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Should I Be Ashamed For Feeling This Way About My Daughter's Sport Team?

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If anyone who comes on this site has read anything I’ve written you should pretty much be aware that I’m on a one man crusade to stop coaches from abusing some kids through the practicing of benching, or essentially giving a player on the team either no, or very, very little, meaningful playing time.

I stated that this practice is really only bad on team sports where a team of 5-6-9-11 or so players take the field or court.  I’ve gone on further to state that this practice can be very, very bad in team sports where the act of playing does NOT physically exhaust a player to the point where he/she needs to be subbed for by someone sitting on the bench.  Two team sports that come to mind in this category are baseball and volleyball. My family’s experience is with my daughter in the sport of volleyball.

So let me first describe my parental feelings by saying that seeing my daughter, or any of my children, take the field, or court, gives my heart unspeakable joy.  My joy is made even more intense in seeing her perform well, or in knowing that she’s part of a very very good team. My feelings can’t be odd for a parent . . .can they?  I’m certain every parent reading this feels the way that I do.  My excitement level is such that as my daughter’s season approaches my mood starts to brighten thinking of days or evenings where I’ll get to see my daughter play her sport.  I mark these days on my calendar and I count them off to game day.  If there’s a possibility that a work or other life event might get me down or slide me into a crappy mood . . .I’ll shake off those feelings saying to myself . . . .”Yes, that’s crappy, but at least I get to see my girl’s volleyball match tomorrow!”  And then . . . .everything’s ok!

So, again, any of you who’ve read any of my previous posts knows what comes next.  While I’ve written about this from my daughter’s perspective I’m now going to write about it from mine.  I’ve written about how such happiness and excitement a young athlete has in being selected to a team can quickly turn to horrific pain and self-esteem destruction when the child realizes that the coach just isn’t going to play her!  I’ve stated that at the level where my daughter plays volleyball, being selected to a particular club or varsity level team is, of itself, a tremendous accomplishment but, in seeing what can happen to a child on just such a team who receives no playing time, I can’t any longer take pride or happiness in just team selection.  That accomplishment MUST go hand-in-hand with receiving playing time.  Now I really don’t view selection as an accomplishment if playing time isn’t there.  Seeing the devastation the lack of playing time causes I now view being selected to a team, where playing time is excluded, to be among the cruelest “jokes’ that can be played upon a young person’s heart!

But in this blog I’m writing about me when this happens with/to my child.  It’s therapeutic when I write and I just need to let a little of my own pain escape my body through my fingertips.  Thinking someone might read this and may even give me some advice helps me all the more.  So as way of background I provide this quick synopsis:

My daughter’s Junior High Years – 1 year of scholastic volleyball – 2 years of club volleyball : played a good amount in scholastic volleyball – was told she was very good but had to “learn” in club –so very little playing time (oh and this team went to the USA Volleyball National Championships)

Freshman Year – scholastic volleyball – JV – honor to make JV, not “C” squad, but not as much playing time as we felt she deserved : Club – again made the same club team a year older, devastated to learn her club recruited other girls who were promised playing time over her – again very little playing time (but this team also went to national championships)

Sophomore Year – scholastic volleyball – plays on JV- NEVER comes off the court and “swings” every game with Varsity: Club – changes club as we now see the true character of the people who ran her last club – makes a very good team ranked among the top 4-5 in state, and they just miss qualifying for the national championships – playing time is very good

Junior year (current) – scholastic volleyball – selected to Varsity – is not playing anywhere near the amount  she feels she deserves – I couldn’t agree more!

And that’s where I pick up the story again. As my girl did all the pre-season things for her high school ALL the feedback we received was positive from her. She told us how well she thought she was doing, how positive her coach was, and how she felt she stacked up favorably to other girls on the team.  So as the season approached I got all those feelings in side of me as her first game approached. At work on the day of that first game I was almost giddy.

Imagine all of my family’s devastation as the six girls take the court and my daughter isn’t one of them! Well, at first we think, that’s ok. . . .starting isn’t everything . . it’s getting to play.  Even though we’ve seen SOOOOOO many volleyball coaches in that history I gave you above who just go with, and stay with, the same six girls thoughout ALL the games.  But I wipe those thoughts away because knowing the abilities my daughter brings to that team, I know she’ll be in soon.

First game goes by  . . .my daughter doesn’t play at all.

Ok, well in high school volleyball you have to win three games.  So there’s always the second game.

She doesn’t go in the second game.

She doesn’t go in the third game until her team is up 18 to 11. By now I can see, when she goes in just how red her face is from crying.  She couldn’t hold it in and actually began weeping while on the bench.

She played well when she was in . . . .but the damage was done.

So you know what happened.  Now let me tell you what happened to me. 

By the time her team had scored 10 points in the second game with my girl on the bench, I felt my body almost freeze in confusion over competing emotions of shock, horror and close to uncontrollable anger.  I simply didn’t know who to react to anyone or anything.  Another parent had to remind me that I really hadn’t cheered for the team since the second game started. Now aware of that I found myself resenting girls who hadn’t done anything to my daughter, but I resented them simply because they were PLAYING while she wasn’t.  I knew these girls from involvement with the sport over several years.  Some of whom were playing but had been CUT by my daughter’s club team . . . a team she had made! I had seen their level of play and I knew they were ok or fine players but they weren’t “99% playing time to my girl’s 1% playing time” better than my daughter.  I became unable to clap or cheer.  All joy associated with this night, this game, this team was washed from my body. As I became certain that my daughter would NOT play in the second game . . . . I left the stands and walked out of the gym.

I peaked in the gym’s window every so often and actually missed her going into the third game by a few minutes.  Once she was in, I returned to the stands and cheered my head off for her and for all her team-mates.

So that’s my question to you.  Should I be ashamed of myself?  To “state for the record” I asked my daughter if she felt bad when I walked out as I was driving her home and she basically told me, “Dad, when a coach treats me like this, after all I’ve given to this sport, I feel so bad, so ashamed, so confused that I don’t know which way is up. I KNOW I’m good . . .good enough to play. So I just don’t understand it.  Knowing you’re watching me get humiliated makes it all the worse, so I’m actually kinda glad you walked out.”  I re-assured her that I want to, desperately want to,  see HER play and that I don’t hate her team-mates it’s just I want to see her play and to see her sit the bench, knowing how good she is . . .is nothing but insulting, degrading and humiliating to her and, through her . . .my family, and I DO feel that to sit there and watch is essentially giving the coach a BIG thumbs up to how she’s treating my kid.  You can abuse my daughter and threaten to hang the title “Quitter” on her if she just can’t take it and walks away (so basically assuring yourself that she WON’T walk away) but you just can’t expect me to watch you abuse her.  I can walk away when the pain gets too extreme.  And if that alleviates a little of her pain . . .then that’s what I feel I have to do.


volleyball playing time

Greg, I understand your frustration and anger; my daughter is a senior on her volleyball team. All three of my kids have been through playing time struggles; there is so much I could tell you. My husband has coached for 27 years and I've been a sports mom for 16, I've seen both sides of the bench. I've felt it all. I would like to invite you to check out my sports parent blog jbmthinks.blogspot.com.

I would say a few things to you:
1. Encourage her to be a team player. There is no "I" in team. It's not about how much she plays, it's about the team.
2. Don't let her compare her time to other player's playing time. The coach knows who can do what, who does what in practice and the abilities of his players better than you do.
3. Encourage her to talk to the coach: "What do I need to do to get on the court more?" "How do I get on your radar?"
4. If she truly loves to play, don't let her give up. Last week my volleyball daughter came home from practice crying because the coach was replacing her at the libero position. Well, we encouraged her to fight for her spot, to not roll over and play dead. As it turns out, he only replaced her for ONE match, and then put her back because when she got on the court at a different position, she played like heck and he saw that her "replacement" was not better. Actually, he told her he was trying to "light a fire under her butt!" Well, I guess he did.
5. When she gets on the court, no matter how little time it is, tell her to give it her all. Make a difference on the court..
6. Encourage her not to sit on the bench and sulk. Coaches see that, and most will NOT reward it. They want to see kids that are team players.
7. View these struggles as opportunities for growth. Every one of my kids has grown stronger as a person through their sporting struggles. They've learned to not give up and to be selfless.
8. And hardest of all, Dad, you as a parent will better serve her if you learn to bite your tongue and let her fight her own battles. It's HARD, I know, but she will be stronger in the end if she does.

Enjoy the rest of your volleyball season!

Janis - I typed you a response and it didn't take . . . .

. . .when I hit "post comment" I'll have to re-type it when I get time again, but thank you for your response

Great post by Janis, she's

Great post by Janis, she's obviously got the years to speak to this, from a lot of different angles.

I think you really have to reiterate to her to be a team player. Sulking on the bench does not convey a positive image to the coach, and it makes it less likely to get in.

I'm suprised that you were completely caught off guard the first game. I would think your daughter would have know she was not starting, I'm sure they split up starters / reserves in practice. In a sport were teamwork means so much, I'm sure the roles of each player was clear before the first game.

Finally, it seems as if she has a great passion for volleyball, as you said with her playing school and club ball. This is one of my fears with the onset of these club programs. Kids get into the mode of playing volleyball for 8-9-10 months out of the year, quit all other sports and when reality sets in in high school, it's too late to go back and "re-learn" another sport. I really encourage kids to play 2 or 3 different sports as the year goes around. This keeps the options open when you get to high school.

Hey, it's not the end of the world. Volleyball is a sport she can play as an adult. Most cities have may co-ed or women's rec leagues, where you just play for fun, the reason she started into this in the first place. Good luck!

Thank you both - let's be straight about a few things . . .

Janis and John – thanks for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate them but let me be clear about a couple of things, as you may have missed them in my initial post:

1) I am letting her “fight her own battles”. We’ve been at this sports thing for quite awhile now and we know the “rules” of the game. We know the athlete has to approach the coach – not the parent – so I don’t

2) Having been at this for awhile we KNOW there are other forces at play than just talent. We know how kids who are the children of school administrators will get different treatments on a school team than kids who’s parents are not. We know that if a school coach has an affiliation with a club team in town that the players who are associated with that club will get different treatment than those kids who are not associated with the club. These are just facts that my daughter has learned painfully over the years and I just not interested in giving coaches free passes anymore when they hurt kids un-necessarily. We’re going to call unfair and unjustifiable acts just what they are. Coaches are people . . .not gods, and maybe we wouldn’t have horrendous drop out rates from youth sports IF coaches started acting more like people than gods!

3) Why do we ask/require super-human efforts from young people when they’re faced with horrific injustice? We wouldn’t expect ourselves, or our adult friends, to “smile through” situations where we know we’re being abused. Why should we expect a child to do so in the area of sports? I think the excuse of continuing to heap unjustified abuse on to a child because they’re not smiling and asking for more as we hurt them through benching, and then feel justified in that abuse because we can pick up a slight little break in that smile, and then call it an “attitude” problem, is nothing more than that, an excuse, and a poor one at that for hurting a kid. You wouldn’t smile through similar treatment so let’s stop being intellectually and emotionally dishonest in stating that a child should or else we can feel free in labeling them as possessing “poor attitudes!” Sheesh!

In some of these areas we may have to agree to disagree, because, as I said we’re not new to this and my daughter, and me and her mom are getting pretty tired of it when it seems like our girl is asking for some pretty simple things . . .a little respect and a fair amount of playing time. If she receives those things . . . .we’re happier than a pig in the mud!

She did talk to her coach and her play time increased over the next two games - enough so that she was beginning to have her depression turn around, and then, in the third game, she went back to playing next to nothing and I walked out of another gym. That night, at home, she told me she feels that she’s already gone to the coach and let her know how she feels so she can’t go again.

I’m telling you guys the emotional roller coaster is just too, too painful, for all of us, so we might just encourage her to leave the sport altogether. Again we not new to this sport, so after all the things you suggest, which I swear to you, she’s tried, and she still keeps getting slapped with the same pain . . I ask you, what choice do you have?

Greg, I agree, if it this

Greg,

I agree, if it this painful, then she may need to leave. Yes, I'm not naive to think there isn't some preferentail treament at times, but not all the time. What if the school administratior's or school board president's kids is one of the better players? It's a no win situation because people like you think they play because of the parents stature, not by their own merits?

Maybe the coach should begin the season at the coach's meeting saying that there is no playing time guaranteed (unlike club ball). If you can't handle not playing, then don't come out. Coaches can't play everyone at equal amounts at the varsity level. Especially if the talenet level does not allow it.

I'd be a little careful terming this "abuse". That's a strong term and you are now blurring the lines of what real abuse is. I see a day when a coach or teacher will be arrested for child abuse for not playing a kid in some volleyball games??

