FAQ: Volleyball advice for players, coaches, venues, clubs
17th June 2020
On 4th June, Volleyball England announced that up to six people from different households can now meet to take part in outdoor volleyball exercises, drills and coaching that abide by social distancing. This came after some lockdown restrictions were eased by the government.
Below, we have answered some key questions, separated into specific sections for PLAYERS, COACHES, VENUES and CLUBS, that have arisen from that and subsequent announcements. Please read all the sections that are appropriate to you.
Where relevant, we have also included some of the advice we have previously issued. This page is therefore our most comprehensive guide to the impact of the coronavirus on volleyball, beach volleyball and sitting volleyball in England as well as our activity as the sport’s national governing body.
We will continue to add to this list with the latest information [NEW] or updates [UPDATED] in line with member queries and new government guidance, so please check back, particularly as restrictions may be reintroduced.
It must be stressed that clubs should follow government and Volleyball England guidance to remain covered by their membership insurance policy.
Last updated: 02/07/2020
ADVICE FOR PLAYERS
[UPDATED] What type of recreational volleyball activity is currently allowed?
The government has announced that as of 4th July, where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of “one metre plus” if certain mitigations are taken to reduce the risk of transmissions. Crucially, volleyball can and therefore should continue to adhere to the two metres social distancing.
Therefore, up to six volleyballers from different households can meet outdoors for training if they keep two metres apart. Gatherings of more than six people are not allowed unless, for example, the group is from the same household.
What is the difference between volleyball training and matches, and why does it matter?
Training involves things such as conditioning and fitness sessions as well as the practise of specific skills and techniques, such as pepper drills, in preparation for competitive gameplay. Crucially these situations must be structured to ensure participants adhere to social distancing.
On the other hand, unstructured play (matches) is dynamic and unpredictable and creates scenarios where it is not possible to adhere to the current two metre social distancing rule.
Can you provide some examples of what type of training could take place?
If participants are outdoors and adhere to social distancing guidance, they could organise:
- Individual conditioning and fitness activities
- Individual skill drills, such as serving drills
- Pair skill drills, such as peppering, where two metres can be kept between players.
Is it now possible to play 2v2 or 3v3 volleyball matches?
No. We have interpreted new government rules to conclude that standard 2v2 or 3v3 volleyball matches cannot take place while following social distancing rules.
Our advice is that only recreational play between two players can take place and that, in this case, play by the net – such as blocking – should be avoided to enable both players to remain two metres apart.
Can vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18 now meet with others for training?
Vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18 can now meet someone from another household for training because a third person, who must remain two metres from people outside of their household, can now be present for safeguarding. The group, including the guardian and any coaches, must consist of no more than six people if they all come from different households.
In addition to staying at least two metres away from people you do not live with, what other measures should those taking part in group training sessions follow?
- Using a volleyball for training between people from different households is within the guidance if everyone follows strict hand hygiene by washing their hands and their volleyball equipment before and after the session.
- If you are taking part in sitting volleyball training, it is even more important that you regularly wash your hands.
- Overall, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum, and do not share towels or water bottles.
- Avoid touching your face if you are sharing a volleyball with people outside of your household.
- Avoid meeting in groups of six if the area is overcrowded and if it is impossible to maintain social distancing at all times.
Please seek instructions from the manufacturer on how equipment should be cleaned. Here is some guidance from three of the most common makes of volleyball:
- Mikasa: mikasasports.co.jp/e/support/maintenance
- Molten: www.molten.co.jp/sports/en/volleyball/product/volleyball/index.html
- Wilson: Wet wipes, regular disinfectant spray or cloth will not harm Wilson volleyballs, according to the manufacturer, because they are made of composite leather. Make sure volleyballs are completely dry before storing them.
How far can participants travel for outdoor exercise?
You can travel for physical activity irrespective of distance but, ideally, you should use the nearest and most appropriate venue or outdoor area to you, to reduce the pressure on the transport network. Remember, you should not travel with someone from outside of your household unless you can follow social distancing, such as by cycling.
ADVICE FOR COACHES
Please also read the government’s guidance for coaches, and Volleyball England advice for players and, if applicable, venues.
Can coaching now take place?
Yes, small group sessions of up to six people (including the coach) may take place outdoors as long as social distancing, strict hygiene and the usual health, safety and safeguarding measures are followed.
In addition to the usual preparations, what should coaches be thinking about ahead of, during and after sessions?
- Please ensure you conduct a thorough risk assessment prior to organising any volleyball activity.
- It is important that social distancing is maintained at all times, which will limit the types of drills and exercises a coach will be able to organise. For example, pepper drills can take place, but scramble drills cannot.
- If you are planning on coaching children, only do so if you are confident that social distancing within a small group can be kept.
- You may also want to remind participants to pay careful attention to your instructions ahead of and during training to ensure social distancing is kept.
- Make sure to clean your hands and any shared equipment after use.
- Volleyball England-registered coaches must follow government and Volleyball England guidance to remain covered by their insurance.
