Club Tryouts – Navigating these Stressful Weeks
Volleyball Club Tryouts are approaching quickly. This is both an exciting and a stressful time for players, families, and clubs. In some areas of the state, club choices are many which only increases the stress as multiple clubs have tryouts scheduled around the same time. The Palmetto Region is posting the information and perspective below as we feel it is important for families to understand the Region's tryout philosophy before entering the club tryout period.
Ultimately, families are the consumer of this product called "club volleyball" and can wield the most power to ensure that clubs that look out for the best interest of their players are rewarded in the marketplace; and those that do not will be thus encouraged to change for the good of the sport.
BUYER BEWARE! DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE TRYOUTS! Read parent-player contracts and obtain promises in writing.
It has come to the Region’s attention that a few clubs are scheduling, designing, and advertising their tryouts in a manner that attempts to limit players from attending the tryouts of other clubs. The Palmetto Region still holds to an open and fair tryout policy, and players should be allowed to tryout with any club they choose on any certain day, limited only by the dates and times established by the clubs themselves. The Palmetto Region Board and staff would like to inform our members that we neither support nor endorse any attempt by a club to manipulate players into believing or feeling that they do not have the right to tryout at multiple clubs, nor do we support any attempt by a club to coerce a commitment from a player prior to the Region’s official signing date.
Examples of manipulative tryout practices include but are not limited to the following:
We consider the above practices/scenarios to be in bad taste, creating a disadvantage for players/families and other clubs, and only creating an advantage for the club that implements such practices. Our Region Board and staff have worked diligently for many years to implement policies and guidelines for our Region that balance both the needs of the players/families and clubs of all sizes. Our current policies encourage and allow players to attend multiple days of tryouts at multiple clubs while also setting a deadline for signing so that clubs of all sizes are protected and their team finalization is not frozen indefinitely by a player who wants to delay the commitment process.
What to expect from clubs:
While there will inevitably be conflicts of dates and times, clubs should, at the very least, be understanding of the inherent conflicts during this potentially stressful time of tryouts. While every club would ideally like to have a maximum number of players in attendance for the entire duration of their tryouts, clubs that value the player experience and that want players to make the best, most informed decision for themselves will attempt to work with players through this process and will respect the player’s right to choose his/her own club experience; clubs are taking a huge risk for potential dissatisfaction or backlash from families when they monopolize a player’s tryout experience and/or coerce a commitment.
How to handle the tryout process as a player/family:
Reminder you must have a USAV membership to tryout for any USAV club. If you choose to not play this year, you may receive a full refund, providing you request within two weeks following the last tryout.
After researching clubs and tryout dates, decide which clubs are your priorities. Prioritize those tryouts by attending them first or for the longest amount of time. If you find that you need to leave a tryout early or arrive late in order to make two different tryouts work within your schedule, contact the affected club(s) ahead of time. Let them know that you do understand they ideally want you there for the entire tryout, but ask if it will be acceptable for you to miss some of the tryouts. Their response will tell you a great deal about how they will handle you if you become a family in their club. Do not “put all your eggs in one basket”; diversify, at least somewhat, to create more opportunities for yourself.
You should also be understanding that tryout time is a stressful time for clubs as well and that they need to make timely decisions that are best suited to their needs and the needs of the vast majority of their club. With this in mind, if possible make a decision before the final commitment day. Notify all clubs immediately upon your decision.
Ultimately, players and families want the same thing: maximum and accurate evaluations for players. However, it should be up to players and families to choose how you want to spend your tryout time and experience. Aside from clubs encouraging players to be in their gym for as long as possible in order for the coaches to make accurate evaluations, player-friendly clubs will not be monopolizing your time or tryout experience by making stipulations for attendance at their tryouts or by forcing a commitment prior to the signing date.
Remember, families, are the consumer in this transaction. If a club has policies that are giving you pause, then they will continue to operate that way when you are an official member of their club. It is in your best interest to reward clubs that treat their players in a positive, non-manipulative way. More likely than not, those are the type of clubs that will give you the most rewarding experience!
And for the record, we do not want readers to get the impression that a lot of our clubs are acting in unethical ways. The vast majority of our clubs are providing a wonderful club experience for volleyball families. We just wanted to put these tips out there before the tryout period opens as we get some questions and complaints every year about some scenarios and circumstances. Reminder, once you commit to a club, you are committing for the entire season.
We hope everyone has a great tryout experience and is able to connect with a club for an enjoyable season! See you on the courts and good luck!
Within this page there will be links to other pages within the Palmetto Region web site. Please follow these links and familiarize yourself with the layout as this is where most all of your research will take place. Allow yourself plenty of time ahead of that first tryout date to compile the information you will need for a successful tryout.
Following is a suggested bullet list of priorities that will leave you much better prepared for tryouts. Each item will be fully described throughout this document along with supporting links to the PVA/Palmetto Region web site.
All players, as well as coaches and adult volunteers must be registered and paid before participating in any sanctioned events including tryouts. You must be a registered member before participating in any clubs tryouts. Please complete this registration process as early as possible.
NEW in 2019: If you plan to try out for more than one club, you should purchase the "tryout" membership for $10. This membership is non-refundable. Once you decide which club you are participating with, you can upgrade the membership to a full membership for the season. You are responsible for upgrading the membership once a club decision has been made.
If you are trying out for multiple clubs, be sure to enter “undecided” as your club. If you choose a club by mistake or decide after you choose to tryout for multiple clubs, you can’t make the change. You must email the region, provide the players name and DOB, and make request. firstname.lastname@example.org
We suggest you narrow your search to 2 or 3 Clubs. Searching for clubs begins on the Juniors Club page. On this page all clubs in the Palmetto Region are listed and have links to those clubs that maintain web sites. You can locate clubs alphabetically. We also have a spreadsheet that provides the clubs tryout dates/times by age.
Once you have determined the clubs you wish to focus on, the best method to learn as much as you can about them will be other parents/players who have previously played for that club. Also visit their website and parent-player information meetings, if provided.
The club’s web site should give you most of the information about their upcoming season. We recommend you also read the How to Compare a Club resource on the PVA website.