People often say they love the “vibe” in our gyms – that it just “feels good” to be there, and travel team tryouts are no exception. You’ll usually walk into our gym to smiling faces and welcoming gestures, and a little Stevie Wonder on the sound system. Travel tryouts can sound daunting but I promise, they are fun and low stress, and even if you’re not sure if you’re ready to play “travel ball” I highly recommend going! It’s essentially an hour and a half of great training led by me and our kind and inspiring staff from both Santa Barbara and San Diego.
What is “Travel” Ball?
The word “travel” can sound scary, and kind of exotic-like, Africa or China (which would actually be pretty cool, but really, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds, and the program should probably just be called “Competitive” or “SCVA”. What it means is that your team would participate in the Southern California Volleyball Association’s tournament schedule. The SCVA is the Southern California Region of USA Volleyball, and it’s the league that all travel teams from Santa Barbara to San Diego participate in. Their headquarters are in Anaheim, at ASC (American Sports Center, which is also where our men and women’s USA National teams train). This facility houses 36 courts and is where most “travel” tournaments are played, among a few other multi court places (mostly in the Orange County area). So, in summary, when we say “travel ball”, we are referring to 1x per month tournaments in the Anaheim area. Tournaments are single day events, usually lasting from 8am to 2:30pm or so. Not as scary as it sounds huh?
What does the Season Look Like?
The travel season typically ends in early June with the last SCVA tournament, and depending on your age group starts in either November (ages 12-14) or December (ages 15-18). Your team will practice 2x/ week with optional, bi-weekly, club-wide additional trainings, such as strength, conditioning & wellness training, yoga, or beach volleyball trainings. Throughout the year, the club will also look to participate in community service events such as food drives and volunteer opportunities with other non-profits like food banks and women’s and children’s center. There will also be club bonding events with our sisters in San Diego, like Rudolf Rally, our annual inner-club holiday tournament. Teams will also have the option to attend multi-day tournaments, which may be out of state. These tournaments present awesome opportunities for collegiate exposure, more competition, and of course, more team bonding! While there is good amount of volleyball, there is also a lot of extracurriculars because we’re more than a volleyball club!
How do we Choose Players for the Travel Program?
We construct our teams from the top down, with the players in mind, recognizing that they and their families will make a significant emotional, physical and financial commitment. This is a long season. Players should be on teams where they can be challenged by their coach and teammates, have a significant playing time role based on the ability of the team, and be able to develop in the position they prefer to play. Since we will only place 11 players max on a team, we try really hard to compose the teams with position and playing time in mind. For example, we wouldn’t put 3 setters on a team, because that means that someone may not have the opportunity to get quality playing time, but could have a large and meaningful role on the next team down. We will have conversations with each player about what they want out of their season, and how we see them fitting in on their selected team. We try to form the teams as quickly as possible, to alleviate any stress or unease that players and families may feel about the process. Remember, it’s OK to make a 2 or 3 team! You’ll have a high quality, experienced coach, have the same access to your technical director like everyone else, and it means you’re right where you fit skill wise and position-wise.
How Many Tryouts Should You Really Attend?
We would truly love to have you at every tryout. Seeing you more helps us get a better evaluation of you, and helps us place you on the perfect team for YOU. We recognize life gets in the way, and your family has lots of stuff going on, so if you can only make 1, that’s OK! Just let us know you’re interested and we’ll work hard to get you in the right place. If you’re only planning to attend one tryout, it should probably be the first one, because we do start to create our teams on that day. If you’re concerned about the number of tryouts you can come to, give us a call and we’ll ease your mind!
Come play for us!!! We have excellent coaches, a loving, warm, kind environment, a competitive history and a passion for everything we do. See you in the gym!!