25 Oct 2023

Case Study: Newcastle Staffs supporting the next generation of volleyball players

Case Study: Newcastle Staffs supporting the next generation of volleyball players

After being founded in 1980, Newcastle Staffs have been focused on supporting juniors to get into and progress in the sport.

Their youth programme, VolleyStars, allows players from as young as seven to start understanding the concepts of the sport before looking to become a club member and progress through the ranks.  

How do they do it? 

Court time was a challenge for Staffs and they ended up needing to open a new venue to host VolleyStars. The club invested in posts, a long net, and holes drilled in the floor, but this took a few months to take place so they started out with just balls, working on understanding concepts of time and space, as well as creating fun games on badminton courts with no nets. 

The children now attending range between school years 2 and 6, so they are constantly differentiating and sometimes ask parents to join in with their child to help maximise the session for all children.  

As coaches, learning more about how to adapt the core principles of the game has been important. For example, not letting the ball hit the floor whilst not allowing technical elements to get in the way has been key for supporting the development of younger players. 

Despite being a long way from the coast, Newcastle Staffs have access to three beach volleyball courts locally at Keele Uni, so in the summer term they move from the sports hall to the beach courts, which the children love… both for the volleyball and for building sandcastles!  

Having access to facilities such as this gives the children the full experience of volleyball and allows them to take their understanding of the indoor game out into the sunshine.

Image preview  

What has the progress been? 

In the first year of VolleyStars, Staffs had 18 children attending every week from September to July but, as this group included a large number of year 6 children, a number of these progressed into the club’s other groups. 

This season (the third year of the programme) they have moved venues and have 13 players attending every week. 

In summer 2022, they were able to take three teams to Sandbanks to play in the Beach Volleyball tournament for U12 players, and have also played games with other West Midlands clubs as part of their excellent series of festivals, including hosting their own on the beach courts. 

Players that have come through VolleyStars have attended Volleyball England Futures camps and played in Tier 2 of the U15 Junior Grand Prix in the 4v4 format.  

What has the club learnt?  

Coaches when working in this age group have made them think creatively about how to work most effectively with the players and how to create the right environment. 

It has allowed them to develop new techniques for junior sessions as well as keeping sessions engaging to ensure players come back. 

Newcastle Staffs Junior programme has supported a range of players with ability to go through the ranks of the teams and play at competitive levels.  

Image preview

Find out more 

If you or someone you know would like to get involved in Volleyball they can find out more information about clubs near them here.