I understand it hurts, I understand you pain, it's emotional and it's great you are that involved. But in high school, many things become reality where it was clouded over in youth sports.

I know how you feel

Mr. Kropkowski,

I just want to let you know this article almost had me in tears. I am so emotional about this because I know exactly how you feel.

Every blog that you have written and commented on relates to how I'm feeling about my son on his youth FB team at this very exact moment.

You don't want your child to be labled as a "Quitter" or a "Whiner" because they guard their principles, the principles you have taught them as a parent, with jealously.

You are realistic enough to know the potential of your child. You and You alone knows the hard work your child has put into their sport and you encourage it as much as you can. Many, many Kudos for this blog!!! It's good to know that I am not alone with the feelings that I am having in regards to this matter.

Thank you - I responded on the "Favoritism" thread

Sunomee - thank you. It's VERY emotional when we know our children are being hurt . . . especially in an area that we thought held such bright promise for our kids . . . .sports. Sports can be SUCH a blessing in our child's life, or, if it involves a coach who just doesn't understand his/her role - and the crucial role of meaningful playing time - in promoting a kid's self-esteem - team sports can be devastating. See my blog I created to address this at:

truthinyouthclubsports.webs.com

I'd like to think informed parents can stop the abuse!

Greg

Approaching a Coach

My daughter got involved in Club soccer at 10 and immediately noticed the unfair treatment. Recently at age 11 she was invited to join the top club in the state. She played on one of the "B" teams and did fairly well. This year we as parents were told they wouldn't decide top level Elite teams (2) immediately after tryouts and that they would give them a month to evaluate A and B teams even though they were collecting checks from parents and hadn't told us what section of the state we would be playing or who the coach would be for the two teams. My daughter made every practice but one and played exceptionally well during this period. Some other girls from her former team didn't play all that well during practices and made the top team. There were four girls in all who I thought and others thought should not have beaten out my daughter or a few other girls who didn't make the top team. One of which didn't go through tryouts and only went to three or four practices and didn't show anything that would separate her from my daughter. My daughter knows she can beat all four of these girls and she was crushed when they got selected over her and now seems to be a bit jaded by the whole thing. There is one piece I failed to mention that may have played a part... one or more of the players who should have been on the top team have parents who asked questions during this process and the coach who is now the top coach would refuse to acknowledge questions and even told us to basically back off. It seems to me that if you have anything to say or question anything, they hold it against you. My daughter would ask during scrimmages or games if she could go back out and his response would be "I don't know." Now after we found out she is on the B team, we have already been required to order uniforms and pay tuition for the year. They know that if you give them any problems, they can put you on the bench or B team in this case and you either put up with it or get out because they are the top club. I feel like I work for them instead of them working for us and cannot find a way to actually try and have a civil conversation about what my daughter would need to do to get to the top team and what are the odds that she receives information on what she can do?

Mike- it ALL depends on what type of person the coach is . .

. . .that is an honorable person, or otherwise?

Mike – club sports are a terribly “rigged” system and it is what it is because of one reason – parents and our desire to put our children in competitive, challenging environments so their skills sets in the sport they love can improve. We, as parents have empowered and allowed this system to develop. Combine our desires for our kids with unscroupolous people and you have a high probability that some kids are going to get tremendously hurt.

Now, follow me here, the next step to you and I transferring ALL power (and a WHOLE lot of money) over to these clubs is that we’ll actually SEEK OUT the top notch clubs in our areas, because, to our minds – that’s where you should want your kid to play to improve! We find them through word-of-mouth or by searching online. When you go online and view a top-notch club’s website – what do you see? You see their self-accolades on the number of championships won or how the 14s team went to the USA (fill in your sport here) championship or how they just landed this incredible coach . . . .and so on. So you think to yourself, “that’s where I’m bringing my kid!”

Ok . . .the next step. And YOU, Mike, experienced this in a masterfully deceptive way. In tryouts the club will encourage kids who show an aptitude for the sport. They probably tell you, “Hey – your kid is pretty good. A natural talent. If he/she gets in our program we can see him/her being quite the star in high school ( and the inferred thought is . . . college). Granted there will be kids who show up who just don’t have the skill sets or athleticism to play the sport at a high level, and those children are usually cut by a top-notch club. Clubs know they need more players that they can put on the field/court for three reasons (maybe four depending upon the sport) 1) they can’t conduct good practices with just the required number to put on the field/court 2) they do have to account for sickness/injury 3) THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT reason - having more players on the ream lowers the average cost for all, but especially the players’ families that they REALLY care about – the starters . . . and in the case of my daughter’s sport . . the “never-come-out-of-gamers”. The reason I say there could be a fourth reason in some sports is that some coaches just have to simply acknowledge in their sport that the starter – just in the nature of playing the game – is going to get PHYSICALLY exhausted if the coach tries to play this player EVERY second. Sports like basketball and your sport, soccer, come to mind. In my daughter’s sport of volleyball, a player NEVER gets physically exhausted in playing to the point where they absolutely must be subbed for. So a volleyball coach that’s so wired as to simply not care about the complete development of players beyond his/her starters can keep the same players in . . game after game, match after match, day after day.

Usually during tryouts a club, if interested in a player, the club will offer that athlete a slot on the team and then expect immediate payment of some sort which, given the fact that the season (real games) won’t begin until a month, or maybe more, after tryouts, and that your kid will then practice quite a bit leading up to that first game . . . .is un-refundable. In other words, financially, YOU’RE IN - NO looking back ! To expand their money reach most clubs in most sports will offer an A or B team. . . with the OBVIOUS inference that the kids on the B team just aren’t as “good” as the kids on the “A” team. They sell you the “B” team by proclaiming how much your kid will develop on the “B” team and will then be ready for next year’s tryouts where they’ll surely make the “A” team. Here the obvious flaws in those words these folks use as they’re selling you the B team – 1) you generally get better playing against/with kids that are good . . not poor players. This is 100% the case in volleyball . . .you will never develop as a hitter if you’re on a team with a kid who can’t set, and 2) a point these club officials generally leave out – the kids on the “A” team are getting better as well. In fact, given the kids they’re playing against/with those kids are getting exponentially better than the “B” team kids. So as they’re telling you how this B team play will just propel your child into the “A” team . . . next year . . you have to realize . . .outside of an “A” team kid moving away, or going to a rival club . . .those same players will be at try-outs next year only now . . . .much, much better. You can get excited about the potential of an “A” team kid leaving for the club across town, and creating an open slot, but where do you think the kid that’s being replaced by your club’s player going to go? That’s right . . . to YOUR child’s club!

The rivalry between my daughter’s club and another across town was intense, but the other club just had an edge over my daughter’s club. They had a better track record of getting to championships and getting girl’s college scholarships. So that club is usually a parent’s first choice. This club knows that so it routinely sheds off girls who were on the roster one year, but seeing the line at the door, feels pretty good on always being able to find someone “better”. It’s tough to watch the heart-break of girls who played for that club one year being cut the next. So the other thing this club does is actively recruit from the other clubs on the relatively rare occurance that these other lesser clubs develop top-notch players. Once this top club offers a kid a position on THEIR club, based upon how they saw that kid play in the previous season . . . well, that player can’t switch FAST enough. And, sure enough, the player on the top club starts getting the “vibe” that her days on this club are numbered. That girl’s parents put out the “feelers” to the lesser clubs; and in the case of my daughter’s club, the club officials literally stumble all over themselves trying to “land” this player from the top club by promising her and her parents the sun and the moon. And this ALL happens for a kid that was being cut - or moved to that club’s “B” team !!! What the “sun and moon” means in club volleyball is 1) you make our team 2) you start 3) you NEVER come out of ANY game, and 3) this arrangement WILL NOT change no matter what a non-starting/non-playing player shows in practice – even if it’s brutally obvious to ALL watching that the non starter has is (or has become) a better player than YOUR child. This actually happened on my girl’s 14 year old volleyball team and I know it because the parent’s who got the promises told me so!

Mike- you were especially “jobbed” by your club because they asked you for money before they decided who would be on which team. From their perspective . . .that’s a brilliant move by really crappy people with one motive . . .get as much money from parents as possible.

Your club and this coach in particular sound pretty bad if there truly is no outline in a handbook on what to do about grievences. My daughter’s club had one, but honestly, if you were making your way, on my daughter’s club, through the grievence procedures - your kid’s days on the club were numbered, because, as you said in trying to get a wrong “righted” you now have identified yourself as a “trouble-maker”. So yes, stepping back and looking at what I’m saying . . .I REALLY am saying- once you put your child on a sport club, you are agreeing to agree with ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that club . . . that coach does. We had a grievence procedure policy, but really, it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, so we were really just like your club. The coach has complete and utter control, and you’d best be ok with that. If your child is on the happy side of this situation . . .all is well, and you’ll probably be one of those parent’s “singing the praises” of this “great” coach. If your child is on the unhappy side of this situation – just sit down, shut up, support the players who play, the coach, the team, the club and keep those checks coming!

The only way to re-train these folks who hurt so many kids, so deeply, every year is to hurt them where it matters to them and that’s with money. Most clubs by the time a kid reaches 13, in most sports, know who they’re going to have on their teams and who they’ll play. Especially in cases where it’s a sport where a coach can play only the starters ALL the time . . .like in volleyball . . . and you find that IS usually how the coach runs his/her team, the only way to try and change things is to reach those dozens of parents who are bringing their kids to tryout and let them know that their child will be a PRACTICE player for the valued kids on the team. Yes, you’ll PAY as much as the starter’s parents while getting about 25% of the value THEY get, but heck, your kid’s ON THE TEAM! But as we all know . . . if your child is NOT playing meaningful minutes in meaningful parts of the game . . . they’re really NOT on the team . . .your money is. If we could let parent’s know that their child was facing that reality if selected to these types of clubs, to be involved with these types of coaches, maybe they’d close their checkbooks and walk away. Faced with only having their starters and their “never-come-out-of-the-gamers” showing up . . .maybe, just maybe they’d be more open to treating all the children they place on their rosters with dignity and respect.

Playing time

My daughter is a junior, in her second year as a varsity vball player. She is considered a "reserve" - in essence a benchwarmer, or part of the "practice team". The person on the first team whose position she plays and has practiced at is sick. During practice yesterday, rather than give my daughter the spot of the sick player, a younger player (sophomore, first year as varsity player) was given the spot despite the fact that she hasn't practiced for the position all year. She did play the position last year as JV while my daughter, again was a varsity "reserve". I cannot understand why the coach wouldn't let my daughter sub for the sick player. I am losing sleep over this. I am embarrassed to admit that I am embarrassed! There's a big game today, and my daughter will be sitting while the younger player takes the spot of the girl who's out sick. How should my daughter deal with this? How should I deal with it? She was heartbroken when she came home yesterday. I encouraged her to approach the coach and ask 1. why is she not being given the spot which seems rightfully hers, and 2. what does this mean for next year? I am already convinced that the spot will be given to the newer player. I am beginning to think I am insane. How do I stop feeling humiliated for her and, ashamedly, for me?

Terry - sorry for your pain with this crazy, crazy sport . . .

. . .and my absence on this site, but in getting the email that my post was updated with a new entry, and that fact that I'm writing you now should tell you just how deeply injustice . . .done to our children . . .impacts us . . .that I feel compelled to write.

My response to takes from other posts I've made here over the years. Overall, my lack of responding here for the last two years is indicative of the fact that my daughter (now a college freshman) DID walk away from volleyball at the end of her junior year high school season. She couldn't take the pain anymore and really, neither could my wife and I though we would have supported her if she decided to play club or high school in her senior year.

Letting go of something that you and your child (especially) have given so much for is extremely hard . . .dare I say . . .almost traumatic? But my girl's walking away was the path of less pain. What alleviated her pain was the fact that she was very good at track and field, and I invite you to read my post on the value of having your child participate in sports like track, cross-country, swimming, wrestling, golf, and tennis and the value is summed up in one simple phrase: if your child performs well in THESE sports NO coach can stand in your child's way of participating and perhaps even being recognized as outstanding in these sports. More and more over the last 10 years . . .this is exactly what is happening in sports like volleyball in the hands of people who - let's face it- are just of a lower moral character that they will willfully abuse children emotionally, mentally and spirtually through the act of benching. My mantra in all my posts has been . . .yes . . .ok play the girls you feel are better MORE, but must your strategy mean that a girl you consider to be a lesser player receive ABSOLUTELY NO playing time?!?! I'll go to my grave stating that THAT philosophy, THAT strategy is nothing less than a form of child abuse and shame on the volleyball coaches who embrace it!!

My daughter poured her energy into track and won the state championship in her event in her senior year. Combined with academics, she earned herself a full-ride scholarship to a NCAA DIV I school so joy can rise out of ashes . . . .but for my family there was NO joy to be found in volleyball.

