This past fall, we had the opportunity to bring back 57 Instructional Leagues and 5 Advanced Juniors programs. This was possible because we had parents and family members step-up at many locations to help recruit coaches, handle equipment and make sure teams had coaches at each practice and game day.
As we continue to rebuild after the pandemic, a huge thank you to our volunteer staff who made the Fall 2021 season possible. They continued USYVL’s mission to give every child the opportunity to learn and play volleyball.
USYVL staff worked to make sure each site had what was needed to be successful and our volunteers ensured our programs continued to run on time and that our players had fun each day. We truly could not have run such a successful season, or brought as many programs back, without our many volunteers donating their time. Thank you!
from the grass courts to the collegiate gyms
by Calyce Jones
The sport of volleyball has always been my companion and champion ever since I was 9 years old playing in the USYVL. The USYVL has played a significant role in my exposure and love for the sport of volleyball. My participation in the USYVL provided a safe haven for me to genuinely express myself, emotionally and physically as I learned and developed into an aspiring volleyball player. It’s safe to say that my dreams and aspirations to compete at the collegiate level began on the USVYL volleyball courts. I have fond memories of practicing Wednesday evening and playing Saturday mornings; while my dad volunteered as my teams’ coach.
My love and passion for volleyball have been more than a means to my academic and athletic aspirations but an appreciation for the fun, action, skills, and teamwork associated with being a volleyball player. I have been fortunate enough to compete at the elite club level for several clubs, Infinity VBC (5th grade); Club South Bay VBC (5th – 10th grades), and Dream In Gold VBC (11th grade). I’m a 4 – year varsity letterman at Millikan High School where I served as the team captain and setter. I chose to forgo my last year of club competition, to train and be prepared for my upcoming freshman season in the fall of 2021, where I have committed and signed to play at Norfolk State University, an HBCU and Division I program of the MEAC.
"My love and passion for volleyball have been more than a means to my academic and athletic aspirations but an appreciation for the fun, action, skills and teamwork associated with being a volleyball player."
I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my volleyball career where I see myself dawning the Spartans “Green and Gold” uniform, winning multiple MEAC championships and honors while walking across the campus as a future Norfolk State University graduate. This journey all started at USYVL and I’m proud to be an alumnus of this program.
how coaching brought meaning to my life
by Keani Andaluz
I had the privilege to coach at our Torrance location for the 2020-2021 seasons!
I started playing volleyball in high school and played varsity for 3 years as an outside hitter. I never had the opportunity to play in college but I was able to experience coaching at my high school for the freshman girls’ volleyball team.
Fast forward 10 years and USYVL entered into my life. It had been a while since I played and really wanted to challenge myself and wanted to be a part of my community and to provide an opportunity for kids to be able to learn a new sport and skills, especially as we were coming out of a very tough year with the pandemic. This coaching position challenged me to show up for the kids but in order to be able to do that, I had to show up for myself. Coaching showed me that I was able to achieve so much with dedication, being reliable, and showing empathy. Each practice, seeing my players overcome fears of learning something new, meeting new friends, and stepping outside of their comfort zone is one of the most joyous feelings I have ever experienced. Each child is unique and brings something special to the team and as a coach being able to learn and highlight each child's talents and strengths makes me love this sport even more.
Coaching can be a huge impact on these kids’ lives and always encourage those who are interested in coaching to go for it.
If you are interested in coaching, please connect with the amazing staff at USYVL for more information on coaching opportunities.
advanced juniors in action
The fall season was a success! Although a limited amount of programs were run under Covid Guidelines, the kids learned so much and the coaches did a fantastic job teaching them how to play the game.
Spring 2022 will see the return of the Advanced Juniors' full lineup. Our age limit for the Advanced Juniors has been increased from 16 to 18 so players who may have missed an opportunity to join in the past two years can still participate in the 2022 season.
The Advanced Juniors program is for intermediate and advanced players to prepare and assist their transition from four-person instructional leagues to indoor competition with a six-player format. The goal of the Advanced Juniors program is to advance to a higher level of competition such as high school or club volleyball.
We are excited for the return of the Advanced Juniors next spring and will continue to open registration for each location. Feel free to email [email protected] for updates on your program.
Interview with Terry Anderson, Laguna Niguel Clinician
How long have you been playing volleyball/how did you get interested in the sport?
In my younger days, I played beach volleyball in Santa Monica with a group of people from work. We’d see high-level players like Wilt Chamberlain over on the other courts, but for us, it was mostly a social thing. One time a pair of players came over and challenged us, twelve against two, and we said, well that’s not fair. And they said, that’s okay, we’ll go easy on you.
How and when did you decide to get involved with USYVL?
Both my sons were all about baseball throughout their youth. But when the older one hit high school, he didn’t have the size and height to compete with those selected for the team, and so I had to find another sport and found volleyball instead. That led my younger son into the sport and that’s when we joined USYVL. I initially signed on to coach his 9-10 team and after a season or two when our Site Director retired, I stepped up to the site director level. That was about 11 years ago. Even after my son graduated from the program, I kept returning since the league is really my passion. Now my son is through high school and a sophomore at Cal Poly SLO and still involved in volleyball.
What is your favorite part of practice or the season?
End of season day is always fun. Each site has its own traditions but ours is to have all the coaches bring water balloons. It starts as an egg-toss game but quickly devolves into a free-for-all. We go through about 500 balloons in five minutes. But the kids don’t seem to care how wet they get. And the last game is always kids vs. parents.
Do you have a favorite exercise for the players to work on during practice?
We have the players do a quick lap and kid-led stretching exercises while the clinician instructs the coaches on this week's drills.
Do you have any fun drills or exercises you have recommended for kids to work on at home to prepare for practices?
A few practices they can do at home. Bump the ball to themselves continuously at least 10 times, and try to increase the vertical height as if it were a pass, not just bumping it a few feet in the air. Also, toss the ball onto the roof of your house and bump it back up. And if you have access to handball court practice your overhand serve, both hitting it onto the ground first and then drawing or taping a line at net height.
What do you think kids enjoy the most about practices?
There’s a discrepancy you need to deal with. Coaches only want to do drills, kids would prefer to just play games the entire hour. So there needs to be a proper balance and not focus too much on drills. Let them play games, but make it teachable where you can stop and fix certain mistakes. And when players start to lose focus during the drills, throw in a fun practice like Dead Fish (look it up).
Do you have a favorite memory of a game day or practice?
Often when we have inter-site games, once the courts are cleared we usually leave one net set up, and then coaches/parents get to play a little fun, non-scoring game. As much as I enjoy coaching, I feel left out if I don’t get to get out there and mix it up a little.
you can help
Your tax-deductible contributions to USYVL have helped us continue our mission to provide every child between the ages of 7 and 15 a chance to learn and play volleyball in a fun, safe, supervised environment.
Support the USYVL by clicking the link below. Your donation goes directly into funding players that can’t afford registration, program improvements, and equipment upgrades.
Did you know you can support USYVL while shopping? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. By linking your account to the United States Youth Volleyball League at smile.amazon.com, you can direct that percentage to go to USYVL's Every Child Plays Fund.
Ralphs is committed to help the local neighborhoods we call home. By linking your Ralphs Rewards card to United States Youth Volleyball League, you can direct a small percentage of your grocery purchase to go towards USYVL's Every Child Plays Fund.