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Three Keys to Creating a Strong Club Culture


Leaders at top clubs say it’s a challenge to serve players of all skill levels, from beginners to experts.

Matt Linebarger only needs a moment to answer a question about his club’s culture.

Club Savannah Volleyball in Georgia doesn’t have the luxury to turn any passionate player away, he says.

“Savannah is very small,” says Linebarger, the club’s director. “In some cities, there are so many people, and you could be more cutthroat. But here you can’t can’t burn bridges. Everybody knows everybody.”

Besides, Savannah’s nickname is “Hostess City of the South.”

Linebarger took over the club in 2011, but he’d coached Savannah College of Art and Design, and he’d seen a half-dozen competitors come and go.

In Ohio, Academy Volleyball Cleveland started as a small, regional club. As they pondered the future, leaders debated whether to rent space for soccer or other sports.

“We didn’t want to be the Academy for Volleyball on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and indoor soccer a few other days,” says Paul Schiffer, the club director. “We wanted to be known as the premier volleyball program in Cleveland.”

Academy Volleyball Cleveland (AVC) operates a 64,000-square foot facility with five courts for athletes ages 8 to 18 years old.

Both Linebarger and Schiffer say it’s a challenge to serve players of all skill levels, from beginners to experts.

Here are three keys in how they’ve built up successful programs that serve a broad group of young players who love the game:

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