One of my coaching sayings that I use with my Bishop Guilfoyle girls’ volleyball team is “keep one eye on the opponent and one eye on the big picture.” What I mean by that saying is that part of your focus needs to be on beating your next opponent on the schedule, but in the process, you need to be preparing your game for that better opponent you will eventually play in the district or state playoffs.
I want to broaden that scope to the sport of volleyball and the strides that we’ve been making locally, regionally and nationally.
High school volleyball is growing at a rapid pace and Western Pa. AAU club volleyball is keeping pace. In the 2016-17 National Federation of High School survey, the sport of volleyball had 444,779 participants, which makes volleyball the most popular team sport by participation in the United States. Volleyball recently passed up basketball, which has with 430,368 participants.
In four years, Western Pa. AAU has doubled in numbers. In 2014, Western Pa. District of AAU Volleyball had 352 participants. Volleyball made a big jump in 2015 with 618 and continued steady growth in 2016 (683) and 2017 (723). If you coach a junior high, JV, high school or a club team, you should take great pride in keeping one eye on developing your team/club and one eye on the big picture of growing this great sport of volleyball.