So in your daughter's situation . . .I think your approach is correct. SHE must approach the coach and talk about it and ask what she has to do to insure that she (as the member of varsity) get the play time whenever the starter is not in. You CANNOT approach the coach . . ok? They do think of themselves as demi-gods. A parent only approaches a coach in volleyball over an issue like this when you are removing your child from the team . . .because to do so, and expect that your child will play MORE . . .after YOU'VE gone to the coach . . .is the height of insanity! These people are just not wired this way. They've been raised seeing other coaches act this way and they rather deal with people they can intimidate . .. and that's a young person. . .their player, who they know knows that the coach has ALL the power.

I hope your daughter gets a good response from the coach . . .something she can adjust. SOOOO many coaches when faced with dealing with an injustice on playing time will give this response to the wronged player . . ."Susie . . .you've just got to be more consistent." Excuse me but . . .. WHAAAAT?!?!?! In every practice and scrimmage we would watch with other parents while the OH who started put and 7 or 8 into the net . . .or hit out . . to my daughter's 1 or 2 per game. For THAT girl to continue to start and get ALL the playing time to my daughter was very simply a horrific wrong perpetrated by an adult who should know better.

Now the girl who started over my daughter in high school had a parent who was an adminstrator at the school. If your VB coach has this poor moral character than sommething like that will take precedence over skill and ability and there's not much a kid (or parent) can do. When my daughter first broke into club the club owner . . .who was the coach of a college team in the area let it be known that he wanted to bring some of his college players down to the caribbean for a volleyball tournament, but his college had cut his budget. The parents of one girl trying to be the starting setter paid a great deal of the expense of this coach's college team down to the caribbean. Gues which girls got to start and NEVER, EVER come out . . .. .no need to answer . .we all know who!

In other words, in the hands of bad people, volleyball is just about the dirtiest team sport there is. I wish it weren't this way, because I LOVE watching the sport . . .but it is. And I'm sorry . . if your daughter does not receive a response from the coach that she can work with . . .ultimately her (and your) only response may be to walk away. In the final analysis pain and anguish related to bad people doing bad things to kids isn't worth your daughter enjoying her senior year in high school. It supposed to be a happy time. I DO pray she has another sport she can do where a bad coach just CANNOT impact her . . .that was our salvation. For your sanity . . talk to people . . blog . . .write about it. I'm happy to respond to you to speak for one parent . . .and this is now AFTER my daughter's high school/club volleyball experience . . that how strongly I feel about this and feel about trying anything to stop this type of abuse of some young people. I wish you and your daughter well is this attempt to rectify thing, but mostly . . I wish your family PEACE!

Over the top...

Greg, I can certainly feel the passion you have for your kids and their sports, but really? 

In team sports, not everyone can play. It's true.  That's why they are team sports.   Volleyball is a little more unusual because there are restrictions in substutiting players, not like freely subbing in basketball. 

I'd say the drive and determination your daughter got from working hard and winning a state championship in track may be related to her drive for not playing volleyball???  Possibly???  Being slighted is a great motivator, sounds like things worked out wonderful for your daughter!  

Be More Consistent

Greg, often when a coach tells a player they "have to be more consistent," it is the coach not wanting to tell the player the brutal truth. That the other player is simply better. It is dishonest, but it is an attempt to be kind.
Obviously I can not condone the behavior where kids play because of who their parents are, but in varsity ball no one is entitled to playing time. I tell my players and their parents that if playing five freshman every minute of every game gives us the best chance to win, I will do that. It does not matter who you are or who your parents are, my first responsibility is to the team. I work with every player in practice and do not shun those that are not as good, but the best will play. I also will tell players what they have to do to earn playing time, even if it is not easy to hear.

Hey . . it's been a long time and thanks for your thoughts Coach

Long time since we traded posts, Common Sense! As I wrote to Terry . . .you'd think I guy who watched his kid graduate and move on to a DIV I scholarship could "let go" better than I . . .huh? But I got that email prompt that someone had responded to my thread and . . .boom . . .I'm back in !! I'm telling you guys . . .my daughter could win a GOLD in Rio in 2016 in track and field but I will ALWAYS feel the same way about the horrible people she ran across when she tried to play volleyball at the levels her talents should have allowed her.

We can call it the nature of THAT particular sport or whatever, but her experiences with that sport and the adults around it conjure up NOTHING but pain . . .in her and all of her family members.

I have a younger daughter, who, in messing around with volleyball as my older girl finished up her run at it . . .you know going to open gyms, etc was approached by coaches and club owners who said . ."Hey . . .just like sis . . it looks like you're a natural at this! You want to come to some more open gyms . . .practices . . maybe find a slot on one of our teams?" And THAT daughter . . .with me NOWHERE around . .says, "No thanks. I've seen how this sport is played. You'll take 10-11-12 on a team . . .play six and get them feeling like Misty May while the other six girls are just ripped apart . . .who'd sign up for that?!" That's the FUTURE of THIS sport if it's continued to be run by the adults who ran it while my oldest was doing it . . .and sadly . . .I don't see why it would be different now.

Common Sense - my daughter excelled in track in spite of her emotional beat down in volleyball. Not because of it. As I've written in other posts more and more kids and their families are being drawn to sports like track and swimming because they just need that refuge from the horrible abuse they suffer at the hands of the adults they find in sports like volleyball. The entire way the sport is set up just makes it too irresistable for adult of questionable character to NOT be drawn to it. I mean . . .your club facility needs its run down HVAC system worked on . . .and I'm a HVAC guy? "Hey coach . .let me take a look at the system rather than pay a repair guy a few thousand dollars! Oh . . . by the way . . .who's starting setter next match?" Or . . ."Hey coach . . .you want to bring down a team from your college down to Mexico to play in a tournament over spring break, but the college cut your budget for that? How about I make a donation to the VB program at your school? Oh . . .by the way . . .who's starting OH on your club team next week?" Or . . ."Hey coach . . .It's me . .Asst Principal Schemdlap . . .my girl Susie . . .yes, the junior . . .is really wanting to give this volleyball thing a try. You think if she goes out for the team she'll be ok and like it? She REALLY likes it when she plays! Coach . . .you wouldn't believe the unsolicitated applications I get her for coaches . . . .even volleyball coaches! Let me know what you think about Susie Coach!" It's just too ripe for situations like the ones I just described, and when your child is on the "crappy-end" of these "arrangements" you just tend to remember . .to never forget those who chose, having an alternative to NOT make the choice . . .but chose . . to deliberately hurt children. And as I've written, the alternative path was simply to just NOT give Jill 99.9% of the playing time and give Jane 0.01%!! Its like the coach makes it out to be like the sun won't come up tomorrow if Jill gets 70% and Jane gets 30% !! I'll never, ever, ever understand that logic.

Coach . . it sounds like you might be one of the rare ones. If you'll truly replace Jill who's putting ball after ball after ball into the net or hitting it out with Jane who's NOT doing that . . .even if Jill's dad just laid down a check for $10,000 to the club's "facility fund" or if Jill's dad is on your school district's board . . .then you MIGHT be one of the few good ones left. God bless you!

Greg and others - Thank you

Greg and others -
Thank you for posting, Greg - you made me feel alot better about our situation. Sometimes I guess we have to realize that what we thought was a great fit for our children just isn't. Yesterday the vball team played a school who had a horrible team. For obvious reasons, the coach put the "reserves" in for the whole game. My daughter is a setter, and did a good job. She never missed a serve, had some great assists, and played great defense. The coach even put her in as an outside hitter - she had the last kill/last point of the game for the win. Interestingly in this morning's summary of the game, she was recognized as "good competition" for starting setter next year. She really got no credit for her performance overall, although other girls did. She has been a reserve setter for 2 years, and next year will be a senior. After reading the summary it became clear that she is up against the girl who was able to sub in for the starting setter during the practice I described in my original post. The writing is on the wall, so to speak. At this point, I am assuming she will sit next year, and will probably become a defensive specialist so the younger girl can be the starting setter. I guess what I now need to realize, and can't seem to come to grips with, is that in the coach's eyes, she's just not good enough. Perhaps now the advice I need is how to break this to her, and how I can grasp it myself. I agree with Coach Brandon - our coach is playing to win. He has always told us this. And I get it. What I'm having a hard time with is why he took my daughter as a sophomore - obviously he saw something in her. Has what he saw disappeared? Perhaps this goes beyond the sport itself. Again, as a parent there is nothing harder than realizing your child isn't "good enough". Do I encourage her to stay on the team as a benchwarmer to finish out her 4 years of high school? Do I encourage her to quit? I"m at a loss, but I will say I am heartbroken. I have 2 more months of this, and then who knows what's ahead for next year.

bench players

This is all new to me, as the mom of an 11 year old basketball player who just spent her last 4 games playing < 4 minutes or so per game, but more dreadfully, spent the last practice sitting on the floor a hour and 5 minutes of the hour 15 practice. I've google searching for thoughts on the topic and am flabbergasted at the number of coaches who advise learning how to be a "bench" player, rather than calling the situation for what it is -- unproductive for our children.

We'll wait it out to see if the situation will be continuing (and teaching our kid the character building). But, if the situation does continue (and I am more concerned about the practice than the games -- since, clearly a child gets nothing whatsoever out of sitting on the floor in the gym), reading this thread shows me that one of the things we have to do, to teach character is withdraw if we're not getting what we want out of the experience. There is value in teaching my daughter to work hard, even when she's not getting exactly what she wants, but there's no value in teaching her to let people take advantage of her. Thanks for posting this thread to give me resolve.

(BTW, this is a AAU team; we clearly made a naive mistake in assuming a team at this age would not be "playing to win" -- while, loosing and, in case anyone is wondering, my daughter is the most disciplined/compliant eleven year old player one can imagine, so no discipline issues are relevant).

Terry and Bar Jak

Terry - for your situation. You daughter has to speak with the coach and let him know what she wants to do. She is a senior next year and as such deserves some respect that being a senior only should bring. That's what we've generally seen in high school. If your child is "decent" and a senior . .. decent coaches will get your kid playing time.

Now the setter situation is troublesome because many view the setter as the "quarterback" of a volleyball team. I've seen "hot-shot" setters who were under-classmen start over seniors because the position is that important. If your girl can specialize in OH and DS this off-season (camps, lessons etc) then maybe she'll get a good amount of playing time next year as a senior. If her heart is set on setting, she has to let the coach know this and tell him that she's going to do everything in her power to really improve as a setter in the off season (This means camps and playing in leagues as much as possible. Yes . . this means spending money . . .I'm sorry.) In my daughter's worst emotional year as a club player, my girl was sub-planted by another girl who came from the top notch club in our area. This girl was being pushed to a "B" or -2's team at this top notch club (this club was BRUTAL . .ALWAYS searching for better girls . . if your girl was on this club . . .unless she was 6' 8" . . she always had to be looking over her shoulder!) but our club director was SOOOO jazzed about getting ANY kid from that club that he promised the sun and moon to this girl's parents (read into that . . .starting and NEVER sitting down!) Me, my wife, other parents watched this girl put 5-6 in each scrimmage and game into the net, or out, while my daughter would maybe have 2 errors playing against her. But PROMISES ARE PROMISES in the volleyball world! When my daughter approached the coach to ask how she could get a little more playing time she was given that classic . . but weakest . . of all phrases in coach-land i.e. "be more consistent". Well, everyone knows that means nothing because she was already choosing to play a girl who committed at least twice as many errors as my daughter did in practices/scrimmages (my daughter didn't play in real games . .so we only had the scrimmages to go off of).

So sometimes in this dirty world of volleyball you have to actually call these folks bluffs. After my daughter approached the coach about twice more and getting the same "be more consistent" excuse I did call the coach (this was on advice from another volleyball coach) and I offered this coach $85 a hour to conduct lessons with my daughter, so she could "fix" what was wrong with my girl. Faced with being exposed as a liar, this coach actually turned me down for lessons!!! She only gave lessons to starters because ALL these coaches know the difference between a starter and a benched girl can sometimes only be seen with a mirco-scope . .but the injustice is that the starter then plays all the time and the benched girl does not! I asked the assistant coach who else we could go to and you could just see how badly she felt for my daughter and how badly she was being treated. She hooked us up with a guy who has been an assistant coach of a NCAA DIV I college team - in a MAJOR conference . .and he gave our daughter lessons with girls from the college team. After four weeks of three times a week we stopped. Even at the end of this additional training my daughter could NOT get in a game. This college coach says to me . . ."Greg . .there are really bad things going on with the people your daughter is involved with in volleyball and my heart aches that she's going through this! If the girl I trained can't get in over this other girl . . .you better tell me that that girl is an early, very young pick for our Olympic team! I'm sorry . . but there ARE some very bad people involved with my sport!"

