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The Tipping Point: Two Teams to 24 in One Year


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The word Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment, the supreme moment. Club Director Mitch Lunning started Kairos Elite Volleyball Club in 2012 as a part-time job. The club only had one 18u team that first year. Last season the club grew to two teams (17u & 18u). This year Mitch decided to leave his old job as a Financial Advisor to be full-time Club Director, and the right moment presented itself... the club grew to 24 teams: 18 travel teams, along with 6 teams that play in a league in the club's facility located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

So what factors attributed to the exponential growth

in one year?

"Volleyball is growing big time here. We have some very good athletes but the level of high school volleyball is low compared to other parts of the country. Also, kids have always played club for their local high school and did not travel outside our area. So this club experience is very new to most of our kids" shares Lunning. "A lot of players have never played club with players from other high schools before, and they are finding out how beneficial and fun that can be!"

Over the years there have been very few players from Sioux Falls that have gone on to play NCAA Division I volleyball, mainly because the kids never went out and challenged/exposed themselves to the rest of the country. This year the Kairos Elite 18-1 roster has student athletes committed to Louisville, Cal State-Fullerton, Pepperdine, North Dakota, South Dakota State, and Creighton. The team was selected as the 18s team to watch this club season by Prepvolleyball.com. "That helps us get everyone else in our area excited" explains Lunning.

The 18-1 team is participating in the Northern Plains Power League, one of JVA's newest Power Leagues. The Pentagon Volleyball Club, another new club in Sioux Falls, is one of the hosts for the Power League, along with River City Juniors and Nebraska Juniors. Next year, Lunning plans to have all of the Kairos Elite National teams participate in the league.

The word Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment, the supreme moment. In 2011, junior volleyball in Sioux Falls was at a tipping point. "There really weren't any other clubs around before us. Most kids played club volleyball with their high school teams. We have kids in our club that travel from up to two hours away, and there are only a few clubs in that range" shares Lunning. 2012 was definitely the opportune moment to start a club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The young club director has high hopes for his club's future with plans to grow to 30 teams within the next few years. Kairos Elite has a year round Academy for K-12th graders, as they try to model a similar structure to JVA powerhouse Sports Performance. The Kairos Elite staff spent a few days with Club Director Rick Butler at the Great Lakes Center in May as an opportunity to learn from the club who has consistently had national success in girls and boys junior volleyball. Currently the club uses four locations to train: one church, one school, and two separate sports facilities owned by Avera (a hospital in town), however Lunning is working on getting a full-time facility to be the home of Kairos Elite.

In an effort to grow boys volleyball in Sioux Falls, Kairos Elite also offers boys Academy sessions, but they have not been very successful yet. The club also hosts a lot of camps with college coaches. With all the additional opportunities on top of the club team program, Kairos Elite is starting to get more kids interested in volleyball and raising the level of volleyball around Sioux Falls immensely. We will see what year four will bring, maybe an indoor sand program?

Kairos Elite is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association. For more information on the JVA and its resources for junior volleyball club directors and club coaches visit www.jvaonline.org


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