“THE ATHLETES ARE AT THE HEART OF WHAT WE DO AND WHY.”
At VA Elite, we offer a comprehensive club training program, refined over 15 years, centered on volleyball skill development, competition-based attitude, and long-term health and wellbeing of every athlete.
We utilize a club-wide coaching approach utilizing lead coaching techniques which is a proven formula for success.
- Allows players to benefit from the collective experience and talent of our entire coaching staff
- Creates increased consistency in our training approach from our 13s to our 18s
- Enables coaches to better collaborate with and learn from each other
We follow our training tenets to Provide Quality Contacts, Build a Competitive Spirit, Grow the Volleyball IQ, and Challenge to Develop. Collectively, these tenets guide how we implement our training approach.
VA Elite utilizes two training/practice formats:
- Academy practices are multi-team training opportunities that include heavy skill-based and position-based training. Players may be separated from their immediate teammates to best focus their training. These practices often end with a small-group competition or a team competition element. As this type of training is extremely technical, practices are designed by our lead coach Academy Leads in collaboration with our Technical Director and President and with input from Head Coaches.
- Team practices focus on the training needs of the team and the integration of skills into tactics, systems, and strategies. These practices are designed by the team’s Head Coach.
From the beginning of the season to approximately mid-January, teams experience two Academy practices and one Team practice per week, after which we shift to one Academy practice and two Team practices per week. Additionally, setters will attend a separate Setting Academy each week solely dedicated to this highly technical position.
For our oldest teams, we also work with our committed athlete’s college coaches to obtain an athlete’s developmental plan so that we can integrate specific training needs to assist in preparing our players for their first day in a college gym.
Club Season Calendar Planning & Attendance
Our teams begin training the week of Thanksgiving, with our introductory academy practices occurring the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. Our season generally concludes in June.
While each season’s exact practice schedule may vary, generally our 13s, 14s, and 15s teams can expect three practices per week for a combined practice time of 8.5 to 9.5 hours per week. Our 16s, 17s, and 18s teams generally practice 7.5 to 8.5 hours per week.
VA Elite has a firm attendance policy. Practices are mandatory and athletes are expected to attend all required practices.
- Athletes are permitted up to 3 excused absences per season, for whatever reason. The use of these excused absences will not impact playing time decisions. In these cases, athletes are strongly encouraged to attend another team’s practice, but it is not required and attending a “make-up” session does not erase the absence.
- Any absence above the 3-absence quota is considered unexcused. Unexcused absences will have playing-time implications.
The following are our club-wide holidays and training breaks during which players are either on full break or do not have required practices.
- No practices the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving through Friday
- Optional team practices Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving
Christmas and New Year’s Break:
- No practices on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
- No practices on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
- Optional practices during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
- Optional practices on any weekend days beginning Jan 2nd, if applicable
Note: For the 2021-22 season, the last required practice prior to Christmas is Thursday 12/23. The first required practice after New Year’s is Monday 1/3
Memorial Day Break:
- No practices Friday through Monday of Memorial Day weekend
Our club leadership works to develop a tournament schedule filled with strong competition and recruiting opportunities. Our goal is to play regional (CHRVA), non-regional (MAPL) and national level (Qualifier, JVA, AAU) tournaments to provide robust playing opportunities throughout the season. VA Elite’s commitment to seek the highest level of competition means that many teams must travel beyond Virginia to compete in tournaments offering exposure to different styles and levels of play.
While many factors are used in deciding each season’s tournament schedule, below are some of our key drivers:
- Competition - We want to play the highest level of competition.
- Recruiting – We want to play at tournaments heavily attended by college coaches based on historical attendance and tournament college program registrations.
- Cost – Where do we get the biggest bang for our buck with regards to recruiting and competition.
- Schedule – We try to avoid burnout experienced playing in back-to-back weekend tournaments
As part of our club travel program, we seek to provide a premier recruiting program to enable our athletes to play at the next level. Our Recruiting Director and Recruiting Coordinator are instrumental in making this possible with a primary objective of helping athletes and their families navigate this difficult and stressful process.
Our process is proven; we are extremely proud of our 100% opportunity rate over the past 15 years, meaning that 100% of our athletes have had the opportunity to continue their volleyball careers at the collegiate level, regardless of their final personal decision.
Keeping in line with the vision of VA Elite and ensuring our athletes remain the top priority, we encourage our athletes to “own” the process. It is important for VA Elite that our athletes end up at the school that is the best fit for them. At the end of the day, if for some reason volleyball goes away, we want the athlete to like the school they choose. Our recruiting staff become each athlete’s advocate to help guide them through the process, facilitating communication with college coaches and college players in accordance with NCCA rules.
Check out the additional resources here for more information.