Bar Jak - some might say that 11 is too young to be worrying about some of the things you've read on my thread. But I will tell you my daughter got involved in volleyball at 13, and we were told that things should work out for her because she was so athletic but that she had gotten a very LATE start at volleyball. Yes . . .we were told that at 13!!!! Her first coach pointed out 4-5-6 girls on the team who had been going at it since they were 7. Yes . . .seven years old!! As your child ages and desires to play a sport at a more competitive level, you'll be faced with these dilemmas. Absolutely there's NO better way for your child to get better at a team sport than to PLAY with other children who also want to excel. The tragedy of this system is that these detestable coaches KNOW that they'll need basically 12 players (for volleyball) . . . and let's say 10,11, 12 for basketball, because they need one team to practice the other. In the worst scenarios with the worst types of people (the volleyball people my daughter ran into) it becomes . . I need these very good six players to practice my "super-human" other six . .my starters . . .my "never-come-off-the-court-ers". Amazingly there's not so much shame as you'd think there'd be among these folks as they perpetrate this type of abuse on the non-player/starters. They actually act like you as the parent . .. and your child . . .as the abused . . .should actually be "ok" with all of this! It's truly mind-boggling! And they way they keep you strung along with this system is that emotion of hope that they know all parents have for their children. They NEED your kid for practice and they NEED you money to lower the average cost to the families of the kids they truly care about .. .the starters . .and they get you to pay by whispering little phrases in your ear like . . ."Boy, Susie/Johnnies REALLY coming along! You watch . . .if he/she keeps working with us . . .sky's the limit for your child!" And bamm! They HAVE you . . .they have you child because they whisper something similar in your kid's ear as well. And there you go . . .you come back . . .check-book in hand . . .and you hope. Sad thing is . . .you're really only hoping for simple human decency to be shown to your child. Your kid doesn't have to become the starter and "never-come-out-of-the-gamer" but instead of sitting EVERY game in a five game day . . in a three day tournament . .you're just praying that your kid gets to play SOME . . .so he/she feels like they're part of the team. . . .like they're human . . .like they're alive! That's NEVER too much to ask from ANY decent human being involved in youth sports at ANY level. And shame on any one . . .Bar Jak/Terry . . . who comes on this board, saying they're involved with youth sports and somehow tries to defend this systematic form of child abuse. they should know better!

Terry - another thing . . .

I do feel there's honor in a girl finishing out her four years with a sport, but as your girl may honor her sport and her team and her school . . .so should your daughter be honored as a senior. Your daughter MUST play a decent amount at some position next year. She absolutely has to. Unless a younger girl is CLEARLY better . . your daughter should START. I'm not saying she has to never sit down, but she should play a decent amount.

Now here is my controversial statement . . .if your daughter goes out for the team and meaningful games start and she is NOT playing . . .I truly feel there is MORE shame in her going to practices and then sitting during games as the season goes on. The second she feels there is NO remedy to end the abuse she's taking . .she should . . .really, really should. . . quit and feel no remorse! The true shame will be on the coach who chose to publically humiliate a senior.

Often times young people who are put in intolerable situations by adults who should know better are actually further abused by the same adults - and maybe a few new ones . . .who will lable the child a "quitter" when all the kid wants is for the horrible pain to stop. We'd expect no less from adults in similar situations.

If your daughter find herself in that situation and she walks away . . .she's showing the world that she's NOT a door-mat, but rather, that she's a human being derserving of some level of respect!! She's NOT a quitter . . .she's just tired of pain!

Thanks again, Greg, for

Thanks again, Greg, for making me realize I'm not crazy.  I have told my daughter that I believe the other, younger girl will be the setter = I have explained that she will be there for 2 years vs. my daughter only having one more year to contribute to the team.  I know the coach will start the other girl, and bring a back-up from the JV team to sit on the bench but go in when we play "unimportant" teams.  That leaves my daughter out completely.  My daughter plays club off-season and has always tried out as a setter.  She has never been below a AA club level.  This year, I am hoping she will agree to try out as a DS.  It's her only hope of playing at all her senior year.    I am embarrassed to admit that I am ashamed FOR HER - more than she seems to be ashamed or humiliated for herself, although I know this is eating her up inside.  I go to the games with a knot in my stomach.  when she does play, the other parents say "oh, she did great today" as if they are shocked she is even capapable because they never see her out there.  I asked her last night if she would stick it out if she sat, and she said yes.  Your comments about the coaches putting ideas in these children's heads is so true - her coach is very nice to her, seems attentive, but clearly thinks the younger girl is a better volleyball player, and the attention she gives her is over the top.  Your description of the "starters" vs. the "practice team" is dead-on.  My daughter loves her teammates and the social aspects of the sport.  I hate to admit it, but I will encourage her to quit after the season begins if she's not playing.  I just can't stand to see her not get a fair chance.  Even if she was put in for 3 - 5 points a MATCH, I could tolerate it.  If she does go in, it's with the "practice team" - they have much less game experience so the pace is slow, and she doesn't play as well as she could if she got in with the starters occasionally.  Her senior year could be far more productive if she doesn't spend it sitting on a bench.    I am so grateful for your feedback.    I will forever tell people whose children are considering volleyball that it is cut-throat, and that the setter position is not a good idea because it limits the player.  I hope I survive this, because I can't ever recall a time raising 3 children where I have been so hurt by something in their lives.  Some may say "it's only a sport" but it is so much deeper - it is a child's psychological well-being - their confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, self-esteem are so affected by this type of thing.    Thanks again.

Not just volleyball

I've read many of the posts in this blog and it's very heartwrenching, and I understand what each of you feel. But there are a couple of things working here that I think need mentioned.

1. This is not just a volleyball thing, although specifically it's behind this situation. There is typically one setter on a volleyball team at a time, just like QB in football. Obviously moving up from middle school, each class has their own setters or quarterbacks. When you get to high school, that changes. Not always, but coaches are going to put the best person in that spot, not the oldest. If skills are the same, most would tend to go with the younger kid because they'll have them in that spot longer.

2. Not always, but in general, girls seem to hit their peak athletically between 15-17 years old. I've seen alot of kids over the years come in as freshman, and they never get better. Their bodies change a little and they lose some of their quickness, etc. Not always, but it happens with girls, not boys.

3. And I've alwasy said this, our young generation (and their parents) cannot accept being a "bench" player. AAU, club ball and youth leagues have molded them to the "equal" playing time format. 30-40 years ago, it was known that the starters got the lions' share of playing time, and you had kids on the bench (and parents) who knew this and accepted this. The equal playing time format is great for youth leagues, it keeps kids interested in sports, but the transition to competitive sports where you have to compete for playing time is too much for them (and their parents) to handle.

4. To the parent of the kid who may sit as a senior, I can't imagine a kid who's put in 3 years of high school sports to suddenly quit as a senior. There are more reasons than just playing time to play a sport. Commaradrie, being with friends, supporting the team in practices, etc. These are all valuable leadership skills that will help them in life, more than sitting out their senior year.

I'm finding this thread

I'm finding this thread informative, because I've been reading and trying to figure out the right way to guide my kiddo (who, as I've mentioned already plays basktball, not volley ball, and is also only 11).

We have the question of who gets to play in games. It seems to me that there's a range between "equal time" and not letting your bench play at all. In the examples of the two volleyball players, the complaint appears to be that the player isn't getting to play at all in games. In most of articles about the value to a "role player" (or bench player)  there seems to be an assumption that you might sometimes get called from the bench and play a critical role. If you're really not gettin gto play at all, then you're not getting a chance to improve your position, so you have to decide whether your immediate reward is sufficient. 

I really do understand that a a child might enjoy playing a sport for the "commaradrie, being with friends, supporting the team during practices, . . . ." and I might let my child play under those circumstances, but only if I really believe they're happy and if there isn't something more important they should be doing with their time. So, to the parent who is considering advising her child not to play volley ball, I'd ask, do you really believe that the time spent is a positive in your child's life? If not, you should really consider withdrawing.

I think that not just in volleyball, and not even just in sports, but in every endeavor (I'm familiar with adjuncts in the humanities -- temporary professors who are hired on a course by course basis and post-doctoral fellows in science who are hired in short term conracts) there's a desire to keep a flexible pool of workers in reserve for whom there is no immediate reward, but who are encouraged to stay in the game (in hopes of future unlikely reward)  because they are instantly available when someone else wants them. They are undervalued but told that they should wait, anyway, in the hope that they will reap the rewards (game time, a chance to shine, a permanent position as an english professor or a scientist who runs their own grant). But if you're not happy being on the bench, as a post doc, . . . . you should not stay in the hopes of the reward. You have to judge whether the immediate value you are getting is worth it. 

 This is the advice that I'm trying to apply to my own daughter's involvement in all of her activities. Someitmes you have to pay your dues (for example, you have to be a post-doc before you're a science professor) but the dues shouldn't hurt you (emotionally, financially, or physically) and your chance of reward has to be reasonable. 

So, for the parent of the v-ball player who is thinking of quitting? Is the current reward enough?  Is your daughter giving up something that might be more important (track, in our blogger's case)? is she happy with her friends even if she doesn't get to play? Can your family afford the time and sacrifices your making for the fun she's having? Because, at this point, if you really think she won't play in her senior year, the reward has to be pretty immediate. If players and families act on this, coaches will have to treat bench players in ways that make them happy. That might mean things other than playing time (or it might be some playing time), but they won't be able to trick kids into making themselves available with no reward. 

 

Terry - good thoughts here on "greater good" vs "greater bad"

Coomon Sense adds lots of good thoughts to my posts. He and I have traded "thoughts" over the last couple of years and my guess is he has to have a view/experience with sports that I just didn't have. I'm just about 50 and I played high level high school sports in the late '70s and even as a NCAA DIV I athlete in my freshman year of college and I can say to him and to you . . . young athlete's mind sets have NOT changed over the last 20-30-40 years. No one joins a high level sport to clap and cheer for others IF that's ALL they do when it comes to game-day. I'll give Common Sense this. When the transition to college is made and a kid earns a scholarship to be part of the team and they come to find out that they're largely sitting the bench, but EVERY semester that pay-off hits the bursar's office and your kid's bill GOES DOWN . . .then you child had best be practicing and if they're on the bench, they'd best be smiling and clapping and cheering their heads off for their starting team-mates. You see, THAT college bench player has their PAY-OFF . . . .but they only got that pay off because they PLAYED at the level your daughter is at and the level my daughter was at the year before. At your daughter's level . . .there MUST be playing time. Plain and simple.

Now here's a related point that Common Sense and I always seem to knock heads over. In NONE of my posts have you EVER read that I advocate "equal- YMCA/Rec League" level apportionment of playing time! Not once. I've always said that better players should play more. They should START. My point has always been this aspect that I seem to see practiced to an EXTREME level in volleyball and that is that the same six girls will start and NEVER, EVER come out. In all three games . . .in all matches in a day . . . in all matches of a multi-day tournament!! At the high level of varsity or the first division of JO USA volleyball club competition in your area almost every intellectually and emotionally honest parent/observer of these girls will tell you that the difference between the starter and the benched girl usually has to be measured with a micro-scope, and yet, as we experienced, and as I see more and more with VB . . .the playing time is given as 99.9% to the starter and 0.01% to the non-starter. It's absolutely not right. . . . .never has been never will be.

My theory as to why this happens with volleyball is quite simple: 1) NO GIRL EVER gets completely exhausted in playing a volleyball game. Its a great game, but you CAN'T compare it to basketball, soccer, etc in terms of physical exertion. (My daughter in her high school years, had one coach who gave "lip-service" to physical fitness and made the girls run a mile in try-outs - my daughter ran sub six minute miles beating EVERY girl, but really, it didn't matter. If the coach viewed another girl as taller and could hit outside stronger, putting the ball down with more velocity . . .the coach wouldn't care if that girl ran a 15 minute mile . . .she's gonna start!!) Ok so now 2) given that no girl gets exhausted, if that coach starts to win with a certain set of six . . .it's just SOOOOOO much easier to run a game/match with the same six playing ALL the time. Pretty soon, as the parent of a benched girl, who really (along with most) can't see why one girl get 99.9% of the playing time, to your kid's NONE . . .you begin to get sold this line of BS . . . ."Oh my . .the CHEMISTRY these six have!! Oh my . . .I just couldn't mess with that!!" Yes . . .this mystical "chemistry" factor (which is incredibly over-rated, over-inflated, over over -sold) begins to take precedence over the care for the benched girl's heart, soul and pysche!!! It's truly shameful.

