Understanding FVC Volleyball Levels

Level 1

Beginners of all ages start here. Level 1 clinics break down fundamental volleyball skills - passing, setting, the basics of hitting and serving - and focus on body position and technique. A variety of drills focus on developing ball control and consistency. Players learn the basics of game play with coaches setting (for continuity of game play) and focus on court positioning and movement, calling the ball, and three-touch plays. In order to move to Level 1.5, players require a decent level of skill consistency. They should be able to maintain a series of 6 - 10 arms passes to themselves in a row, 6 - 10 hand passes to themselves, and begin to be able to alternate between hand and arm passes. They should be able to pass back and forth with a partner 5 - 10 times in a row; serve 10 times from mid-court with about 50% consistency; and demonstrate athleticism and quickness on the court when moving to a ball.

Level 1.5

Players with developing consistency are invited to Level 1.5. In this level, players focus on combining fundamental skills with movement. They learn the hitting approach and the concept of transitioning. They work on passing to a target and receiving a serve. And they may be introduced to a 4-2 offense, with either coaches or players setting. Consistency and confidence should improve in order to move to Level 2. Players should be able to arm and hand pass the ball to themselves 15 - 20 times in a row; pass with a partner 10 - 15 times in a row; and serve with 75% accuracy from mid-court. They should be able to hit an effective downball attack from the 10’ line, call and move to the ball with confidence. They should understand when and how to rotate, who should be serving, when to get into ready position, and what balls to cover without regular reminders.

Level 2

Moving from Level 1.5 to Level 2 is a big jump. Level 2 players can maintain the integrity of gameplay without the support of coaches. With an expectation of basic skill consistency coming into this level, the focus switches to court awareness, footwork and nuanced body position, and executing a 4-2 offense. Players begin to consistently hit with an approach, understand when to transition, and begin to focus on in-system play as a continuous goal to strive for. They improve their ability to serve receive and are able to serve with > 50% consistency from the baseline. Approximately 25% - 50% of the players at this level are typically new club players. They demonstrate focus on the court -- understanding where they should be, where teammates should be, and their roles on the court without regular reminders. They also begin to understand the importance of poise -- walking off mistakes, celebrating good plays, and working to be a consistently positive force for their team.

Level 2 and Level 3 clinics share many commonalities. Concepts are introduced based on group readiness, and often clinics at these levels may be working on similar skills and strategy. Girls are grouped in January based on who we have in the mix at that time, and generally stay at the same level through the winter and spring, growing and developing with their cohort of players. Staying at Level 2 does not indicate a lack of progress. Continued placement at Level 2 is likely an indication of returning club players that are raising the bar for entrance into Level 3.

Level 3

Generally speaking, Level 3 includes the strongest FVC players on our registration list during any given clinic session. However, this designation is subjective, as the quality and depth of talent varies year to year. The majority of players at this level play on club teams and are working to execute in-system play at a consistent level. A combination of experience, focus, skills, poise, and coachability differentiate Level 3 players. They begin to understand the nuances between back row positions. They are able to read and quickly react to balls coming over the net based on cues from the other side. There is a higher level of expectation around listening, learning, and executing within drills, game play, and scrimmages.

Level 4

Representing <10% of the full FVC roster, this level is reserved for athletes playing on elite club teams that are highly competitive both within and outside of New England (ex: CMass, SMASH). Level 4 clinics assume competence with 5-1 and 6-2 formats, various offensive plays, high volleyball IQ and very strong skills. Clinic plans are based on these assumptions, and are likely to overwhelm players with limited competitive experience, even if they have strong skills.

Please do not get caught up in our leveling system. It essentially outlines the kind of progress and development we look for -- particularly in Levels 1 and 1.5. However, once players reach Level 2, they are building the necessary skills and experience needed for high school play. A player may be making excellent progress from January - April in Level 2, and be at the top of her group, but remain in Level 2 during May clinics if 10 competitive club players return and take spots in Levels 3 / 4. It is more important to us to coach groups of girls that are similarly strong and competent, rather than ensure precision in our level designation from clinic to clinic.