I just returned from the USA Volleyball Youth A3 Camp in the Wisconsin Dells. USA Volleyball uses four age and three level distinctions. Age distinctions include Select, Youth, Junior and Senior. The Select athletes are the youngest and the Senior athletes are those competing on our U.S. Women’s or Men’s National Teams. Level distinctions include A1, A2 and A3. A1 athletes are the top tier and A3 athletes are in the third tier.
The Dells camp was a wonderful experience and made me realize how much fun I used to have working with the USA Volleyball High Performance programs. This is my first experience back with USA Volleyball since 2002. I took a break from working with USA High Performance at that time because my wife Carol and I started a family and in 2004 I had a new position at Washington State University.
At the camp, we followed a curriculum that was put together under the advisory of the U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Hugh McCutcheon. Hugh help lead our U.S. men’s team to Olympic Gold in 2008 and now he is attempting to do the same with the women. This camp was extra nice because they housed us at the Chula Vista Resort. To say the least, we lived and ate like kings and queens for five days.
The selection process for coaches requires an application process with USA Volleyball. I applied to work with the Select (youngest) age group within the USA High Performance pipeline and this most recent camp experience was part of that assignment. Each athlete in the camp went through a tryout with USA Volleyball at some point in time during their 2009 club volleyball season. The A3 camps serve as a developmental opportunity for athletes who have been identified through this tryout process. At the camp, we had 22 girls and 52 boys. Many of the coaches working the camp came from the collegiate ranks including Wisconsin, Marquette, Stanford, George Mason and Northwestern.
On Thursday, I depart for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where I will be working the USA High Performance A1 Select Camp followed by the 2009 High Performance Championships from July 22 - 26. I will be part of a 10-coach staff that will work with 50 of the top Select age athletes. We will train the athletes at NOVA Southeastern for the camp before moving to the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center for the HP Championships. In addition to the USA High Performance (HP) team, many states form their own HP teams and there will also be international teams from Canada, Italy and Brazil competing in the championship event.
Be sure to check the USA Volleyball Web site for results of the High Performance Championships.