Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Is It Time to Expand?

By Rick Butler, Club Director, Sports Performance Volleyball Club

The Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora, Illinois home to the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, the Great Lakes Power League and several other junior tournaments has added four additional courts and is now a full service 12 court volleyball only facility.  The expansion was a 4 month project that took place over the summer and was completed in October just in time for Fall/Winter programming.  

The need for additional courts came about primarily for two reasons.  The first was that the Great Lakes Center is host to many events and the amount of money and hours that was being spent on outside court rental and running offsite venues had gotten extremely costly.  Now the Great Lakes Center can host 96 teams on site per day (am & pm waves) and while the strain to have to manage off site facilities will not be completely eliminated, for now it will be much more manageable.  The second reason for the expansion was that the Sports Performance program is going to restructure their youth development program (7th grade and under) to move away from the traditional club model to an Academy model where players will have multiple training options.  

The primary focus of the Academy will be physical and technical development with competition  being a secondary element and all travel will be eliminated except for the most elite players who have long term experience.  This model will be much more cost effective in a sport that is out of control in regards to what youth and junior players are currently paying in travel fees.  It will  also allow young athletes to start playing volleyball at a much younger age while they are still involved in multiple activities and have limited time to focus on any single sport.  

Added along with the four additional courts is a 1,300 square foot parent / player lounge where parents watch their kids during training and teams can rest and relax during tournaments. The youth training center uses balloons, light balls (smaller balls bought in Japan), blow up beach balls, hula hoops and cones for agility and coordination training.  There are also several boxes that are made by SPVB staff and are basic coaches boxes.  The facility uses the Schelde net system that goes all the way down to the floor.

The expansion of the Great Lakes Center also included a new 300 car parking lot that is across the street which brings the current parking to 500 lot spaces plus parking on the street.  The Great Lakes Center now has a full service retail store and concession area, 12 courts that all have a rubber padded wooden sub-floor under the sport court playing and two restrooms each for both Women (23 stalls-8 sinks) and Men (8 stalls-8 urinals-5 sinks)

The center is not even 2 months old, but the hope if for the club to see a very large increase in overall participation among the K-7th grade age groups, especially now that the variety of youth programs allow players to receive volleyball training while also being able to participate in other sports and extra-curricular activities.


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  2. Love this! I totally agree with this approach! We desperately have a need for a facility like this in our area. We belong to a home school competitive volleyball team, and a club team, currently practicing in schools, & church buildings. There is a church building for sale along the freeway, & thought about getting investors to start. I would love to gut the facility (haven't seen the inside, but it's brand new warehouse looking), & make it into a volleyball facility. Do you have any suggestions, ideas, thoughts? Thanks for this blog! PS - I also wanted to combine basketball/volleyball since they could use the same type of flooring. :)

  3. Scott and Stacy, Hopefully you've gotten some ideas for your facility from the various posts on this blog. We are happy to help you. Sounds like a great opportunity you have there. We will have a webinar on building/starting a volleyball facility on March 5th. It will be free to JVA members and only $9.99 to non-members. We also include education to JVA members through our member newsletter and member education on our website. Email members@jvavolleyball.org if you want to register for the March 5th webinar, you have questions about a membership or if you'd like to join the JVA.

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  5. Briana,
    We have been operating a vball club which consists of 14 girls teams and 6 boys teams. We spend so much on rental fees as we do not have our own facility. Practice times are limited and we tend to lose our better players to bigger clubs. We are in the process of growing our club but also leasing our own facility to control our times and options. Any advice?

    1. Danny - that's great that your club is growing and you are looking at a facility. There are many perks to having your own facility, however there are also additional responsibilities that are added to your plate. We do offer many resources for our members in our club director resource library that include budgeting and financing a facility. Many of our members have shared their knowledge and experience to build this library. Our newsletter this month should include an article from one of our members on his club's 20+ years of experience utilizing local schools rather than leasing a facility, and the benefits of this situation. If you are not yet a JVA member join our organization, we'd love to have your voice and help your club in any way we can. members@jvavolleyball.org


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