This month my stepdaughter begins her freshman year in high school. She is a natural athlete and has played many different sports in various rec leagues in our area. When it was time to select which school sport she wanted to play in the fall, I was happy when she told me she had signed up for volleyball.
I went to a large public high school in Massachusetts that had one of the most diverse and competitive athletic programs in the state, but I only knew one or two girls that decided to play volleyball. Now, a little more than a decade later, things are starting to change in New England and volleyball is picking up a tremendous amount of steam.
Compared to the other sports offered during the fall season, volleyball has a lot of positive aspects that make it a solid choice for young athletes. Cross country is a great workout, but if you aren’t naturally inclined to run, the races can be tough. Soccer is hard to break into if you haven’t been a participant in the year-round system from a young age. Field hockey is popular here in the Northeast, but still isn’t a major sport country-wide. Other options like tennis, cheerleading, gymnastics, and crew simply aren’t able to cater to as vast an audience as volleyball.
As we say here at the magazine: Anyone can play volleyball. The rules are quite simple and easy for new players to pick up; the skills are teachable, even at a later age; and there is a position for everyone, whether you have height, agility, strength, or a combination of the three. Everyone can be worked into the rotation somewhere.
Getting our younger generation started in the sport is what we need to do in order to see volleyball grow at the higher levels. Once you are a player, you also become a fan, which means there are more people watching and talking about the game. Encourage your children, friends, and neighbors to give volleyball a chance and help us in this effort to create a new generation of players and enthusiasts.
Originally published in October 2013