Every family's situation with this wacky sport will be different. My daughter said the pain of public humiliation was too extreme. Club actually worked out ok for her when she left the first club she started with. That club was truly comprised of detestable people, coaches, administrators and parents. She made a move to another club in the area that was almost as good as her old club (not quite . . but pretty good) and her faith in adults and the sport was renewed for a while longer. This club (and on occassion . . she did beat her old club . . .those were INCREDIBLE DAYS!!) gave a thought that the team could actually be be better by cherishing and honoring each player that they accepted on the team WITH PLAYING TIME!! Weird . . . .huh? And it did work . . . .it does work!

Her junior year of high school was weird because the new head coach got sanctioned by our states's board for some weird violation and she had to leave before half-way through the season. The school brought in the weak-minded, weak souled JV coach and they let 2-3 parents( yes. . .parents of starters) help her. Un mitigated disaster for girls like my daughter!! No non-starter EVER touched the court after that change. The pain became too extreme for my daughter. She embraced . . as you probably do, as well as your daughter, the thought that members of a team . . .all members of a team . . .play in games.

So your situation is your situation. Your daughter may not feel this level of pain if she is playing some. That's ALL me and my girl wanted . . . to play some. I think she would have returned for her senior year if she just played some. Her words . . ."Dad, my playing my heart out in practice and scrimmages . . .clearly showing that I'm just as good as ******* isn't enough to have these adults STOP hurting me. The only thing I can control is the decision to step out on that court and basically hand them the whip to start using on me. I'm NOT going to hand them the whip this year . . .ok?" I hugged her apologized for my generation that had adult members that could do things like this to children and honored her choice. She focused on track for the rest of the year . . .a sport NO coach can step in an alter how things should be with their thoughts on how things should be . . . .because the stop-watch says what the stop-watch says . . .she won the state championship in her event . . and with academics was awarded a full scholarship to do track at a NCAA DIV I school!

As I said in my other blog . . .volleyball is a great sport . .it's just being destroyed for so many young people by some very bad adults. I don't tell parents of 8- 9 year olds to NOT do volleyball . . .I just tell them to PLEASE have your kid also do a sport like track/swimming/Cross country because you lessen the odds SO MUCH of a mis-guided adult just destroying your kid's soul and self-esteem than if you just roll the dice with volleyball!!

Hey....

I just wanted to give you and your daughter encouragement. I am currently a junior and have finally made it on varsity. I play full time on jv but sadly none on varsity. but i just wanted to tell you not to give up hope and tell her to ALWAYS try her hardest because then the coach will see how hard she is working and might just put her in! :)

Two Issues

One of the things that is happening in this thread is that two different issues are being wrapped into one. One issue is that some coaches decided who to play incorrectly. This can be because of who their parents are, what they did for the school/club/coach. The other issue is that some members of a team receive little or no playing time. The first issue is completely unacceptable and one that I do not understand. As a coach I want to win. How a coach could let other factors lower your chances to win is completely ridiculous to me. The other issue depends on the level. At a jr. high level I think that everyone should have relatively equal time (barring disciple/attendance issues). But at the varsity level, no player is guaranteed any playing time. Again, I tell my basketball players and parents that if playing 5 freshman every minute of every game gives us the best chance to win, I will do that. At some point kids and their parents have to realize that playing time (like everything in real life) is earned. In sports it is earned by performance in practice and production in games.

In the volleyball situation I do have some understanding for playing only your best six players. For one, my understanding is that substitution in volleyball is restricted. That makes it difficult to for a coach to take the chance on playing their weaker players. I know people will contend that it might not have made a difference in the end result, but coaches are not wired like that. On any given night anybody can beat anybody. Coaches preach that when they are the underdog and fear that when they are favored.

God Have Mercy On Any Adult Who Chooses . . .

. . .in the case of a volleyball team needing to win three games to win a match and the coach watches his/her "chosen six" win two straight by a score of 25 -8 and 25-9 and he plays the same same six in the third game vs playing other girls. That's a reprehensible adult more concerned for his/her glory that the emotional well being of the kids he probably spouted off some lies to his AD about being concerned about !!

I wish the benched players - who . . .again . . .are probably . . .talent-wise. . . .within a hair-length distance for being considered just as good as the starter . . ..could just walk away and leave the starters to practice against themselves to try and get better throughout the season. After all, they're the ones rewarded with the SOLE reason for the kids being out there in the first place . . . .playing time.

But these adults string along these "benchies" with false promises of playing time if they just hit it just a little bit harder . . . .sheeez! That's just not the way it is . . .at least with volleyball.

Greg - So to add fuel to the

Greg - So to add fuel to the fire last night it was announced that the starting JV setter was pulled up to varsity. she will be a junior next year, and my daughter will be a senior. Clearly the coach has plans to put one of the younger girls in to gain experience, and they can offer 2 years versus my daughter's one year that she has remaining. Is it truly possible to learn to be a DS by the start of next season? The funniest part is my daughter was actually happy for the girl to be brought up - I don't know if she's naive or generally a good kid!
I am convinced that she needs to talk to the coach. I think she is actually afraid of the answer she will get. I am going to have to be honest with her and tell her if she isn't starting setter with the younger girl as back up I will honestly tell her to consider leaving the team. I cannot stand the thought of being the "pity player" as a senior. I have nothing against the younger girls - everyone involved is capable. I get winning. I get experience. I get that there is really only one setter necessary on a volleyball team during games. I do not get how it's acceptable to not share the role in this case. Maybe that will happen but all signs point to my daughter not getting her time. I was so happy the season was winding down but to get this news is just another nail in the coffin.

Terry - Sorry For Your Pain

I can totally empathize with you. I went through it as well, except I had a situation that my pain was fueled by my daughter's pain . . .which she was physically/emotionally feeling AND expressing to me! You might have an incredibly unique daughter there. I've heard rumors that these kids exist . . .. but to exist on a VOLLEYBALL team . . . .generally speaking . . .unheard of!!

That's to say, it appears that your girl might truly be a rarity of the type of person that REALLY puts others before herself. In this case she's expressing happiness for a girl who is probably being groomed to start in her place . . . .even as a under-classmen. I guess what I'd want to know is . . .does YOUR DAUGHTER truly consider this girl to be DECIDELY better than her . . .like, "night-and-day" better than your girl? If she does, than that thought, combined with your daughter's advanced maturity, might result in her being happy that her team is getting this great setter (who's NOT her).

Kids sometimes think differently than us . . .as shocking as that may seem . . .and being that they're separate folks than us . . .it shouldn't be. The victim of the horrific treatment my daughter received at the hand of the volleyball adults she ran across was my daughter . . .and my family was indirect victims. Yet my daughter, now a DIV I scholarshipped athlete in college appears to not give volleyball a second thought. Appearing, I guess, to have "moved on". I haven't moved on, nor do I think I ever will, such in the level of offense I feel these folks leveled at my family. Ever chance I get to get on a soapbox on volleyball . . . .I climb right up there! My advice to families with young children is not to NOT play it . . .but to just be prepared . . .and the best preparation is to have your kid involved in an "individualistic" team sport (i.e. track) where coaches lacking moral character can't destroy your child emotionally and spiritually. From how I see youth club/HS volleyball played these days . . .for a team of 10-11-12 . . .that's A REAL possibility for about 4-5-6 girls on EVERY team depending upon who is coach!

Your other question . . .my belief is your daughter could gather some super DS/Libero skill sets before her senior year with a good amount of work. You know there are camps and clinics all over the place so she'll have to go to these and if she's playing in club now that the HS season is ending, she should ask that coach if she can play that. I don't know how tall your girl is but you probably know small girls (smaller than 5'8"!!!!!) who love the sport and desparately want to play it, look at that position as their last,best hope to keep going at it as they're pushed aside by coaches who brainlessly utter phrases like "I can teach volleyball . . .I can't teach height" as they bring on girls who are 6 foot or taller who may not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but yet these fools make these girls starters and "never-come-out-of-the-game" ers! ! So expect push back if your daughter is taller than 5'8" and if she's telling her 5'2" team-mate that she now wants to be DS/Libero. Honestly, looking at the mechanics of the game, I truly DO think shorter girls will do better back there in digging out a 90 mph hit simply because they're closer to the ground than these tall girls. The tall girls are supposed to fulfill their role of being at the net, and 9 times out of ten, let a serious hit go by into the back row by failing to block or turn the hit into a harmless lob, then turn around and expect the small girl to save their bacon by digging it out. And if somehow the DS doesn't get it up and bail out the tall girl's failure . . .oh may . . .the look of disgust on the tall girl's faces is palatable. I rejoice a couple of years ago when our 6'5" middle, as per usual, probably not really feeling like jumping that day, let hit after hit go by. Eventually the DS started missing some and the gargantuan girl goes, "C'mon . . .I need you to start doing you job! Dig those up!" And the DS said loud enough for EVERYONE to hear "How 'bout you doing your job and block some, or have you forgotten how to do that since the volleyball world starting rolling out the red carpet for you since you hit 6 foot in the first grade?!?!" It was priceless!!

The biggest key to your daughter's plans to go DS is to examine who else is there on the team. If the team already has a great girl back there . . .it might not work out. As I wrote earlier, I TRULY believe your daughter deserves a certain amount of respect and honor as a senior on her high school team . . .unless she just doesn't belong on a volleyball court. I don't pick up that this is the case with your girl. If she were like that, frankly she should have been cut earlier, or not allowed to progress to varsity. Since she's there, she should play . . .ALOT. Unless, as I wrote, the other girl in the position is just WORLDS better than her.

Terry, you're in a tough spot because you ache for your daughter and you want things to be better for her. But if your daughter is kinda "ok" with what has happened, still wants to be on the team and around volleyball and doesn't want to talk to the coach to see if she can change some things for herself, then I guess I wouldn't push it. You could tell her that you interpret her treatment as insulting to her and your family and let her know it causes YOU pain, but that will put thoughts in her head . . .feelings in her heart that by her doing something she wants to do . .. she's hurting you. As parents, as I'm sure you know . . .we put THEIR feelings first. My path was clear. By daughter was being emotionally ripped apart by adults who should have (did) know better . . .had ample opportunities to do the right things . . .and chose NOT to. It was KILLING my girl, and watching that, it was killing me. we did ALL the things the volleyball gods tell you to do . . . .lessons, leagues, club and talking to the coaches. Most of her coaches were bought and paid for by the starter girls families so there was no changing anything. My girl could have played in the 2010 world championships through another set of coaches and through another path. Arriving back in our town . . .with our clubs and her high school . . .she still would have sat the bench . . .that's how entreached these people get with their mind-sets . .especially whenthey begin to feel challenged by a player or a parent who DARES bring reality into the discussion. Ultimately there was nothing left to do but walk away . . . my girl wanted to do that . . .and I supported her in that decision. Let me know how things progress.

To Greg K

Thanks for starting this thread, it's been some very interesting reading right now after my 13 year old daughter didn't make either of the club teams she tried out for. At our school, until this year when they finally got the 5th and 6th graders volleyball teams, 7th grade was when girls volleyball started. My daughter started when she was in 7th grade last year. The 7th grade coach was brand-new, first-year as well as the girls, so as you can imagine the season was a disaster. Coach's daughter started along with the other favored five and my girl rode the bench. Oh, well, that's ok, basketball season's coming....
But the 7th grade girls basketball team has another brand-new, first-year coach. Some of the girls on the team (mostly the same ones from volleyball) had a little experience, most didn't, so another brutal season of beatdowns while the same ones play with her watching from the bench. This while the 7th grade boys have an outstanding season, only losing one game I believe. Not much fun at school for the girls, I imagine.
Track in the spring. Daughter does ok, gets more conditioning, has the most actual fun out of all her sports so far. It's the only sport that we can be more about participation than winning.
She goes to a volleyball camp this past summer, goes to open gym every day, is pumped up for a new season of volleyball with a somewhat more experienced 8th grade coach. She trained hard, had a good work ethic and attitude and this coach actually gave her a lot of playing time; she got better and I think her teammates did too, but not enough to get more than one win through the whole season. Oh well, that's ok (well, it's really not...girls and parents are all upset by now, and our athletes' morale is in the toilet), basketball season's coming....
There's a little hope...we have a long-time coach who actually knows what she's doing. But with this history, I'm not sure what she'll be able to do with this bunch. I'd be happy with a record with just a slightly more equal number of W's to L's and all the girls improving.
In the meantime, however, daughter decided she wanted to join a volleyball club to get better. She tried out last week for two teams and I knew at both tryouts she wasn't going to make either team when I saw what she was up against. She saw it too, got nervous and didn't perform up to potential at either tryout. On top of that, she was first year trying out, didn't know anyone in either club and I'm sure the club owners knew about our middle school volleyball and weren't interested.
I knew just from common sense that there were "club politics" involved, but I thought that maybe having our high school's head volleyball coach as one of the club coaches would get her one spot out of 18 that 22 tried out for. Nope. But reading this whole thread has really opened my eyes to what a cruel sport volleyball is, and now I don't feel nearly as bad for her not making club. She was up against girls that had probably been playing for a lot longer with a lot better coaches and has already had her morale stomped on by steady losing in school sports. She was also up against girls that had already been in the club, were someone's favorite, or that a coach owed a parent a favor to. Even if she'd made the club, she would have definitely been a "practice player" for the more talented ones. Screw that.
That being said, she still loves to play and wants to get better. I don't know how to do this around here without her playing club. This is a small town and there's just not that many alternatives. I don't know how else I can get her any more experience. My heart is breaking for her, because despite all the negatives since she's been in volleyball, she loves the game and wants so much to play and get better and I don't know how to make that happen for her. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!  Oh, and by the way, I am not ashamed of my daughter's sports teams at all.  With consideration given to their skill level, I can't see their record being entirely their fault, in fact I feel that these girls have been cheated of a good middle school sports experience by a school that places little to no value on middle school girls sports.  

