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These recent posts are good stuff. Glad to see some activity. A few random responsive thoughts.

Being a legitimate ones player is definitely in the eyes of the parents. It's my understanding that the spreading out of talent in the 13s and 14s at TPV is to give the girls the chance to grow as players as their bodies mature. The knock on Alliance has been that once a ones player in 12-13s; the greater likelihood you will be a ones at 17-18. At least there is movement within age divisions and the chance to make the ones team later at TPV. I think the reason Alliance does so poorly in the older age groups is that the players have never had to overcome adversity and failure when younger. They don't know how to fight and compete.

Before we bash TPV's schedule let's not forget that Alliance is not even two years removed from that disaster that was the SPL. Those four "tournaments" kept the girls from being exposed to a lot of college coaches. Beating up on Choo Choo , Ethos, etc did nothing to help the girls. I believe it's why the current group of college freshmen and high school seniors are so under-committed. They weren't properly exposed and critical times thus forcing a lot of really good players to take D2 offers or D1 walk-on offers at in-state programs. TPV is putting most of their ones teams in open at Bluegrass and is also going to JVA World and AAUs in Orlando. They have the SP network to help promote them. The power league they are in is a lot more competitive and organized than the SPL ever was. I think for year one of a Club it's a better than expected schedule.

Lastly, the parents I have talked to at TPV are thrilled with what's been going on. Conversely, there are older Alliance girls jumping ship to other clubs in the past few weeks. Clearly Alliance is concerned based on the pre-tryout letters that were sent to the AVC families, the over-done and never- before- done self promotion of their coaches and athletes, and the letter that was sent this week to the AVC families. If the Alliance product is so good, then TPV will never be anything more than Ethos or Club West. But I think this is going to be more of a MAVA/ KIVA situation. If that happens, then volleyball in Nashville wins with two big clubs fighting to get better each and every year.

Edited by SummaryJudgment

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On 12/2/2017 at 0:45 PM, SummaryJudgment said:

I think the reason Alliance does so poorly in the older age groups is that the players have never had to overcome adversity and failure when younger. They don't know how to fight and compete.

A lot to touch on in your very reasonable response. I'll just give my take on this piece for now.

To my eye, Alliance has historically placed young kids on top teams based primarily on skill. Some years ago, here is how 12 and under tryouts worked: first, line up everyone and tell them to serve. Keep the kids who can serve overhand and evaluate their other skills to determine who is first team, who is second, etc. Kids who couldn't serve got moved to a secondary evaluation court. This is a great way to put together teams that will win as 11's and 12's and 13's: get athletic, coordinated, physically mature kids, and serve and pass other teams off the court. But this is a poor recipe for long-term success at the older ages.

Reason being, many of those kids who will be monsters as 17's and 18's are awkward and uncoordinated 11 year olds. They often can't serve overhand at that age, and maybe can't do much of anything else, either. In many cases, they are years behind their peers in terms of physical maturity. So in the old model, those kids were either cut outright or relegated to a third team, where they experience a lower volume and quality of training and competition.

But what happens to those top team kids when they turn 14? 16? If you haven't been training kids as younger athletes, remedial training is difficult and time consuming later. If you build out your teams to win at the younger age divisions, you probably aren't going to win at the older age levels. To Alliance's credit, I think they are better about this now than they used to be.

The Sports Performance group in Chicago understands this. I believe they don't even play their top younger teams in Open Divisions... maybe they start playing Open at 14's?

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Good stuff.  I agree with TPV being a positive.  I really hope that it pushes Alliance more. Ethos and West really hasn't done that.    I agree with some of your points about Alliance.  However there are many kids that made 1's as 12-13-14 that didn't make 1's with older and vice versa.  I can think have 6-8 with no effort just in a couple of age groups.  The reason Alliance doesn't perform well IMO is because most of the kids in the mid state get serious about volleyball in 7th grade or so.   Thus missing out on ball control from 9 year olds and up.  This might sound weird but the Pat Summit effect in our state hurt volleyball.  Every girl in the state started playing BBall at 5, where volleyball was picked up in HS or MS in the 80's and 90's.  not until the 2000's did it start to really improve here.   Late 90's and early 2000's maybe 1 kid played club on HS teams (out side of the Wilco, Father Ryan etc).   I do disagree with the way our young teams have been coached in the past.  There is no reason for a 11-12 team to pick a libero in the beginning of the year and that kid stay in that position all year.  Or a OH not play back row etc.   I can remember watching a 12 Team years ago that had a libero and neither OH played back row.  That is not good.  I hope Alliance has fixed some of that.



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Clifford20 makes some excellent points regarding how young volleyball players are being developed in the mid-Tennessee area, but I disagree about the suggested “Pat Summit Effect.” A quick review of KiVA’s commits from 2016 to 2018 (to date) shows that out of 53 committed athletes, KiVa sent 31 to D1 programs. 58.4% of KiVA's commits went to D1 programs.

Over that same time period, Alliance had 51 committed athletes, but only 17 to D1 schools (33.3%). That is despite the metro population of Louisville (approx. 1.2M) being less than Nashville’s metro population (approx. 1.8M). At this point it could be argued that this is due to the “Pat Summit Effect,” i.e. more female athletes in Tennessee are playing other sports at young ages and missing out on early volleyball development.

However, K2’s club undermines this theory. K2’s commits from 2016 to 2018 (to date) show 30 committed athletes. That number is to be expected, since the Knoxville metro population is around 800k. Seems proportional so far. Where it goes sideways is that out of those commitments, 18 are to D1 schools. That’s a 60% rate and one more D1 player than Alliance had over the same time period. Knoxville is also Pat Summit’s back yard.

