You are here:

Volleyball/Coaching/team selection


I coach at a small school (200 kids in grades 9-12).  Next fall will be my 7th season.  Our team has been blessed with success the last few year--including 3 straight state tournament appearances and we are the defending state champs.
I am in the process of working on our offseason handbook, which will include our tryout information.  In our state we are allowed to carry 15 varsity players (as is basketball).  Both our girls and boys basketball teams always give out 15 varsity jerseys.  I typically give out 10-12 (have between 25-30 tryout each year)--place approx 8-10 on the JV and the same on our C-team.
My issue is that we often have girls not come out the next fall--after their winter basketball season (if they made th varsity in basketball but not volleyball).  This has even been brought up to me by my AD (who just so happens to be the girls basketball coach).
I have always felt that a varsity jersey should be be placed on the varsity, we, as coaches, believe you are able and ready to compete as the highest varsity level, if we place you into the match.  If you quit because you do not have a varsity jersey, then you have made this about your own personal wants, and not about our TEAM.
I should probably mention that these girls that quit are usually players I would consider in my top 15.
Please give me your opinion on this matter.  Am I picking a battle that doesn't need to be waged?

Thank you!

Good evening Jake:
It's about 1am out here on the East Coast, and I've just laid down to read and fall asleep.  
I will get to your question tomorrow.   However, I have a few questions for you.
a) How many of your girls play club vball?
b) You AD -- the bball coach -- wants more bball players to play vball?  That's a unique attitude, and he/she is to be commended. At most schools, it's "I want mine, and I don't want to share mine."  
c) what is C-team?  Middle school?  
d) what is the lowest grade a girl can be and make varsity? (In Virginia, public it's 9th. Private: depends on the conference).  What is the lowest grade they can be and make JV?  (In Va, public it's 8th, private it depends on conference).  
e) Are you a private school?  Regardless, how many teams are in your classification?  In other words, how many schools are there that are vying for the state championship in your classification?  I may still not be clear.  Here in Virginia, if you want to win a public school AA state championship, you must win a tournament with 130 schools in it. It's incredibly hard.  
f) Does your school have any guidelines as to playing athletics?  Is there a "black-and-white" policy that reads jerseys must be earned, or "participating in athletics is key to a child's development!"  If you read "key" in the your school's philosophy, then you may have a problem.

OK, I'm off.  
Hope to chat with you tomorrow.
You can also email me anytime at my personal email address:
My staff and I spend our entire summer directing volleyball camps. 11 last summer, 8 already scheduled for this summer.  You can see all the info at  I think you'll love the smiling faces.  :)  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.