Friday, March 10, 2006

Decline in Men's VB?

I just provided my opinion on the subject in a VT post. I am going to post it here before it gets knocked off the page with other threads:

It would be nice to see some fans who prefer to give back or participate in growing the sport for men versus JUST sharing their opinions. I am sure there are many VTers that do coach, ref or volunteer but I sure hope the most outspoken members aren't showing their attitude to today's youth. If someone feels that mens VB is falling apart, will only shrink, etc... then it obvious they are not helping out with todays vb youth. If they would, then they would see the passion, especially in the younger kids (16 and under).

The younger kids just cannot get enough volleyball. They cant sit still between matches, they will end up playing some game on an empty court or in a corner somewhere (probably hitting people trying to watch the current matches). They love to watch the older kids play. I remember taking a 14's team to go to the gym where the 18's were playing in the same tournament. They loved the power they saw and would be amazed when someone would dig a blast inside the 10' line. They loved to watch Sean Rooney during warm ups because he would almost always bounce the ball into the upper balcony where they were sitting.

Unfortunately, as they become juniors and especially seniors, reality starts setting in for most of them. They aren't getting the letters or emails from one of the 21 DI schools like a small number of the taller/higher vertical reach players. Their attitude changes and a few drop out. One thing that keeps them interested is the fact that club season will provide them a better chance to be their high school star or at least get decent playing time. There are less than 400 DI spots on rosters and less than 100 scholarships. They love the game but realize they aren't going to play at what they think is the next level.

Sadder is the fact that there are 50+ other schools that have varsity volleyball programs and many of the kids don't know very much if anything about those programs. The schools don't have the budget to recruit. Just think if more of these players got into varsity programs improving their teams overall playing level. They may not be ready for MSPF but their caliber of play would certainly rise. Just think of the kids behind the blue curtain or sitting on the bench of the DI schools. What if they saw other schools as an opportunity to start right away and start the building of a program? The talent off the DI bench would improve mens volleyball if they were at other schools. Once again, they may not be ready for MSPF but if enough of them moved over, they would start to be competitive, the programs would get more notoriety and hopefully draw new talent every year.

Sorry, time to get off the soap box. But if you want to complain about the "sorry" state of mens vb, then get off your duff and volunteer in some manner in actively supporting boys volleyball. You might actually see a brighter future!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stumbled on to your blog yesterday. You make some great points but I thought I would add my perspective. Comparing the opportunities today to when I was playing and looking at colleges there are definitely more opportunities than when in 1994. I almost gave up the sport to just go to school at Iowa State or University of Illinois. My two real opportunities were with Graceland College and Park University in NAIA. There was no Lindenwood, Missouri Baptist, Cal Baptist...etc... It might not be growing at a super high rate but I believe it is still growing at least at the NAIA level. One problem that has come about though is the various schools that recruit heavily outside of the US...I am not against recruiting internationally but unfortunately there are kids that miss out on opportunities domestically as a result.

I am pretty proud to see the number of kids I coached going on to play in college and at a higher level than myself. I will still take them down though!! Maybe not for much longer.

Now that I am in the Kansas City area, I really have more of an appreciation for the amount of volleyball there is in the Chicago area. It is pretty scarce out here, from the Boys/Mens side at least.

Take care and keep up the good work.

Mike D

8:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I coached for Warner Southern Men's and Women's Volleyball from 2004 to 2006. Warner Southern is in Lake Wales Florida. While the girls had many different colleges to play, the men's team had to travel every time they wanted to play an NAIA team. I see Orlando Gold Volleyball Youth Programs and I think that there are many kids with enought talent to play at the collegiate level. I just wish that there were more places to play men's volleyball. If a college has a girls team and title IV is satisfied, a men's team can be provided with a minimal budget. It is possible, I just wish Florida could become a hotbed for collegiate volleyball like Southern California.

11:55 AM  

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