[UPDATED] A risk assessment should, as a minimum, follow these steps:
- Identify the hazards to which all people taking part or connected to the activity may be exposed (a few examples are listed on the example template below. Please use this as a guide, rather than as a complete risk assessment for you, as factors such as location, venue, weather, or even the age of the participants may require further detail).
- Evaluate the risks, score and decide whether the existing control measures are adequate.
- Consider any additional control measures to reduce the residual risk.
- Record the findings on a risk assessment template and implement any preventative or protective measures.
- Review and evaluate the effectiveness of the control measures and additional measures on a regular basis.
Risk assessments should be completed by a competent person. Please see www.hse.gov.uk/risk for detailed information about risk assessment.
Can coaches meet with separate groups of players in a day?
Yes, if each group is of no more than six people from different households, that social distancing is adhered to and that the session takes place outdoors. If you are organising back-to-back sessions, make sure there is a suitable time after each session for players to leave before more arrive.
What should I do if I have to give first aid?
St John Ambulance has compiled a guide on delivering first aid during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read it in full.
ADVICE FOR VENUES
What is Volleyball England’s advice for those planning to use outdoor facilities?
If you are visiting an outdoor facility, plan ahead to ensure it is open and appropriately prepared for visitors. The facility may have also introduced specific guidance for visitors to follow, such as online bookings or not hiring out equipment, so please check the facility's website and social media channels. Also, be aware that onsite toilet facilities may not be open. If possible, wash your hands at intervals if you touch communal surfaces and, once you’re home, remember to wash your hands.
What is the guidance for outdoor facility providers?
From 13th May, outdoor sports facilities, such as beach volleyball courts, have been allowed to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 secure guidelines.
What is the advice for indoor facilities?
Our guidance on indoor facilities has not changed. The government was clear that its new guidance only applies to outdoor sporting activities, where the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly lower. Apart from toilets and throughways, indoor facilities should be kept closed.
[UPDATED] Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has said that, subject to public health, the government's aspiration is to reopen leisure facilities mid way through July.
ADVICE FOR CLUBS
What must affiliated clubs do to ensure they are covered by their Volleyball England insurance?
Clubs must follow government and Volleyball England guidance to remain covered. For more information on the insurance cover, click here.
Our club is affiliated to Volleyball England but it is based outside of England, what advice should we follow?
Please heed the advice from your devolved administration.
How are clubs being supported during this pandemic?
We have created a page on our website in which bits of best practice and key resources for topics such as funding, health and wellbeing and communications have been pulled together. Please click here to read more. Please get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com if there is anything we can do to help.
[UPDATED] How is Volleyball England planning for the sport’s return?
At the end of May we published a document outlining when the 2020/21 indoor season could begin and, subject to government guidelines, how we are planning for the fullest possible programme.
We are also liaising with UKBT, our official beach volleyball event partner, and national team athletes as we plan the sport’s return.
In June we published our 'Return to Play Road Map' - a framework for returning to full unrestricted play for volleyball, beach volleyball and sitting volleyball.
When will volleyball in England get back to normal?
This will come down to when the government allows it. What we do know is that the road ahead is a long one, and that we must remain cautious and patient.
In the meanwhile, staying active is more important than ever, for both our physical and mental health, so please follow the guidance and seize opportunities to train and exercise where it is safe to do so.
When has Volleyball England cancelled its events up until?
[UPDATED] No camps, competitions or courses will take place before 11th July. We are awaiting further information from the government, so please check back on this date. For non-Volleyball England events, please contact the organiser for updates.
How has the UK Beach Tour been affected?
[UPDATED] As things stand, all events that were due to take place as part of this year's UK Beach Tour have been cancalled. Head to the website of UKBT, Volleyball England’s official beach tour delivery partner, for more information.
Are international athletes now able to represent England abroad?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. We are therefore not able to support athletes that wish to compete in competitions abroad, we will continue to review and monitor this guidance as the lockdown eases.
What is the best way to contact the Hub team?
[UPDATED] To help to protect the governing body and volleyball in this country, Volleyball England has furloughed some members of staff for varying periods of time through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This means that, until the end of July, Hub staff levels will be down. To help guide your query to a member of staff who will be able to help, we would please ask that, in the first instance, you contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For staff who are continuing to work, they will be doing so from home and therefore will not have access to the main office phoneline. However, call forwarding has been arranged for most extensions.
Can I still buy items from Volleyball England's online shop?
Yes, but we are unable to put a time frame on when those items will be shipped. Members of staff are working from home and do not currently have access to our storeroom. If you have made an order, rest assured it will be fulfilled once we return to the office. If you have made an order and now wish to cancel it, please contact our finance team (email@example.com) who will be able to arrange a refund for you.
What can I do to support the volleyball community?
Keeping the community active and engaged is so important during this period of downtime. If you share videos of your own creative volleyball drills or spark conversations with interesting pictures, talking points or videos with teammates or volleyball friends, it will help to bring us together during this challenging time. With some of us struggling with lockdown restrictions, a simple video call with club members could also make such a difference.
If you do share something of interest on social media, don’t forget to tag Volleyball England so we can share it with the wider community.
If you or any of your household are showing coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating or have been contacted as part of the test and trace programme, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.