Lisa - I feel so good for you . . .and so bad at the same time

I love reading about young people's love for an activity . . .a sport . . .even a sport like volleyball, Lisa. But, I'm sorry, my daughter and family went through SOOOOOO much pain because of the way this sport is run now for youth in the U.S. that it's so hard for me to recommend it to families.

Looking back, with club, airfare, hotels, private lessons, etc . . .we probably spent about $15,000 to keep proving to everyone involved with my girl and volleyball that she was an incredible player . . .she was . . .observations from so mnay outsiders . . .including many really learned in volleyball confirmed that!! However, as I've written on this thread and several others, NO child (unless they are an incredible exception) will continue to love a sport that they're NOT allowed to play come meaningful game time. If this is the course set your girl, I'm telling you (and it KILLS me to write this) you will watch your daughter's love for a sport and probably for many adults involved in the sport turn into abject hatred and a potential source of depression if she does not play meaningful minutes in meaningful games. It happened to my daughter and I can rattle off another 50 or so we know that had similar experiences. Saddest thing of all? These outcomes for these girls happened due to choices made by very bad adults who simply should have known better. Many of whom got involved in the sport at the HS or club level to insure GOOD outcomes for their child. The unfortunate thing about volleyball is that most often, a parent insuring GOOD outcomes for their child ALSO means they're insuring BAD outcomes for YOUR child!!! It's just the way it is.

"Politics" is a very nice way to term what you're seeing in club (and soon to be) HS volleyball. If your girl is about 14, she's right at the stage where my girl experienced BRUTAL injustices related to this sport. Please try to read the story I wrote about how my daughter's 14 year old team accepted 2-3 players from another club and what emotional havoc that brought about. The damming thing about all of that was just how blantant and really, proud these girls parents were about what they had brought about for about 2-3 other girls.

I'll write some more here when I have a little more time but I was very gratified to read about your daughter's involvement with track! PLEASE, PLEASE keep encouraging her to try and devote herself to that sport. The payoffs are so, so, SOOOO much better!

To Lisa

I live in a small town where the girls didn't start until 7th grade either. I saw my 7th grader play and she loved the sport. They got trampled every match by teams who started in 4th or 5th grade. I also had a daughter in 5th grade.

Here's what I did. I started a club. We entered local tournaments AAU. Our 7th graders had to play B tournaments because they were so outskilled in A tournaments, but they really improved so much! Our 5th graders did very well, even winning a tournament. They qualified for our "state" club tournament and placed in the top 1/2 of the 40 teams there. Not too bad!

It's pretty simple to register a club and register a team for AAU. It's easy to get into tournaments as long as you start early. So your daughter doesn't make the club team, start your own. See if 6 or 7 other girls want to play and find someone to coach them. We don't travel nationally or anything, but they play TONS of matches.

Our girls practice at the local middle school after school in the cafeteria twice a week. Which the allow because the team was "open" and we took everyone who wanted to play from the school. They are learning to love the game, improve bonds of friendship, and get better. We ran a fundraiser to make money for our team. This year the out of pocket will be 26.00 for each parent. I volunteer all my time to run the "club" and coach the now 6th grade team. Another parent coaches the now 8th grade team. Other parents are stepping up to coach the 7th and 5th grade teams this year. Nobody's paid, everyone plays, everyone is respected and the girls are getting DARN good.

The 6th grade team is now playing in post season "fun" tournaments with the local school and club teams. We beat a few of the "elite" clubs in the area. And I have girls on my 6th grade team who wouldn't EVER make a club team (one has never served the ball over the net), and I have a girl on my 6th grade team who can jump serve and another who can hit the back line with kills consistantly. But they all play. Some a little more than others, but everyone plays at least 1/2 (front or back row) of every single match (unless we don't rotate because we just won 21-1, which we've done three times!)

Take matters into your own hands. You don't have to depend on anyone else or hope club owners care more about the players than the bottom line. Start a club, coach the team, print your jerseys, sign up for tournaments. Anyone can do it!

Good idea Mandy, there is

Good idea Mandy, there is certainly no limits on the numbers of club teams, in fact, it's really like an huge intramural program (for those who remember intramurals).

Caution though, just because you start and play for any club team does not mean anything when it comes to school teams. I think this may be the biggest rub with the whole Club/ AAU experience. When you get to school sports, one team, the best play, period, and there is nothing wrong with that.
One of the downsides of club is that it creates a sense of entitlement on playing time and the "competition" of earning time is lost. Many kids get to high school, find out they aren't starting varsity their freshman year and quit altogether.
Still a great plan, start your own team, there is such a shortage of people who actually want to do the work. They are all for dropping kids off for practices and games, they just don't want to coach or organize. More power to you!

Mandy - Lisa : counter point from someone who's been there . .

If you start a club and your club somehow becomes known as a club that respects all girls and all families by treating the children with the decency of maningful playing time . . . .people will beat a path to your door. Now, the flip side of that, and how this system has ultimately developed into the "cesspool" that it is . . . .parents (and the players) want the players to be challenged and developed into the types of players who will get college offers as the junior years in HS are ending. This only happens with high level play.

Where Common Sense and I differ is that I believe, a girl who has trained and played and developed and has been offered a slot on a team that is playing at very competitive levels (i.e. my daughter a couple of years back) must be afforded an opportunity to play meaningful minutes in meaningful games. Please note . . .I didn't say START and I didn't say NEVER COME OUT . . . .I said PLAY some. The morally deficient adults who are involved with the sport at this stage know they need 9-10-11 or so girls on a team for several reasons. HS and Club teams share the reason of needing to have challenging practices to keep the girls developing. And of course there's injury and sickness to consider as well. Club teams have the additional reason of needing to lower the overall average cost to each family by including more families. What will perplex me till my dying day is how these adults, more so now than ever, have allowed themselves to embrace a playing strategy mindset that while accepting 9-10-11-12 girls onto the team that, come game day, they will only start and play the same six girls over, and over, and over, and over again. These same adults will actually be able to look at the same 3-4-5-6 girls they are continually benching game, after game, after game and somehow lie to their very souls that the are NOT emotionally, mentally and spirtually destroying those girls! I truly wonder how these people can even look at themselves in the mirror!!

So emboldened by families wanting their daughters to train on competitive teams somehow take that the girls show up on their doorsteps as a complete endorsement of this "play only six" mindset and NOTHING is further from the truth. Most clubs will flat out lie, or not be honest with their intentions for the 10 or so they take on their teams. I'd be happy if a club said "Look, we need 10-11-12 girls on a team to practice and lower the cost for the "golden families" but we only going to play the same six of those golden families over and over again." You could then ask if those six were already set and if so, you and your girl could walk away. You'd avoid having perhaps $3,000 to $4,000 dollars being stolen from you. But the clubs want that money so they will LIE to you and tell you something like, "no one is guaranteed playing time. We apportion it out based upon ability shown in practice" Again, largely a lie and again, the policy of just playing the same SIX OVER AND OVER AND OVER again is never,never explained. My guess is because in reality, for a club taking 9-10-11 girls or so on to a team. . .it CANNOT be satisfactorily explained to the 3-4-5 families who's girls are going to ALWAYS sit and NEVER PLAY in meaningful games. You can try and put it to them . . .as in "Coach, you have to win three games here. You just destroyed that team 25-8 and 25 -9. Why can't my daughter get in that third game?" There's NO REASON ON EARTH that that man/woman can give you if your daughter was selected to the team and has been practicing with the team, IF your girl does not get in that third game other than, "I have chosen to emotionally and mentally abuse your child. You brought her here so you've told me my abuse of her is quite OK with you. Now shut up and get back in the stands!"

Common Sense brought up high school and I hope I never run into girls who'd behave like he suggests. 9th graders expecting to . . .first of all . . .MAKE Varsity and then . .. START!! And if they don't get that . . .they quit?!?!?

Most high schools have C-squads, JV and Varsity teams (depending upon the size of the high school) for a reason. Younger girls generally have less talent then older girls simply from a standpoint of playing experience. By ninth grade my daughter had played two years of Jr. High and a year of club on a team that went to the Junior Olympic National Championships. She made JV as a ninth grader and played a good amount. In my opinion, NOWHERE near what she deserved but that was due to the dirtiness you can find in HIGH SCHOOL. Here some girls are selected AND PLAY because mom or dad is a school administrator, on the school board, a teacher. One girl played because her father bought new uniforms, balls and paid a speaker fee paid for Olympian who lived in our area come speak to the girls!! Plus the JV coach honored 10th and 11th graders that were on the team and who were older than my daughter. Again, my wife and I didn't DEMAND that our girl start EVERY game and play EVERY minute. While if I adopted the attitude some who respond to me on this board use, I could make the case that she deserved that. The simple fact of the matter is that's WRONG for ANY volleyball player to expect that treatment and for a coach to give it to her . . .if she truly values every member of her team. With more experience, including another year of club (again, the ONLY girl in the school going to Junior Olympic National Championships in club again) my daughter makes JV again because that was appropriate for her level of experience. Now the JV coach plays my girl every second of every game, though at NO point did we OR my daughter demand that to be the case. Had my daughter sat out a game here and there for another girl (selected to the team) to play some . . .that would have been totally OK because that is the only decent way to run a volleyball team!!

Ok, so now she's going into junior year. She's had another season of club (this time they didn't make it to the JO Championships - but got close!) Now she makes varsity and I've detailed this story in my first post on this thread. She really doesn't play much at all, sitting behind seniors who are CLEARLY lesser players than her. One girl she sits behind father is asst principle and the other girl's father has made himself like equipment manager. Another girl's mom comes in and volunteers to stretch, massage, and provide protein shakes for the girls!!!!! No, I'm NOT kidding! All we can figure is that the coach is honoring seniors, and as I wrote to Lisa (I believe) there's much to that philosophy that is ok . . .but again, we get to my continuing point . . . why, why . . WHY does the playing time have to be ALL or nothing? But at this point, knowing what she brings to the team, knowing the clubs she's played on, but realizing how she'd been treated when all she asked for was a little playing time . . .when that junior season was over . . . .she walked away from a sport she absolutely loved as a 13 year old, but, when placed in the hands of the adults she ran up against, absolutely hated by the time she was 16. The tragedy of it all? It all could have been avoided with a little meaningful playing time.

SO Many . . .a club that honors ALL girls that show up at its doors? Absolutely wonderful!!! But expect families to leave those types of clubs to try their luck on this crappy roulette wheel I just described that make some girls (and families) very happy, but destroys many more!

A couple of thoughts from a

A couple of thoughts from a sports dad (more soccer than volleyball):

1. If your daughter is not getting playing time on a particular club team -- go elsewhere. Find a team where your daughter will be one of the best players. Pay attention to the leagues and the teams. Talk to parents from other teams when you play them -- what do they like and dislike about the team/coach their kid plays for. Talk to other coaches who get good reviews from their parents, and ask to have your daughter come to a few practices to check things out and then go and do it. Forget about "playing with friends" -- your kid will make friends with the new team. Forget about "this team/club is really good". Those don't matter if your kid is not playing. Find a good situation for your kid and go there. I would add -- at older ages, and higher competitive levels, you also need to pay attention to who the other kids are on the team. If your kid's position is already pretty full on one team -- find another.

2. Be smart. The time to pin down coaches philosophies on playing time is before you sign the first check. . Never have your kid tryout for a team unless you have spoken with the coach, and sat in the stands for a at least two matchs to see how coach really acts and what their substitution pattern really is like.

3. Volleyball is a sport for tall kids. Coaches will take a tall kid with two left feet who has never played before over a short kid who works hard who has been playing for years because coaches truly believe that they can turn that tall kid into a player. It won't happen because when push comes to shove -- youth and school coaches do not have the time to do that. It can be done but it will take individual training and effort on the part of the player.

