How to Join a Junior Olympic Volleyball Team

Junior Olympic Volleyball, more commonly called "club", is the ultimate place to play for players age 10-18. Teams are very competitive, hard to make, and take a lot of money. Very few people play college ball without having played JO, so if you're looking for a future in volleyball, this is your article.


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    Find a team to try out for (generally called a club because they include many teams of many different ages). Try out for at least 2 clubs, more if you are very serious about playing. Hundreds of girls try out per year (per club even) so the stakes are high. Find out their tryout information and sign up in advance if you can. There is always a tryout fee (usually from $5 to $20; rarely but sometimes as high as $50) and you will usually get a better deal if you sign up before. Beware: Many clubs in the same region (see tips) hold tryouts on the same day at conflicting times, forcing players to choose the club they want more. Make sure you know this.
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    Go there and give it your all. Tryouts are long and tiring, but you must show stamina. The tournaments you will be playing in will be all day, usually with a minimum of 4 matches. If you can't last in a 4-hour tryout, they won't consider you. Every club is different; the only thing you can be sure of is that you will be given a random number. Remember your number with your life because this is how the coaches, whom you need to impress, will address you on this day.
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    Wait. It's different for each club, but most will give you a time limit to when they will contact you. If they contact you within that time limit, it means that they wanted you as their first choice. They can still call you about up to 3 weeks after the cut off date, because some people will refuse and they will go to the waiting list. If you make it, you will either be on a National or Regional team. Ask your club director for more info pertaining to your region and club.
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    If you've made the team, be ready to work. Practice will usually begin in December or January. It is critical that you show up to each practice. Coaches will not give benching you a second thought if you don't show up on time or don't try your hardest.
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    Get ready for tourneys. Easily the most fun part of the season, tournaments are what you will play instead of one game per Saturday per week. It is very hard to explain how they group you into pools and brackets but it is similar to NCAA basketball. You will play the 3 other teams in your pool in the morning (which often lasts until 2 pm, ironically), have a "lunch" time, and then play in Gold, Silver, or Bronze bracket.
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    Don't be discouraged if your teammates aren't playing up to par. Sometimes, you will be stuck on a team where some to all of the success rides on you and a few other players. Your other teammates may be inexperienced, not as athletic, or just not trying hard. Either way, try your hardest and don't blame yourself if you lose. Volleyball is a team sport and therefore, the whole team is at fault for a loss, if any fault is to be placed.
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    Have fun! Make friends with your teammates, laugh, have a good time. Volleyball, more than many other sports, is a sport in which your body, mind, and soul are required for success (and you thought we were just crazy!). Make up some cheers, celebrate every point you earn, create a relationship with the coach.


  • Be coachable. You could be the best player ever, but if you won't listen to advice and change, you won't be welcome on any team.
  • Don't be discouraged if you don't get a call. From one club director: One day isn't going to tell us (the coaches) how good you are as a volleyball player. We will make some mistakes and there is no way to get around it. But give it your all and we'll notice.
  • It is easy to get wrapped up in the competition of it all. Remember, in 10, 5, or even 2 years, you won't remember the outcome of many (if any) matches. All you'll remember is the fun or the misery you had. The whole point is to become a better player: if you are improving, the money was worth it.


  • Watch out for scams. Some legitimate clubs will hold tryouts, saying that most or all players will make one of their teams. They'll charge you an arm and a leg just to tryout, then turn around and only create one team. Granted, this is a very rare occurrence, but it's not illegal to do so watch out. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
  • If your coach is slacking off, abusing you in any way (verbal, physical, or sexual), or if they just aren't coaching the team, tell the club director. You (or your parents, most likely) pay a lot of money for this experience and there is no need for it to be hindered by a less-than stellar coach.

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Categories: Volleyball | Olympics