12 Simple Ways to Run a Great Volleyball Tournament


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This is the time of year when clubs begin to plan next season's playing schedule. New volleyball tournaments bring options to the table, and your long standing event may see some competition. Rather than focus on the negative impact this may have on your tournament, take the opportunity to recognize ways to improve your event. And if you are hosting a new event, you need to make sure you are offering a quality product. 

Here are 12 tips to make sure your tournament rises above the rest:

  1. Pool Play pools work best with even numbers - it also makes breaking into bracket play a lot easier.

  2. Start times in AM wave are 8am or 9am - PM wave start times are typically 2:30pm or 3:00pm (note most regions have a rule preventing matches from starting after 9pm).

  3. On Sundays it's best if the event is complete by 5pm, especially if teams have to travel a reasonable distance.

  4. During bracket play (typically day 2 of a two day event) teams don't like to sit longer then an hour. For example, don't have a team play at 8am then not play again till 11am.

  5. While seeding the event try to avoid club conflicts (depending on the number of teams from a given club it may be tough).

  6. For bracket play in smaller events it may be easier to stagger the younger divisions to avoid having to change the net height after each round. For example, start your 12's division at 8am and try to get all there matches done by 11am so you can then schedule the 14's who play on a higher net to play after them. This will help keep courts from falling behind due to change the net height after each round.

  7. For smaller events with no extra courts available, not playing tie breaker sets helps avoid courts running hours behind schedule.

  8. Admissions: Charging admissions helps generate revenue to offset facility cost and expenses.The typical admission charge is $5 for adults and $3 for kids per one day of competition. For an event hosted in a convention center the cost will most likely be higher to offset the cost of hosting in that venue.

  9. Food Options: Older kids like healthier food options. Younger kids are not as concerned with healthier food.

  10. Awards: Kids like having medals they can wear or hang. Most kids don't like receiving t-shirts as awards. As team rosters continue to grow be sure to order extra medals to ensure all winning team players receive a medal.

  11. When starting a new event or working with other clubs on an event, club reciprocation is important. Make sure all parties are equally supporting each other. This is a great way for competitive clubs to build a working relationship within a region.

  12. When using multiple rental facilities put the age groups that will generate the largest revenue opportunity at the host location. For example, younger age groups tend to have more family members attend the event. Which means higher retail and concession opportunities.

If you run an organized, quality volleyball tournament, the event will sustain and teams will return. However, if you do not give teams a positive experience and build comradery with clubs in your area, you risk losing teams to a competing event that is doing those things. 

Marketing your event is easy: post your tournament on the JVA website, promote your event through e-blasts, social media and personally inviting clubs within a four to six hour drive and follow-up with the clubs whose events you supported last season. Working together with other clubs is a great way to ensure your tournaments succeed.

For related reading on volleyball tournaments click HERE. For more education on hosting a volleyball tournament click HERE.

About the Author

Steve Bailey, JVA Director of Events, is no stranger to junior volleyball, having been around the sport for 17 years. He has many years of experience in club operations as former full time Associate Club Director for Michigan Volleyball Academy the past two seasons. In addition, he has collegiate women's coaching experience at Grand Valley State and Kent State University. A Chicago native, Steve spent five seasons coaching at Club Fusion in Marengo, IL.


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