To recap: K2 sent 60% of their college commits to D1 schools; KiVa sent 58.4%, and Alliance sent 33.3%.

Is this an indication that kids are “getting serious” about volleyball at younger ages in Louisville and Knoxville? Perhaps. Does looking at the number of D1 commits have a correlation to the competitiveness or reputation of the program? Perhaps.

The following are the AAU final standings for the past two years:

Age KiVA Allnce K2
18u - 7  19  3
17u - 2  33    
16u - 10 29 17
15u - 5  21 21
14u - 2  5  25
13u - 5      12
12u - 10 19 13

Age KiVA Allnce K2
18u - 10 21 7
17u - 3  29    
16u - 5 32 29
15u - 11 5  9
14u - 3 15 22
13u - 5  13 11
12u - 6 16 13

KiVA and K2 are both having more success at winning at AAUs and at placing players at Division I programs than Alliance while drawing from a smaller population base. 

This information is not anything that hasn’t already been considered by Alliance parents and players. The added competition from other/new clubs in mid-Tennessee may cause changes and improvements at Alliance, however I think that whatever shortcomings exist cannot be laid at the feet of the players.

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Really interesting post.   We can't compare KIVA with any club in Tn--we are miles behind them.   I do think K2 has done incredibly well and it is interesting to compare the 2 clubs.    I don't necessarily determine the success or failure of a club by how many D-1 athletes are placed.  That is certainly one of the big indicators though.   There is no question that the disconnect in the mid state starts at the middle school age kids (IMO).   I can't speak to the other areas.    I think that Alliances coaching at the very young age can certainly be better.  Not saying it is bad.  Our best technical coaches need to be in 9-12 year olds.  I completely disagree though that the players don't have some ownership in this.  If the players have no ownership-then what are we suggesting?  That is 100% coaching?  100% club?   Good topic.


(separate topic) I noticed your user name is Rutherford County VB and I have a serious question for you (you may not have a good answer).   I have long wondered why RUCO volleyball is not developing at all.  There is one good program there that is successful.  I just don't see any reason why Riverdale, Oakland, Smyrna, Laverge, Stewarts Creed, Blackmon, to be so poor in volleyball.  It is really confusing.  I just feel like that county should be every bit as successful as Wilco.  I know the club there is not good, but I still think it should be way better. 

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Interesting event in Knoxville at the end of April. TPV will be there, along with top teams from Alliance, Munciana, KIVA, Sting, A5, K2, and the Carolinas. Should be a good barometer.

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I’ve never lived in Louisville, and I don’t know anything about KiVA’s club other than watching their teams play. However, I think the Nashville metro area can be compared to other cities of comparable sizes, and to top clubs from similarly sized metro areas that travel into the southeast (Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Memphis, Raleigh). I don’t think athletes from those areas are naturally any different than Nashville athletes. I think that the differences between Nashville area volleyball and Louisville area volleyball (or K2, Cleveland Rox, Milwaukee Sting, or Municana, for that matter) lay mostly with the clubs, training, and, more specifically, with the volleyball coaches, and to a lesser degree the girls.

I personally think that Alliance does a pretty good job with the 9-11 year olds. I watched an 11 year old Alliance team a few years ago playing “up” and marveled at their good ball control skills. I watched substantially the same team two years later and wondered how that team had lost so much so quickly.

To your question about Rutherford County: I think the difference between Williamson and Rutherford starts with the economic disparity. Williamson County’s median household income is nearly twice that of Rutherford’s. Travel sports are costly and require a significant disposable income. Additionally, travel sports means coordinating transportation for practices, which is tough on a two income family. With that said, there are families who are able to travel to Franklin for volleyball, including good players who play on top teams (Sophia Bossong, setter for Siegel, is a good example of this).

The difference between Siegel and other high school teams in Rutherford County is easy to see. The Siegel players play club, the other schools are fortunate to have half of their girls pick up a volleyball outside of high school. While many Siegel players play at the “not good” club here in Rutherford County, the quality of play is good enough to go deep into the state tournament year after year.

Economics, poor coaching, and lack of good training opportunities are all detriments for kids at other Rutherford County schools. With that said, there are good players who may change the face of high school volleyball here: Storm White at Stewart’s Creek is developing, and I thought Ashlyn King at Blackman was the best 14U player I saw last year (Shea Eggleston included). Unfortunately, Ashlyn did not impress me when I saw her this fall at Districts. She is playing on a very strong “not good” club here, coached by long-time assistant MTSU coach Jeff Motluck, so her game may improve.

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On 12/19/2017 at 7:55 AM, RutherfordCoVolleyball1 said:

I personally think that Alliance does a pretty good job with the 9-11 year olds. I watched an 11 year old Alliance team a few years ago playing “up” and marveled at their good ball control skills. I watched substantially the same team two years later and wondered how that team had lost so much so quickly.


Speaking in generalities, your observation mirrors mine. I'd be less inclined to give Alliance credit for the ball control of those kids at that age... in a lot of cases, you are talking little sisters or daughters of volleyball-playing parents.

But I don't think you mean that the group regressed... they just didn't progress as much as the other kids over years/ That's what I meant in my earlier post about the tendency to take physically mature / athletic kids at young ages and populate your top teams with them. It's tempting, because that group will have a lot of success early. But then clubs with different paradigms (take lumps early, train kids with eye towards success as 16's and beyond) will generate more college-bound athletes.

Assuming that's the goal, of course, which maybe it isn't.

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