and boys can begin playing volleyball in second grade in the in-house league run by the Valley Athletic Association (VAA). VAA provides three volleyball leagues for girls and boys: one for grades 2-4, one for grades 5-7, and one for grades 8-12. VAA Community Volleyball provides a fun, low intensity program for kids to play and learn about volleyball. Parent volunteers provide the coaching. Among all of the volleyball programs, the costs and time commitments are lowest for in-house volleyball.
Junior girls volleyball, also known as Junior Olympic volleyball or JO, corresponds to the traveling leagues in other sports. The level of competition is higher than community volleyball, but so is time commitment and cost. The fees for a season run from $600 to $1000 for most community-based clubs. The fees pay for coaches, uniforms, equipment, gym time, and entry fees for league and tournament play. Membership in USA Volleyball (USAV) is included. Among other services, USAV provides liability insurance to the club. The coaches usually have experience as coaches or as players. Sometimes one or more of the coaches from the high school coaching staff will be coaching in our program. Sometimes a team coach is also a parent, but it usually one who has played or coached more than the typical in-house parent-volunteer.
The season begins with tryouts in mid-to-late November, practice starts in December, and league play runs from January to April (or longer). Our entry-level juniors teams play in a Power League at the Midwest Volleyball Warehouse (located in Burnsville, just west of the Burnsville Mall). Teams from around the region converge on the Warehouse twice a month for Power League. A Power League event consists of pools of four teams that play all six possible pairings in a six hour block of time (8am-2pm or 2:30pm-8:30pm) on a Saturday or Sunday. Teams that win their pool move up to the next higher pool; teams that lose move down a pool. As the season progresses, teams of similar strength tend to be playing against one another.
Teams will also compete in various tournaments like the Presidents’ Day Festival sponsored by North Country Region of USA Volleyball or events in Rochester at the National Volleyball Center. Some of the older teams have traveled out of state (e.g.; Wisconsin Dells).
AVVB currently has no programs for boys. There are only a handful of boys clubs in the Twin Cities area. If there were sufficient interest in a boys program, AVVB would happily sponsor a team for boys.
Camps and Clinics
The AVHS coaching staff runs summer camps with separate sessions based on age and experience for beginners and intermediate players in elementary and middle school. They also organize camps for high school players. AVVB has organized spring clinics, held weekly, for girls in grades 3-6 who have not yet begun to play juniors. The camps and clinics are a fun way to improve volleyball skills.
AVVB will participate in two fall leagues in 2011. The South Suburban Youth Volleyball League for girls in grades 4-6 and the Northern Lights Middle School League for girls in grades 7-8.
South Suburban Youth Volleyball League
The South Suburban Youth Volleyball League provides an opportunity for girls in grades 4-6 to play more competitive volleyball than usually afforded by community leagues. It provides a preview for what junior volleyball is like if they choose to continue to play more competitive
volleyball. Teams meet Monday nights at one of several area high schools to play two matches. Our teams typically hold one two-hour practice per week in addition to the weekly matches.
The South Suburban League was just established in 2011, but it continues in the place of the South Metro Volleyball League which was founded a number of years ago by several community-based juniors clubs (Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, and Lakeville) that wanted to provide a fall league for girls 12 and under (primarily 5th and 6th grade) who might be interested in junior volleyball. The league is sanctioned by the North Central Region of USA Volleyball.
Northern Lights Fall Middle School League
Girls in middle school can play for their school teams in the fall, but we are providing an opportunity as well. AVVB will form teams that will compete in the Northern Lights Fall Middle School League. Games will be played on Saturdays at the Midwest Volleyball Warehouse. This league was created to allow middle school players to continue to play at a high level and prepare for the winter club season. This league does not interfere with middle school volleyball; so players can play both. Our teams will typically practice 2-3 hours per week.
Apple Valley High School Volleyball
The Apple Valley program has a proud tradition dating back
to the opening of the school in 1976. Walt Weaver was the head volleyball coach for 31 seasons at Apple Valley High School, and in that time the team won two state championships and appeared in the state tournament thirteen times. Coach Weaver retired after the 2006 season with over 600 wins. He was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007. Many Apple Valley alumnae have gone on to play volleyball at the collegiate level (20 at Division I schools and 20 at Division II schools).
For many girls, playing on the varsity volleyball team is the culmination of their volleyball playing life. The Apple Valley Juniors club and the Apple Valley Volleyball Boosters organization are all about recruiting, preparing, and equiping girls to be successful players at the high school level.