4. One thing that kids can control is getting and staying in good physical condition. It is also one of the things that can let a kid really stand out at practice. It will also give your kid more confidence.

5. Be realistic about your kid's talents. Volleyball may not be her sport. Athletic kids can play alot of sports reasonably well. It is hard to switch gears at 16, but pretty easy at 12. Keep reassessing the situation and be very careful not to put a kid into a sport just because their older siblings do it (and forget about the reason that friends do it).

An aspect of club and travel

An aspect of club and travel teams that has severely affected high school programs is in numbers. Yes, there are just many other things kids can do these days (jobs, other school activities,etc.) but I think one philosophical change in kids is the acceptance of just "being" on a team.
I feel this can be traced back to the "equal play" philosophy that was indroduced about 10 years ago. And believe me, I feel at the youth level, everyone should play, but a byproduct is that we don't have the same competition for playing time. You have 10 kids, each kid plays the same amount of time, regardless of skill, how hard they work, and the kids figure out quickly that the incentive to win isn't there. Again, not a bad thing, but reality.
Well, guess what? When you get to high school, and all the sudden there are 12-14 kids on the volleyball team and it's competitive, you can't play everybody. Kids have been trained that they play equal time, and when they figure out that's not going to happen, they quit.
Also, about being realistic, there is just a natural narrowing of numbers as kids go through school. High school sports are very demanding, with daily practices and sometimes long seasons. Typically club and travel team practice maybe once or twice a week, and mostly focus on playing games. The practice/ game ratio is much higher in high school.

Newsocdad and Common Sense

Good thoughts . . .Newsocdad . . .very much right on. The only trouble is with club is the "mountaintop" analogy I've used on different threads on this subject. When your child gets on a club that is very competitive and is playing for the championship of that club system (in volleyball its the national junior olympic championship sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committe) you child is practicing/playing with probably the best in the city/region at the sport. If you see with your own eyes, and other observers tell you that you child is essentially at the same talent level of the girl starting over her you(and your child) become frustrated because you don't understand why THAT girls gets pretty much ALL the playing time and your child gets none on game day. I've often heard about the difficulty of substitutions in volleyball though I've watched other decent coaches do it very well so that ALL his/her platers play. SO even if I conceed that point, in volleyball to win a match, you have to win 3 out of possible five game match. So . .. . .play the girl deemed by the coach to be better in the first game . . . .then play the other girl (whom I'm telling you, at this level, is right there with the starter in talent) in the next game!!! Why does that concept seem like I'm asking the coach to split the atom!?!?! . The next issue with just switching clubs gets to that mountaintop analogy. In volleyball, you get better by playing with girls on your talent level or slightly better. NOT the other way around. That solution (going to another club) is often offered to many girls and parents who come to realize that they're on a club that's embraced this "play only six" mentality but wanted your kid because they saw how good she was and how she could "practice" the truly valued girls - the starters and the "never-come-out-of-the gamers". They keep you and your child around with false promises of "next year". But at this point your child has seen the mountain-top . . .in volleyball that's PLAYING meaningful minutes on a good competitive team. Telling the child to go back down the mountain . . .to base camp . . .isn't going to be satisfying. It's going to be soul-destroying.

And Common Sense . . . .you know the deal by now . . . . . .I'm talking about a SOME playing time . . . . .NOT equal. We never expected that at the levels my daughter played. Volleyball perverted playing time among the typical 9-10-11-12 girl teams to ALL for six and NONE for the rest. That's just wrong and any decent adult knows this to be true and any coach who didn't embrace that mindset should know just how much emotional damage they brought to several girls each year they coached . . .and they should be ashamed.

Greg K, no complaints here.

Greg K, no complaints here. Again, I speak in generalities. I do think that all club/ travel teams should only keep the kids they intend to play, and it's the parents responsibility to find these things out BEFORE signing up.

Now, at the high school level, I do feel there is a value to being part of the team, and you need enough kids to have meaningful practices. I've always told people that "practice time" should be considered" playing time". In that vein, everyone gets lots of playing time. A generation or two ago, some kids were just happy to be on a team and playing time was never questioned by parents. Today's a new day.

While I understand your particular situation with your daughter, I do feel there is some responsibility that should have fallen on you in communicating to your daughter that she could try out for the team, but if she made it she may not play. What's the old saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Common Sense: I have to

Common Sense:

I have to disagree somewhat. Parents have always questioned playing time (and positions) for as long as there have been youth sports. It is not somehow unique to this generation.

I do agree, however, that parents do not demand enough information up front from club coaches and teams. Kids and parents need to know in advance how positions are assigned and how playing time is determined. If a coach and club will not tell you those things then rest assured they are not going to come out in your child's favor. Do not sign up. If you find you and your kid have made a mistake then take steps to correct it. Obviously start with the coach and club. If things cannot be resolved, then look for an interm situation -- a move to a new team/club -- and ask for a release. I have not done this with any of my kids, but I know folks who have done so, and there have been no issues as long as fees were paid up to that point in time.

One thing I am sure of is that different coaches like different types of players. It is the same thing as why a director might like one actor over another. In my view, it is silly to waste time trying to get a club coach to change their view. Find a coach who likes how your kid plays and go there. With a school coach, of course, your options are limited. If the school coach does not care for how your kid plays, the approach really has to be to just have fun with their friends. If it is not fun -- then do not bother.

You're right . . .Newsocdad . . .

I've said it to Common Sense before. I was a high school athlete and inter-collegiate athlete in the late 1970's and early 1980's . As you wrote, no young person is EVER ok with sitting the bench, especially if it's 100% benching in every meaningful game and especially when they know that they were selected to the team because they were GOOD, and maybe when everyone knows the degrees separating them from the starter can only be seen with a mirco-scope!

The reason I write on this board is to save young people and their families anguish when they know this is the case and when they unfortunately run into the very bad types of people my daughter ran into in volleyball. I keep writing because I STILL see the patterns with playing time withTHIS PARTICULAR sport because of its special nature (no one athlete gets totally exhausted in playing the game allowing the weak-minded/weak- charactered coach to play the same six over and over again. If Common Sense would say that young people back a few generations ago were OK with being substitutes and playing about 30% to the starter's 70%, I'd agree with him . . . because in those situations every kid WOULD BE PLAYING . . . .some. But volleyball isn't like that. . . .I don't know if it ever was.

Another reason for my crusade is that the bad people who make their way into volleyball coaching actually know that they need more than six on the team for practicing and sickness/injury and will therefore LIE to about 3-4-5-6 other children and lead them to believe they will actually PLAY in meaningful games as long as they keep coming out and praactcing their hearts out (in the case of club . . .do all that AND keep paying!)

So that gets to your other point about getting the "real deal" on a coach's philosophy BEFORE you write that first check. Well, in our area the club coaches are trained to LIE to you to tell you that playing time is NOT guaranteed and that each child earns it in practice. I'm here to tell you that by the time your child is considering a 14 year old and above team, that before there's even a "try-out" or before the first club practice, that the starters are already known and in the case of club volleyball as it is run now . . .this also means the girls who will NEVER, EVER come out of any game are known. Heck, this might be the case now as young as 13 year old teams! These folks LIE because they need your money and they need your child to practice the "chosen six" (in the case of volleyball).

I hope that things are different with club soccer. My thoughts on soccer is that kids DO get exhausted with the running so that there should be substitutions. So it appears to me to be a sport that if your child is selected to be on the team . . they will play some. That's all ANY kid wants, and that's what this is all about . . . .SOME playing time

PS - what do you think Commmon Sense meant by saying (and I'm para-phrasing here) "we considered playing in practice and playing in games to be "playing"? Do you believe he was actually EQUATING the two? That's freaking me out! I can't imagine any circumstance. . . in any world . . where a child who only touched the ball in practice would go up to the kid who's playing in the games where they keep track of wins and loses and say . . . "Yeah, I'm glad the coach is using us both the same on this team. I'm contributing just like you! " Yikes . . .I have to go lay down!

I agree Greg, practicing and

I agree Greg, practicing and playing totally not the same. 

 

Devastated

Last night was truly the icing on the "volleyball season from hell" cake! The younger girl who was called upon to sub in as setter for my daughter's team was named captain at the banquet last night. My daughter, who has been on the team for 2 years now, was passed over for a girl who will be a junior next year. To say she is heartbroken is an understatement. In addition to barely getting playing time as she was the "practice setter" for 2 years, the coach chose a younger, less experienced girl to be captain. I told my daughter to give serious thought to quitting. Strangely, this younger girl told another player on the team that the coach had called her house last week. Seems her dad and the coach have become very chummy...I am in need of serious therapy after this - several of the girls on the team told my daughter they had voted for her. She meets every qualification required to be the captain - I really want to approach the coach and ask specifically what she lacks in order to be captain. So now I am forced to pay for a club team as the coach wants every girl to play off-season. Do I tell my daughter I will not pay for it? The girl who made captain will now most certainly be the setter...does quitting make my daughter look like a jerk? I don't think I can mentally handle this anymore - my daughter is a great kid. top of her class, student govt, positive, etc - I'm not saying this other girl isn't, but I really thought the coach would give my daughter a break since she has done everything she can to be a team player, including sitting on the bench for 2 years. HELP!!!

Hi Terry I hope things

Hi Terry

I hope things have or will move on for you.   This past weekend I pulled my daughter from her team, this is her 6th yr of club VB, same "coach" for 3 of those years , also her High School coach - we're done! FINALLY.   To make a long story short, I am absolutely appreciating the comments of many, GREG is my HERO! (after my dad of course.)  I have read many of the posts and I must support whole heartedly the comments from the parents.  For too long I have held my tongue, paid the bills and picked up the pieces of psyche from my kid and others.  "Coach Speak" wonderful comments, manipulations... it's got absolutely nothing to do with the kids...its the coach, the school or the club's reputation the kids have become fodder, they move on, at best a kid might be on a team 3 yrs and the sooner we're clear on that the sooner we can start in a better direction.  Mt daughter 3 yrs ago wanted to play Jr, she wanted to play with friends and get court time, the senior coach convinced her to play senior, "I'll get you in" "a player like you won't sit", I was there, I heard it, she sat through 5 tournaments, 18 season games.  She played 10 points, in one game when another coach had to cover.   This season was their last club.  At the parent meeting, "We're just about fun this year",  "everyone will play",   "its not about positions",... My daughter did not want to play, I encouraged her to talk her concerns over with the coach - she did -  coach took 9 (yes only 9) players, part of my kids concern that she shared with the coach was - how many outside hitters... "only 4", guess what 1/2 way through the season one if the middles becomes an outside hitter. The bench got longer (as long as it could get with only 9 on the team) My daughter called her on that and she (the coach) denied having had any conversation with her at the start of the year.   Guess who sat for 2 days of the final tournament.  Guess what my kid has as a cherished memory of her last club tournament -  Integrity and why its important, my daughter has learned much about it this past weekend.  Now, there is no recourse, the clubs, the coaches (and I appreciated the comment about how at best only 1 in 100 coaches will be able to hear this) and for me, the provincial volleyball association all follow the same book.  We can't question, talk to, say anything.  Mental abuse, Emotional abuse, "character development"  "accountability"... no its just sport.   

I love this game, played for 30 yrs (still am), coached for 5yrs probably push this till I can't, hopefully we'll discover we're on the same team and we'll stop harming children in the mean time. 

Terry - sorry for you-and your daughter's pain

I have always thought that unless a senior girl had other issues (e.g.displays a complete lack of an ability to show leadership . .etc) or unless an underclassmen (freshman, sophomore, junior) is an absolute PHENOM . .. i.e. the NEXT Micheal Jordan in basketball or (to use favorite phrase in volleyball) the next Misty May in volleyball . . .a coach just DOES NOT make a non-senior team captain. That is the role for a senior . . .plain and simple.

Now I say this and I look back at my younger daughter's cross-country season. She's a high school freshman. As I've written before . .she now will NOT devote any time or effort into ANY team sport where a coach picks like 10 for basketball or 12 for volleyball and then he/she makes the playing/starting decisions because she was been indirectly harmed by her older sister's volleyball experience. She's seen the abject corruption that often goes into those decisions by morally lacking adults who too easily succumb to pressures that allow these incredibly important decisions that can radically impact a young person's spirit, self esteem and even mental health - to be based upon OTHER factors than just talent displayed on the court/field. Simply put, my younger girl won't place those important things in the hands of the adults we see getting involved with team youth sports. Given an opportunity to do the right things . .too often nowadays . . they fail these young people. And worse, they actually don't seem to care about the horrific damage they do to some young people and advance other young people.

