I wanted to give you some information that I hope will be helpful to you in the upcoming volleyball season. If you know what to expect, it can help you prepare, and more thoroughly enjoy the game and experience.
My daughter has played travel volleyball for 3 seasons with Potomac Elite Volleyball Club. In those 3 seasons, I have learned some things about tournament days that I wanted to pass along to help you and your family enjoy your tournament day experience. You can also use this as a checklist of items to make sure you pack and bring to the tournaments.
Have a TEAM mom/dad prepare a list of foods for parents to bring to the tournament for specific days. We have found it easier for each parent to make a large to medium dish and share it among the players, families, and the Coaches. Find out who on the team has food allergies and what they are. Also bring a lot of snack bars and put them in the girls backpacks. Please don’t forget food and water for the coaches. The turnaround time between games (or working another game) can be short or very long without advanced notice since it is determined on the outcome of the games as the day unfolds. Sometimes there will not be time to run out and get food. Rolling coolers are the best. The walk from the parking lot to where we might be set up could be a long haul for a heavy cooler with no wheels.
Arriving at the Tournament - Most of the tournaments Start the first match by 8:30 am. Your Coach will tell you what time to be there. The girls may play the first game or they may work the first game. If you don’t plan to arrive until later, because you don’t play your first match until after 9, it sometimes helps if you have an early riser parent that can go get your sitting area prepared for the team. There are going to be a lot of parents and teams at these tournaments and sitting space is at a premium. Fleece blankets are the best items to use for sitting on the ground. Your girls will be sitting around on the ground or in the camping chairs you bring with you. Secure your team’s sitting area as soon as you arrive at the tournament. Spread your blankets out and claim your area but be mindful that other teams will be right next to you or sharing a room with you. Food tables are not allowed at most tournaments, but there are small tables that don't take up much space and allow you to keep the food off the ground. Get together with other parents or your team mom/dad to see if someone has a table that they can bring along.
Chairs - Bring your own camping chairs. There will not be any place to sit at these tournaments. When I say there is no place to sit, I mean there is no place to sit without the chairs you bring with you. When you arrive, find out what court your team is playing on and set your chair up around the court. You may also want to bring a chair for your rest area. Once you move your chair from around the court, someone will put their chair in the spot you just left. I have been to tournaments where I will just tell the next team’s parents to sit in my chair if they want to use it because it makes it less crowded around the court and you will find most volleyball parents to be very friendly. Please make sure you bring enough chairs for whomever you are bringing to the tournament such as parents, grandparents, and siblings.
Noise Level - If you do not like loud places, or if you get headaches from loud noises bring a set of earplugs. Most of these buildings have high ceilings and the noise level is very high inside. You could be there from 8:30 am till 6:00 pm and by the end of the day your ears will be ringing. If you bring your own music wear headphones, most tournaments will not allow you to have a radio for the break areas.
Resting between games- No matter how much we want our daughters to rest in between games, do homework, read, or not run around and play around,---This will not happen! After 3 years, I can guarantee they will rest when they are tired. They will want to go outside and pass the ball, get food they shouldn’t be eating, run around and have a good time, but at some point they learn when they need the rest.
Water vs. Gatorade- It’s up to you which you prefer. My recommendation is water in the morning and Gatorade halfway through the day. Gatorade is great for when the area is really hot, but too much of it along with bananas can cramp you up because of the potassium.
Cell Phones-Bring your charger with you. Some of these buildings have poor signal which will make your phone constantly search for a signal so it will drain the battery faster. I always bring a multiport surge protector so more than one person can charge their phone.
Your Frustration level or Temper- This is the hardest part of the day as a parent. We all want our daughters to do their best, and we want the team to do their best. They will have “off” days, there is nothing we can do or say to get them out of these days. We cheer them in victory AND defeat. They are here to learn. There will not be a talent scout standing by the court ready to recruit them for college.(yet) So let them have fun. I cannot stress this next part enough--
We do not yell at the referees or the line judges. The referees will make mistakes because they are also learning. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have paid head referees, but mostly it will be other teams refereeing. We can groan amongst ourselves, but please let the coach handle any problems.
I hope this helps you know what to expect as we enter the season. If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email at TMCB333@gmail.com. If I can’t answer the question I will find someone that can.