There are options when it comes to choosing a volleyball club. In the immediate Marin area, there are three other club programs: Absolute Volleyball Club, Nomar Volleyball Club, and Novato Youth Volleyball League. Within 30 miles or so, there are even more options. To the north, Empire Volleyball Club, Aftershock Volleyball and Evolve VBC. To the east bay, Golden Bear, Kalani, and Xceleration, NorCal, Diablo Valley and Thunder. To the south, SF Juniors, SF Tremors, Quake City, Slainte, 650 Extreme, Red Rock, Encore and many more.
With so many club options, how do you choose?
Since no program is perfect for every player, we encourage families to do their research and make the decision that is right for them. There are many factors that go into the decision, but before deciding to play for a club, families should understand the club and coaching philosophy, the expenses and commitment required, and learn something about the coaching staff and the instruction that will be provided.
While we have worked hard to provide volleyball opportunities to a wide range of players, we do not believe that Marin Juniors is the best club for every family. We encourage players to attend clinics and seminars to get feel for the coaches and the culture of the program, and for parents to attend our informational meetings, speak with other MJ families, and meet the coaches.
Here are some of the elements of our program that makes us successful:
Founded in 1983, Marin Juniors Volleyball Club has been producing accomplished volleyball players and competitive volleyball teams for 30 years. Our coaching staff is the most experienced staff in the area, and has developed age-appropriate goals and philosophies for the club. Read more about how the skills we teach, the tone and manner of our coaching, and the emphasis on winning all evolve as our players grow through our program.
The coaching staff is dedicated to provide the best instruction possible. All of our coaches will be certified by the Positive Coaching Alliance and most are USA Volleyball and/or Gold Medal Squared certified. Our training system has been tailored specifically for each age group, and each successive year will build on top of the previous to accelerate development of players as they progress through our program.
In addition to the regularly scheduled four hours of weekly practice with their teams, players will have the option of additional position specific training as well as strength and conditioning. Its not uncommon for players to join other teams for practice, for teams to combine, or for guest coaches to show up at practices. At the end of the season, its very likely that as many as five or six coaches have worked individually with you and have a personal stake in your skills development.
The Complete Athlete
At Marin Juniors, we understand that expert training in volleyball techniques is the foundation of great teams and great players. However, we also know that in order to develop truly amazing teams and for young players to get the most out of their volleyball experience, development must go beyond simply serving, passing, setting and hitting. In order to develop the complete athlete, Marin Juniors is determined to provide support around some key areas and have partnered with experts in the areas of sports nutrition, team dynamics, mental toughness and fitness.
Marin Juniors is a program sponsored by the San Rafael Community Services. As a result, we are able to take advantage of the city’s tremendous facilities and offer consistent practice schedules in state-of-the-art gyms. Our primary facilities will be Pickleweed Community Center and Marin Academy High School, and we will have occasional access to other schools. These are some of the nicest gyms in the Marin area with proper flooring, excellent lighting, heating, and facilities.
Beach volleyball is a fun, challenging sport that all of our players should be doing. Beach volleyball helps athletes develop strength, speed, skills and a complete understanding of the game in a way that indoor volleyball can't. Players who train in the beach can reach new heights indoors and we believe many players should be spending as much time playing outdoors as indoors. With the emergence of beach volleyball as a premiere women's sport at the collegiate and Olympic level, we believe both the opportunities to play at the next level and the overall interest in the sport are taking off.
We are excited to be partnering with Dancer Styles, head of the Golden Gate Volleyball Club. Dancer will help lead the training and competition programs for Marin Beach. Players who show an affinity and interest in the sport and who are interested in taking their beach game to the next level will be encouraged to participate with Golden Gate Volleyball Club all summer.
After studying, observing and conducting strength and conditioning programs for years, we have gone back to the drawing board. Dr. Kelley Starett, reknown fitness and training expert and Marin Juniors parent, has created an entirely new approach to improving volleyball performance. Mobility VB focuses not on how many squats, crunches or pushups our players do, but how they do them. This program will educate players, coaches and parents about how to truly prepare young athletes for optimal volleyball performance.