So, my younger girl runs in a sport where if she can get up to the starting line . . .she'll get to run. And if she sets state records, finishes first, etc. NO corrupt coach can keep her from getting the recognition she deserves. So actually morally bankrupt adults usually don't try coaching in sports like track, cross country, swimming , wrestling etc, because their influence of who gets show-cased, and who gets pushed aside is basically eliminated.

Anyway, the fastest girl coming out of last season was a sophomore girl (going to be a junior THIS season) There were junior girls last season on the team, but they couldn't beat this girl. So as THIS season started, the coach had to name a captain(and I think the girls voted as well) and there was a very good senior girl . . .just a few seconds away from this junior girl. Well, as you might have guessed, the junior girl was named captain (she IS fastest) and this devastated the senior girl. To my mind, the senior girl was NOT so horrible, nor was the junior girl "night-and-day" better to the point that the senior shouldn't have been chosen captain . . .but I guess the coach would defend his decision based upon times . . .and in track/cross country - times are UNDENIABLE . . not open to "coach interpretation" - unlike volleyball.

Your daughter's coach, to my mind, is stating through his actions that he believes this younger girl is just an absolutely, "once-in-a-blue-moon" volleyball talent that she should get this honor over a senior.

As I've stated before, I know exactly how YOU feel, but you have to get your daughter's feel on this. You've alluded before that your girl might just truly be this incredibly rare kind of girl that really puts HER feelings and goals behind what her coach tells her are the best interest of the team . . .and notice I wrote "what the coach defines the as the best interests" of the team. As adults , you and I aren't naive enough to at least not consider that this man might have some unsavory personal motivations that are guiding his decisions . . we lived too long to not know that's usually the case. But your daughter is young and might still very well believe that all adults are always acting honorably. Seeing MY daughter come to the realization that this is NOT the case was one of the most heart-breaking things I experienced in her journey with volleyball!

You have a right to tell her you now feel that she is being publically humiliated by the adults involved with her volleyball team, and while you can't control that these bad people have chosen to do this, you can control whether or not you go and watch the humiliation. This is tough because if she wants to be part of this team . .in any form. . . you're telling her you now feel she's allowing herself to be humiliated . . and that will put another "knife in her gut". You're a person and your daughter is now a young adult so she should know how you feel. My daughter KNEW she was being humiliated in volleyball, and she knew that through her humiliation her family was being humiliated and she wanted that to end as soon as possible, so she walked away after her junior year. She knew she had track to run to and to help heal her wounds, so I really believe that helped her. Ultimately, you have to tell her you'll support her in her decision and that you'll be there to support her in whatever form she gets to participate on with this team if she choses to return. That's hard . . .but we always knew parenting would be hard . . .didn't we? Best wishes!

Again, I think it is

Again, I think it is important to teach our kids that just because a coach does not see you as a top player for a given team, that does not necessarily mean that they are not a top player. Different coaches see different things in players just like different directors see different things in actors. In a travel/club sport setting that may mean looking for another team. In a school setting it is more difficult as obviously it can be much more difficult and expensive to switch schools. I think with the school, as I posted previously, the best alternative is to treat the sport as being "just for fun". And when it becomes "not much fun" then don't do it.
I do think that volleyball is behind soccer in figuring out how to coach girls. That is odd to me as volleyball is the most popular girls high school sport. For whatever reason, it appears that a very good many volleyball coaches seem to have missed or ignored all of the research and practical instruction and advice that has come out in the last 10 years about how to coach competitive girls. Club soccer actually is pretty good in that regard -- perhaps because one of the early "prophets" in coaching women differently than men is Anson Dorrence of UNC women's soccer team, and perhaps because competitive youth soccer coaches utilize a licensing and continuing education system that includes instruction on coaching girls/women.
Mind you, that's not to say that all is well in the world of soccer when it comes to coaching girls/women, but in comparison volleyball seems to still be in the Dark Ages.
On the captain thing -- I confess to not really being in favor of team captains at any time outside of the sports where a "captain" actually can have some official responsibilities during the game, e.g. hockey where the captain can speak with the ref. I say that even though I think my own daughter has been a pretty good captain of her high school soccer team since her Sophomore year. What coaches really want a captain for is something that 16 to 18 year old kids really are not mature enough to provide. Teenage kids are not really up to deciding if a teammate needs a kick in the pants or a pat on the back to get them motivated, and they are not very astute at recognizing disputes that do not involve themselves. I do, however, approve of the captains acting as a safe "go to" person for younger players, but that only works when the captain is "older". Not many seniors came to my kid when she was team captain her Sophomore year to ask her to help with some team realated problem.

Newsocdad- problem I see is that EVERYTHING is judge by game day

We had enough feedback that my daughter was one of the top 20 volleyball players in her age group in or region . . first, from the teams she was selected to and; secondly feedback from outsiders NOT emotionally tied to us (e.g. College coaches, members of U.S. Olympic Volleyball organization) What matter to her was how much time she played in meaningful games on her club team and on her high school team . . .nothing else mattered.

As I've written about a gazillion times on this board and other threads . . she never asked, we never asked that she start every game and never come out. We only asked that she play SOME on every team she was part of. On certain seasons . . .that did happen. That's what kept her going all the way through her junior year, but it wasn't consistent enough that she basically didn't develop this "volleyball personality" that can be summed up with a phrase "When am I going to be screwed over in this sport next, and who's going to screw me over?" That's no way for a young person to approach sports . . .especially when you'd like to think that sports are supposed to be something that brings joy to your life!

I largely agree with you on the team captain thing, but it is largely done in high school sports and frankly, a kid can parlay that into "leadership" on a college resume. That's why I think a senior should have the title. But in many schools they are popularity contests, but if the ultimate vote falls to the adult coach . .he/she should know better than to play to popularity.

Captains

I disagree with what has been said about captains in high school. I think that captains are extremely important. On any team leadership has to come from different places, it can not all come from the coaching staff. Good captains provide that leadership when the coach is not around, in school, in the locker room, ect.

Greg, I agree. My daughter

Greg, I agree. My daughter has consistently played and started as setter at a AA level on club teams for 4 years now, however she was the "practice setter" for her high school team and has committed 2 years as such. Although she seems to think she will spend her senior year as setter, I see it differently - the coach set up the junior girl to be captain so he could play her wherever he wanted, and will be able to get 2 years out of her as setter instead of the one my daughter can provide. If I thought he would even rotate my daughter in as a DS I'd take it! There was a vote, and perhaps my daughter didn't win - however at least 7 of the girls on the team ( as well as their parents) told me they voted for her and were disappointed she didn't get the job. If the girl voted captain exhibited leadership qualities I would say "I get it", but she didn't. She actually was very quiet, although VERY confident. I firmly believe there is a strange connection between the player's father and the coach, but perhaps that makes me sound bitter. In any case captains should lead and my daughter had done many things to show she is a leader. Being a leader doesn't have to mean spending the entire game on the court - And again Greg, you are right - it would have been an incredible thing to add to her resume, which she is extremely disappointed about. You are also right about the paranoia associated with getting screwed - my daughter came home last night and said that exact statement about her winter sport. Heartbreaking. She is playing club volleyball again this year, and my hope is that she will get the chance to realize she is a great player. Because she is. Too sad that favoritism and politics play such a part in high school, but it's the sad truth.

Worried Sick

All of this is new to me. A bit of background: My daughter will be a senior in a few months and has taken to the sport of basketball. she played the sport in elementary for a year at the local YMCA; then briefly on a Travel Team but was not motivated enough and so did not continue. Fast forward to junior high school, she played all 4 years but theirs was not a very competitvie leage and she never played for a club team during that time. Upon entering high school, she began playing and was invited to play for the JV Team, which we were happy about and couldnt believe it because they did have a freshmen team as-well. By this time, my daughter was 5'9 inches tall.

By he 10th grade, the coaching staff changed and something else happened and i wasnt as involved because i work fulltime and my husband was sick and we're raising two kids and so i was not as involved. My daughter decides to quit basketball sophmore year and to focus on shot-put.

Her teammates from her freshmen year had moved up in the basketball rankings and was beginning to show lots of improvement winning games and falling short of wining the CIF Champtionship. My daughter, who was still good friends with most of the players took the lost hard. You'd have thought she was on the team. But she reasoned, had she been part of that maybe she could have contributed in some way.

So, in the summer (her junior year) she made the decision to return to Basketball with a renewed committment and motivation. She wanted to play. Of course, she came back not as fit as before, running slower, and skills were undeveloped (she is not naturally talented and has to work really hard). So thoughout she continued and the coach really worked with her but by the end of it, she could not make the Vasity squad and was assigned to JV again.

That was fine by me. i would rather her be playing then to be warming the bench all season. She needed to compete. So my daughter as a junior began the year at 6'0 tall. and was assigned to her usual Post position and she slowly made a comback losing 25 lbs in 5 months - it was her time. The JV Team was undefeated and my daughter had a lot to do with that.

So here we are presently, my daughter is now 6'1+ and will be a senior and for the first time i have shelled out big bucks to have her play for a club team, in addition, i've hired a fitness and conditioning coach (college division 1 trainer) to work with her. She is not naturally gifted but she is motivated and wants to play the game so i feel that i need to support her as much as possible.

But seeing these girls on the club team is a whole different story. they are clearly more experienced than my daughter but i can see that the coaches have taken a vested interests in my daughter or is that to be believed after reading the comments above. I'm worried sick that she wont be prepared by the time the seaon begins again. and we are coming late to the party as-is. So my questions....

To be a well rounded (decent) player competing at the high school varsity level, what percentage of the pie is 1)natural (god-given) abilities 2) strength and conditioning 3)skills 4) experience?

What is the likelyhood that my daughter will be strung along her senior year and not get any playing time?

How can i best prepare my duaghter for the club team experience?

i know this thread is dated but im new to this site and found it by-way of google and really enjoyed the responses. thank you in-advance for you consideration.

I would be cautiously

I would be cautiously optimistic. Although she was part of an undefeated JV team, how many seniors were there last year? How many post players? Does your team use one post or two? She will certainly improve greatly playing club ball, but in club ball EVERYBODY plays. That's the tricky part that gets kids (and parents) in trouble sometimes. By having 7-8 players on a club team, with the family paying the freight, everyone plays a semi-equal time. In the school team, there is no direct cost, and there is no obligation for the coach to play everybody.
Also remember that more than likely, as a junior, she was playing against sophomores and freshman, and this year she'll be playing against seniors, some of whom may have been playing varsity for a few years.
Also, and I've posted in on here before, don't get too hung up on "game" playing time. I include practice as playing time. It's her senior year, she's part of a team with her friends, just enjoy it and don't worry about the details too much.
To answer a few of your questions (in my opinon): Percentage of the pie: natural - 40%, strength & conditioning 15%, skills 30%, experience, 15%.
Prepare for club ball? The biggest adjustment will be the speed of the game. Varsity moves alot faster than JV. As a post player, she's probably around alot of contact, rebounding, etc. Her ability to anticipate things BEFORE they happen will help her greatly. If she can really pay attention to her opponents, their favorite moves, where they like the ball and try to take those away, it will help. Good luck!

A response to Common Sense

Thank you so much.  Such sage advice.

 The Club Team is a bit intimidating, they have some connection with the Nike Corp and so the demand to play for them is pretty high.   At present, there are 11 people on the Team and they are still taking tryouts.  My daughters team is 3rd Tier and she is the tallest player on the Team.  In fact, she is one of the tallest on the Roster for that club.  Of the 11 girls, there are 3-4 post players but the coaches tend to have their eye on my daughter (for now).

I asked that very question to the owner, "with all the money we're paying, will my daughter play." and his response was, they TRY to give everyone an opportunity to play but it is not a guarantee.  And the parents manual stipulates the same thing.  Its a winning organization and a huge leap for my daughter but i felt she needs think - but i am concerned.

 Yes, the club team pace is so much faster and my daughter is not veery experienced playing man-2-man defense she is better versed on zone defense and after watching the club practice lastnight, my daughter has so much to learn.

 Thank you so much for the feedback CS.  i hope i can find someone that can work with her on defense. 

I would suspect that what

I would suspect that what she is "behind" in is simply basketball experience. At over 6 feet tall I'm guessing there are few others that tall on the varsity team currently. She may be a "project" player still, but coaches without alot of tall kids on the team already usually are more than willing to take that project on.

She played JV last year and she is playing on a club team this year. That's good. It's better that she is getting herself in shape. Basketball is a sport where fitness matters a great deal. A kid who is fit and can hustle will have an impact on the court.

How is her low post scoring and defense? I would suggest seeing if you could hire a high school boy to work with her on post offense and defense. That is mostly 1v1 stuff, and playing against a guy will force her to be more physical. Ideally it would be someone who can just come over and work in the driveway, and someone a little shorter than her so she can have some success too. If she can decently defend and score sometimes against a 5'9" guy in the post that will be good -- and inexpensive -- training.