My Sister’s TOO Good!

By Sabrina (BGV Blogger and Rec Volleyball Player)

Teia and SabrinaI have an older sister who’s 15 now and has been playing volleyball for almost seven years. She started at a local recreational club and played there for years. Coaches and players could see that she was good. Next, she played for her middle school and she started playing club volleyball and got even better. Then last year she started playing as a freshman at high school for her JV team (before the end of the season she was playing varsity).

This year, she’s the only sophomore on varsity and she plays a LOT because she’s really good.

But my sister may be a little too good and here are a few reasons why:

  1. My mom and sister can talk for hours and hours and hours about volleyball (even though my mom has never played the sport)
  2. Because she plays both school and club, I think she gets a lot of attention and we put of lot of time into it (even though my brother and I play other sports)
  3. Volleyball games and tournaments can take priority over other things (practices, friend’s birthday parties, etc.)
  4. And those tournaments and games mean early mornings and late nights (sometimes I can’t watch my favorite shows)
  5. Because she’s playing varsity in high school sometimes we have to sit through HOURS of games (five sets sometimes)

That said, I am proud of my sister and here are some things I appreciate about her being SO good:

  1. I get to support her/her teams and cheer them on
  2. Soccer is my main sport, but I play volleyball too and I learn a lot from her and from watching her play
  3. Because she’s plays club we get to visit cool places and stay in nice hotels with pools and hot tubs and nice people who give us candy and ice cream socials, etc.
  4. We also get to spend time as a family – we laugh and have fun (and we’re there for her when things don’t go so well during games)
  5. She’s really good so she plays a lot and it’s always fun just seeing her do so well

Teia and Sabrina 2Even though it can be a struggle, I know soon she may be off to college, hopefully playing volleyball and I won’t be
able to see her all of the time so I’m going to enjoy this time right now. Love you, Teia!

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The Dreaded Overhand Serve…

By Sabrina (BGV Blogger and Recreational Volleyball Player)

One of the toughest things about volleyball for kids my age is going from underhand to overhand serving. It’s hard because with underhand serving you don’t have to worry about throwing the ball in the air or timing when to hit it. Most kids also think it’s easier because you don’t have to have a lot of power. If you aren’t tall or you’re just starting volleyball, overhand serving can be really intimidating to even try.

But if you’re a little serious about volleyball and you want to get better, it’s a good idea to change to overhand serving. When you underhand serve, the ball can stay in the air a long time allowing the other team a lot of time to get to it, but overhand serves can be lower to the net making it harder for the other team to receive the ball. With a lot of practice you can learn different types of overhand serves, like a float serve.

When I first started playing volleyball three years ago I was eight years old and of course, I started serving underhand. Underhand wasn’t that hard for me because I served with a lot of power, but I really wanted to serve overhand so I started trying last year. And even though I’m not perfect with it, I’m more consistent this year.

Overhand ServeHere are a few tips to for overhand serving:
• Practice, practice, practice!
• If you’re very short, throw the ball up high and make contact at a higher point on the ball
• Use your arm to follow through completely as you swing
• Follow the coach’s suggestion – start close to the net when trying the serve and then back up each time as you get better and better
• Don’t do a lot of EXTRA! Get the basic overhand serve down before trying jump serves and other stuff
• Lastly, don’t rush your serve. Take your time!

The biggest thing to remember is not to give up. If you can get your serve over the net with an overhand serve, but not all the time, DO NOT GO BACK TO UNDERHAND SERVING! You won’t get better if you do that.

Good luck and more importantly, have fun!

I Don’t Know How She Does It!

By Tee (BGV Blogger and Multi-Sport/Multi-Kid Mom)

Tee's KidsSo, I realize this site and blog is geared toward volleyball parents and players; by now you can see my plate is pretty full with just my oldest playing competitive school and club volleyball, but that’s just a fraction of my life. I’m actually a working mom of THREE kids – my oldest plays volleyball (for now, she’s looking like she could be a pretty good tennis player too); my youngest daughter plays recreational soccer and volleyball (with dreams of playing travel soccer) and then my youngest kid plays recreational soccer and basketball (who knows what he’ll hone in on…he’s only eight!)

