International Game Grows at the Junior Level
Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Spring Break. These are breaks, right? Yes. These are breaks from school. They are also the perfect time of the year to take a junior volleyball team to Europe, Asia or South America to train with and compete against international teams. You bet.
A lot of factors account for the increase in international travel. Clubs realize that international travel and play is a quality experience that adds to their overall product. The increase in American professional players in Europe plays a role. Many of the junior clubs that go on tour have had former players play in Europe after college. The players go back home and coach for the club and encourage international travel because they had such a wonderful experience.
Bring It USA has been running tours since 1996 and during these 18 years the professional volleyball agency has seen a substantial increase in junior teams coming on tours. This week there are four Northern Lights teams and one Club Fusion team in Italy and two Mizuno Long Beach teams in the Netherlands. In addition, Premier Academy just returned from Nicaragua. All teams traveled during spring break so players did not miss school. Read about Club Fusion 18 Black's trip here. The trips consist of playing friendly matches and training with the international teams, followed by tournaments and sightseeing throughout the trip.
"The tours are very feasible so more and more clubs are sending teams. Europe is the most popular destination, but we have had many junior teams in Nicaragua, South America, China, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand etc. We can take them anywhere in the world" shares Cory Solomon, BIP Director.
The experience is very eye opening for junior players who get to experience some key differences between U.S. and. international rules and training such as:
- International teams play only with their club teams. So they don't split time between high school teams in the fall and club teams in the spring.
- In addition, unless its a Junior or Youth National team tournament, most international girls are not divided up by age, but by talent. So a really strong 16 year old will already be on teams with college age girls.
- International players use different rules, so it really effects their training. Meaning you can't be an outside hitter unless you and serve receive, there are no DS positions and middles really have to serve well as the libero can't serve.
Prior to the start of the Championships, other top 18 Open teams will have the opportunity to play the international teams in practice matches. In addition to the International Division, other international teams are expected to compete in this summer's AAU Championships within the 14 to 17 age divisions including teams from Finland, Colombia, Canada and St. Thomas. The goal is to keep growing the international division each year. Prior to the start of the Championships, other top 18 Open teams will have the opportunity to play the international teams in practice matches. In addition to the International Division, other international teams are expected to compete in this summer's AAU Championships within the 14 to 17 age divisions including teams from Finland, Colombia, Canada and St. Thomas.- See more at: http://aauvolleyball.org/News/ArticleDetail.aspx?Title=International+Teams+Included+in+AAU+Championships&ArticleID=5507#sthash.Jc658yHd.dpuf
Additional reading on international travel among junior clubs:
Keys to a Successful International Trip: A5 Travels to China
Understanding True Love and Respect for the Game: Sports Performance Travels to Japan