For the first time ever two years ago, more high school girls played volleyball (432,176) than basketball (429,504), according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
In just four short years, the landscape of junior volleyball has significantly evolved. In order to best serve the junior volleyball community, answer to the needs of our members, and to understand where our industry is going, the JVA has collected data from junior volleyball clubs all over the country, as well as Canada. Here are four trends happening in junior volleyball.
There is no question that junior volleyball is on the rise, and it is important to note that it is one of the leading youth sports industries in the country. For the first time ever two years ago, more high school girls played volleyball (432,176) than basketball (429,504), according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. And that wasn't a fluke; the trend has only continued since then.
In 2013 and 2016-17 the JVA surveyed several hundred junior volleyball clubs to gather data on the programming, operations and management aspects of the business. The complete survey results can be viewed in the JVA Member Education under Business - Industry Data.
Based on the results of both surveys, we learned that 56% of clubs were established in the last 10 years. Of the 56%, 37% were established in the last 6 years, which is more than one third of existing clubs today.
We also learned that most clubs first began with four teams or less, and grew from there. The average number of teams remains 20 in both surveys, which shows that the majority of clubs are finding that this is the ideal size for their success.
Be Our Guest
The days of established clubs training in high school gyms is limited. Once a club hits 12 or more teams, the club quickly realizes there is a need for a facility. And this trend has lead to the growth in year-round programming for junior volleyball. Clubs are operating facilities and offering programs to fill the calendar and generate a steady flow of revenue to exceed overhead costs. In 2013, 58% of clubs said they host at least one tournament per year. In the most recent survey, we learned that 35% of JVA member clubs host more than four tournaments per year and nearly one third of clubs host 1-4 tournaments per year.
JVA members appear to host more events than non-members according to the recent survey which states that 17% of non-member clubs host more than 4 events, which is half the amount of JVA members. The JVA does offer it's member low cost tournament insurance, which allows the club to insure teams of any affiliation (USAV, AAU and JVA). The JVA will insure an event as long as the club is a member and tournament director follows the JVA's recommendations for hosting a juniors tournament.
Growth in Numbers
Naturally, a sport that is growing at the national, collegiate and high school level will also see an increase at the club and juniors level. Year-round programming brings in new members, and offering Volley Tots and Mini Volleyball allows clubs to grow from the grassroots level. In 2013 the average number of participants a club served in one year was 312. In 2017 this grew to 482. That is a 35% increase in members!
Let's Hear it for the Boys
With 12% more boys participating in high school boys volleyball than four years ago and 188 colleges sponsoring men's volleyball programs in the United States as of May 2017, there is a market for boys volleyball among the junior volleyball clubs. JVA member D1 began in 2007 as a boys only club, and during the decade of the club's existence, it has averaged 25-30% growth per year. The club attributes its growth to offering multiple shorter seasons (fall, winter, spring, and summer 8-14 weeks each), training-only programs for brand new athletes and busy multi-sport athletes, and adapting to the growth by offering Elite and Regional teams this season with 1-2 year-round teams ending with National-level competition.
According to the 2013 JVA Survey 25.83% of clubs offered boys programming, and that number rose to 35.21% in 2017. It is not a question of why to add a boys program, but more importantly to resolve how and when to add a boys program. JVA makes it a point to connect and unite it's member clubs in order to share information. If you are looking to start a boys program, please reach out to us and we will put you in touch with a few club directors from the JVA Boys Committee who would be happy to assist you and share their experience.
Even in the North, Clubs Are Adding Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball is the NCAA's fastest-growing sport, starting with 15 Division I programs in 2012 and growing to 53 next season. Beach volleyball is projected to top 100 collegiate programs by 2020, which means a huge influx of opportunities and scholarships for female student-athletes. More junior athletes are looking to beach volleyball as a complimentary sport to indoor, or as a replacement to indoor entirely. And the indoor clubs do not want to lose their athletes, so they are choosing to add beach programs.
Based on the 2013 JVA Survey 25.23% of clubs were already offering beach programs. In the most recent survey, the number jumped to 42.70%. We predict by 2019 it will be 50%. Having a beach program also provides a spring and summer complimentary program to indoor. Players can participate in beach camps or a tournament here or there and still improve their skills, while also enjoying a break from the indoor game.
The primary focus for the JVA is the success of our member clubs, no matter the size of the club or the when it was formed. If our members are not growing, thriving and adapting to the landscape of junior volleyball, then the JVA is not doing our part. Thankfully, we have seen impressive success from our members, both on the court and in the business world.
The JVA is Club Directors working together. The JVA is resources to grow your business. The JVA is a team serving athletes and families. The JVA is ready to make your club better. And the JVA is United.
As Tim Kuzma, Munciana Business Manager state in his recent article Predicting the Future of Volleyball "The only constant will be change and it will be fun to be a part of this growing, exciting sport!"