And I do this as a divorced mom; my ex-husband doesn’t live in the area so I can’t exactly divide and conquer. I have an awesome support system of friends and my mom, but I rarely pull them into my madness because candidly, I feel like I signed up for this, not them.

So you can imagine, I’m constantly on the go and almost every week I have a conflict. When we started club volleyball, there would be weeks when I would cry because I didn’t know if I was coming or going. But as I learn tomanage this “multi-kid, multi-sport” thing, I’m finding things a little easier than they were two years ago. I will never have this perfected and people may even judge the decisions I make and why…heck, I even wonder at times! A few things I keep in mind to keep my sanity:

  1. Life isn’t going to be fair all of the time. I think my biggest struggle is the time we invest in volleyball-related “stuff” over other things. Club in particular is a commitment of money, real dollars and with that sometimes a club volleyball game will trump a recreational basketball game for another kid. That said its instances like this when I ask for help from my support squad, but there are still very rare occasions when things can’t be helped. I’m doing a better job of not beating myself up when we can’t make everything all of the time.
  2. Everyone is getting older! And thank goodness! Two years ago, I couldn’t imagine leaving my younger daughter at a practice to take my oldest to a school game so I would literally drive across town twice over. Now, my younger daughter is more responsible, I have a great relationship with her coach and it makes life more bearable. I light at the end of the tunnel is a bit brighter (and my oldest will start driving soon and she can help out too!)
  3. I don’t beat myself up as much. When I can’t make someone’s game for whatever reason, I’ve stopped getting upset about it. I can’t divide my body in thirds to be everything to everyone. I give everyone plenty of notice when there’s a conflict.
  4. I LOVE watching my kids play! I know everyone believes their kids are pretty good, natural born athletes, etc. but mine really are (lol) and much like I love watching them perform in school plays, play music and sing, I thoroughly enjoy watching them develop in sports. There’s nothing like seeing my oldest make a kill, my younger daughter save a goal or my son block a shot.

And because of this, I do what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way. These years are fleeting…I’m going to enjoy them now (I can rest when I retire!)

How it all started

TBirts age 10Well, we’re here! Over six years ago, I was picking my oldest daughter up from our local Boys and Girls Club when she came running up to me, asking me if she could play volleyball. I’d actually been thinking she should be involved in some activity since she stopped dance two years before (no excitement for it…)

At the time, volleyball was for 9-12 year old girls and my daughter wouldn’t be nine for four months. I asked the director, “She’s not nine yet…would she be able to play?”

He gave her the once over, “Yep, she’s pretty tall, pretty athletic…I’ll let her play up, if it’s okay with you?”

That’s how it all started and I had no clue that years later she’d be the dynamo she’s become.

Teia played recreational volleyball for four years (averaging about two seasons per year), then moved to a developmental club two years ago. The past three years she’s played for her middle school team and just finished her first high school season where she started on the junior varsity team, but ended on the varsity squad.  This winter marked her move to an open travel volleyball team (after playing on a regional team last year based in the Northern Virginia area). She’s also participated in several clinics associated with volleyball clubs, high schools and colleges.

Now, let me be truthful, my daughter has something, but she also has a LOT to learn about various techniques and about the sport, in general. But the past three years have been filled with coaches whispering that she has a lot of potential. She’s always been among the best on her team, but she was looking for a challenge this year. I agreed if she kept her grades up, I’d support her as much as I could.

The past two years, Teia has tried out for several clubs; all making her offers to play for them – one of which is consider one of the premier clubs in this region. We are all very proud of her.

But one thing was evident, especially as Teia attended tryouts: there weren’t too many girls who looked like her on TBirts Middle Blocker 2; courtesy Black Girls Volley/Karen Beitzellthe court. What was more interesting for the second year in a row, she was the only African-American on her team (last year she was one of two girls of color at all).   I remember asking her if she thought this would be a problem…her response, “Mom, I just want to play with girls who will challenge me. I don’t care what color they are.”

I’m not sure why there aren’t more black girls playing volleyball at the travel level, but money could be a big factor. I’ll write a separate post about that, but it definitely is an investment both in money and time.

So this website, our blog posts (yes, that will be a family affair as well) and the information we provide, hopefully will encourage more girls who look like my daughter to consider playing – and excelling – in this exciting, exhilarating sport.

Pass, Set, Hit!