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Volleyball/I have big big big vball dreams!


Dear Tom,
I am extremely into volleyball. I am 12 years old and 5'5". I want to achieve my dream of going to Stanford, Penn State, or UCLA. I am currently an outside hitter. The only problem is, I can't jump high enough. I am known for my very powerful spikes, serves, and drives. I also want to go to the olympics when I'm older. Any tips? Thank you so much for taking your time to answer.(if mile time is a factor mine's 6:30)

Hello Molly!   

Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to!   I have been to Wisconsin several times.  I went to a coaching clinic in Waukesha, been to Milwaukee, and spent a night in Wisconsin Dells.  Incredible state you live in!  

Last year a mom of a girl who was taking lessons from me told her daughter:  "Have you told Coach Houser your long term goal?"  The girl said, "I want to be in the Olympics!"  I LOVE it when the athletes I work with have such incredible goals.   

This is what I recommend you do for the next 3 or 4 years:

     Part I:  Play the highest level club vball you can. Year after year, try to make the top vball team in your club.  Hope that team is attending Qualifiers, maybe Jr. Nationals, maybe AAU Nationals.  If you're doing that, then all is good!  

     Part II: Attend camps that will challenge you.  No, don't attend camp a just b/c a friend is going to.  Don't attend a camp that your sister went to.  Your parents have a job to do:  find those camps.  The price can't matter.  If you're doing that, then all is good.  (Before I go on, if your school coach wants you to attend a camp with all your teammates, then I recommend you do that.)  

     Part III:  At every tryout, try to make a team that's full of girls who are older than you are.  If that means you don't play as much, that's fine.  But if you're really good, you'll earn playing time regardless of how old your teammates are.   

     Part IV:  Each month for the next 4 years, research one college.  Sure, you may indeed attend Penn State, UCLA, Nebraska, Texas, etc.  But there are approximately 360 schools in the USA that are in the same classification!  And, yes, I guarantee that both women & men make every Olympic vball team who didn't attend one of the colleges you have listed.    

     Part V:  If you do indeed succeed at #I, #II, and #III above, try your best to employ a personal trainer.  Maybe you can find someone at a place like Gold's Gym.  Professionals will know best how to help you increase your strength, your stamina, your leap, etc.        

     Part VI:  About once a year until you graduate from high school, make sure you attend a USAV High Performance camp.   These are held the day before nearly every National Qualifier begins.  THIS is where the coaches often find players for future USA Volleyball Olympic teams.   

Ok, that's about it.   

Now, I would like you to do me a favor!  :)   Please visit me at  I think you'll really enjoy the smiling faces.  And please visit me often in the next few months....a STAR camp may be coming to Wisconsin this summer!   :)   

Coach Houser


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Tom Houser


I can answer any type of volleyball question: middle school, high school, college, club, coaching, playing, etc. (I am not, however, a athletic trainer! If you have a knee, ankle, back, etc. question, I'm sorry, but please search for another expert.)

I will almost always answer your question within 24 hours.

You may also email me anytime at! I'd enjoy hearing from you!

TEENAGERS: Please check your email tomorrow. I will probably have answered your question by then. :)

In the past 10 years, vball has taken my to San Francisco, Miami, Alaska, Pennsylvania, both Carolinas, and Salt Lake City. We can't wait to come visit you!

Then, one last favor: please grade my answer!


32 years coaching varsity, JV, club.

You can see all about me at There are also free downloads for coaches & parents, and lots of smiling faces for you volleyball players!

BS degree from Va Tech in Math Education. MS degree from Va Tech in Secondary Administration. In the fall, I'll be starting my 31st year teaching high school math!

The Picture!
The picture that you see is the 2015 15's team that I'm fortunate to be a part of. We will participate in 10 tournaments: Monument (Richmond) in January, Capitol Hill (Wash DC) in February, Shamrock (Roanoke, Va) in March and both BigSouth (Atlanta) and Northeast Qualifiers (Philadelphia) in April. My teams have qualified for Junior Nationals in '06, '09 and '12. We can't wait for this season to begin!

Awards and Honors
You can see this by visiting me at , then touch the "Coach Houser" link in the top right-hand corner.

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