When our teams step on the court, we expect them to play to win and we cultivate that competitive spirit. However, our definition of success goes far beyond the scoreboard - improvement, effort, and learning are equally valued. We demand effort and intensity, but our primary goal is to motivate players through support and inspiration, not through fear and punishment.
When coaches challenge players to achieve more than they think they can achieve, frustration is natural, but you can be sure that at the end of the day, we won't lose sight of the importance of having fun. While we offer the opportunity to practice four or even five times a week for players who fully committed to volleyball as their sport, we encourage and support players' outside interests. We feel strongly that young athletes, especially prior to high school, should not be forced to choose only one sport.
While we hope that all players aspire to earn volleyball scholarships and play at the collegiate level, we recognize that only a small percentage will actually do so. But we do hope they learn to love the sport, and continue to play for the rest of their lives - from intramurals during college to outdoor grass and sand tournaments, and recreational adult leagues. And we hope they leave the program with more than just volleyball skills, and our commitment to off-court development brings annual seminars on topics such as nutrition, mental toughness, and injury prevention and treatment.
Commitment to Improvement
Coaches are determined to see players end the season with significant improvements in all of their volleyball skills. In addition to team practice, individual, position-specific training will be offered. A strength and conditioning program will also be available for players serious about improving their speed, agility, balance, and power. Coaches will also sit down and meet with each individual player at the beginning stages of the season to help set goals. Players will continue to receive evaluations through the course of the season as well as a follow up, goal-review meeting.
Marin Juniors will encourage players to develop all-around skills. Far too often a player's volleyball "world" is narrowly defined by her high school team. We hope that players will play different positions, and go on to play co-ed and outdoor doubles, which will require everyone to play all positions and be capable of all skills.
Culture of Learning
We know that optimum development of teams comes from understanding three core components of learning:
First, the physiological aspects of motor learning. We understand the breakdown of every fundamental skill in volleyball and know how to apply the proper mechanics. We are students of coaching, and every year refine our methods of teaching and providing feedback.
Second, the psychological component of learning. We know that confidence is the key to player improvement. We encourage players to learn from mistakes, we celebrate accomplishments. But most importantly, we focus on the effort and the process, not just the results.
Finally, the learning environment. We strive to build a culture where effort and intensity are demanded and rewarded, where mistakes are understood to be core elements of learning and improving, and where attention to detail is relentless. Teams will interact with other coaches and other teams, giving players the opportunity to learn from more than one expert. The access to different coaching styles and personalities can be a huge boost to individual player improvement.
We all understand the value of sports and the positive impact that they can have in the development of young women. However, sports alone do not build character; only with the proper leadership and culture are traits such as teamwork, confidence, and perseverance fostered. We believe there is an alarming trend in youth sports away from the core values of respect and sportsmanship, and we too often see fear replace desire as the primary motivation for players.
Coaches and organizations are losing sight of the fact that while money, ego, and power are involved, it should be all about the players. As a result, young players are quitting organized sports at an alarming rate and we hear more and more horror stories in youth sports. One of our objectives is to give as many young women the chance to play volleyball as possible and develop a love for the sport.
While we can't create teams for all of the players, we will continue to extend our efforts to make the sport accessible through programs such as Marin Juniors Too. We are focused on maintaining a supportive environment that provides young women the chance to reap all of the benefits that organized sports has to offer. We encourage our coaches to always strive for more, but no matter how hard our coaches push their teams, they will never belittle, embarrass, swear at, or give up on our players.
We teach respect; for the sport, the coaches, other players, parents, and referees. Safety, both physical and emotional, are top concerns. Commitment, effort, enthusiasm, and teamwork are essential elements of our successful program. Recognition, positive feedback, and encouragement are at the core of our coaching philosophy and motivational techniques. And finally, we will never lose sight of the fact that volleyball is a game, and it should be fun.
We hope to see you in our gym!