CHAVC Parent Handbook

What is CHAVC?

The Chapel Hill Area Volleyball Club is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1990. Our goals include producing athletes with excellent technical skills who are great teammates and who display the highest standard of good sportsmanship.

CHAVC offers National, Semi-National and Regional Plus teams in multiple age groups, and also development teams and summer clinics for beginners. See “Teams” on We strive to be family-friendly by accommodating multi-sport athletes as much as possible and by changing in response to player/parent feedback. Our staff of experienced, positive coaches includes 7 current and former high school coaches, 5 middle school coaches, and 13 former college players. See “Coaches” on (Not covered in this document: Volleymoms, CHAVC’s popular program and teams for women).

Parents' Role in a Successful Season

A club team is a partnership among players, coaches and parents. For a successful season, each group needs to do their jobs well. While there are many books and videos about the art of coaching, less is written about the art of being a successful club volleyball parent. This Handbook distills some lessons learned nationally and in CHAVC to help you achieve peak performance in your role. More resources for parents can be found at

In many ways, parents are the unsung heroes of club volleyball. You provide the logistical, emotional, and financial support that makes it all possible. Each CHAVC team needs the following support from team parents. In every area, you will be showing respect for the team and coaches, and modeling good habits for your student athlete:

  • ATTENDANCE and TRANSPORTATION – help your student athlete attend all possible practices and matches. Arrange for her to arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled practice time so she will be ready to play on time, and pick her up within 10 minutes after practice. If you daughter is unable to attend a practice or match, give the coach as much advance notice as possible (normally days, not hours).
    NOTE: For safety reasons, never take your child from a practice or match without making certain that the coach knows about it and sees you walk away with her.
  • ENCOURAGE HARD WORK – encourage your daughter to work hard at practices and to take the team’s time seriously. Every minute of practice time is precious!
  • BE PART OF A POSITIVE TEAM CULTURE - For the players, this means encouraging their teammates and speaking positively about them and their coaches on the court, in school, at home, and in social media. For parents, it means supporting the players, coaches, and other parents during conversations in the car and at home. Help your daughter avoid getting caught up in a spiral of negative thinking and talking about the team.
  • PROMOTE COMMUNICATION – establish early, positive contact with the coaches. Encourage your athlete to talk with the coach about her performance and to ask questions. Ask for mid-season parent/coach meetings. If there is an issue or concern, Club policy is that the first step (almost always) is for the player to talk with her coaches. The coaches will try to resolve the situation or will explain what needs to happen and why. The next step, if needed, is for player and parent to meet with the coaches. If that doesn’t provide a satisfactory resolution, contact CHAVC’s Director ( Of course if there is ever a safety or health concern, contact the coaches right away.
  • SUPPORT POSITIVE COACHING. Positive coaches work hard to win matches, but have another, even more important goal: to use the sports experience to help athletes learn life lessons and develop character traits that will help them be successful throughout their lives. Positive coaches oppose a win-at-all-cost mentality.
    Parents can support positive coaching by helping promote three principles which have the power to transform youth sports:

    1. Redefine “winner” − Winners are athletes who give maximum effort, continue to learn and improve, and refuse to let mistakes - or fear of making mistakes - stop them. Parents can build this attitude by:

    • Telling your athlete that it’s OK to make mistakes.
    • Letting her know you appreciate it when she tries hard even when unsuccessful
    • Asking rather than telling. Give her openings to talk about her play rather than telling her what you think about it. Ask open-ended questions (e.g., “What was the best part of the game for you?”)
    • Encouraging her to have a brief ritual for learning from mistakes then flushing them away.
    • Recognizing that mastering volleyball is hard work and is technical. Let the coaches criticize your child’s play.

    2. Fill the emotional tank − Athletes have emotional tanks that need to be filled. Research shows that athletes do their best when they receive a Magic Ratio of 5:1 praise to criticism. Help achieve this Magic Ratio by:

    • Encouraging her regardless of what happens in the game.
    • Trying not to give a lot of advice. After a tough game, advice can seem like criticism, which drains a person’s emotional tank. Offer encouragement for the next match. After tough losses, it can help to acknowledge her feelings of disappointment.
    • Using the “3-Pluses-and-a-Wish” technique. Before giving advice, find three good things about your athlete’s performance. Phrase the advice as a wish. If you can’t come up with three positives, don’t say the wish!

    3. Honor the game - Let your athlete know that you want her to honor the game by respecting the ROOTS of positive play:

    • Rules− We don’t bend the rules to win.
    • Opponents− A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
    • Officials− We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
    • Teammates− We never do anything that would embarrass our team on or off the field.
    • Self − We live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.
      Discuss the meaning of each element of ROOTS, especially with younger athletes.
      Be a good role model for honoring the game. When you attend matches, cheer both teams when exceptional plays are made. If an official makes a mistake, be silent! Use this as an opportunity to think about how difficult it is to officiate a game perfectly.
      Encourage other parents and your guests to honor the game.
Communicating with Coaches

If there is something specific that you want to talk about, it’s a good idea to make an appointment. Head coaches have their own preferences, but often the best times to talk are well before practice, after practice, or by phone or over coffee. Don’t expect a coach to hold a conversation within 15 minutes before or after a practice, or at any time on tournament day. Coaches have responsibilities during those times that you might not be aware of.

Appropriate Topics of Conversation between Parents and Coaches

  • Your child’s health and well-being – Let us know if you have any health or learning concerns about your student athlete, e.g., a stress that might be affecting her performance; an injury or health condition; any history of concussions.
  • Your positive experiences with the club/team/coaches – We are always happy to have our emotional tanks filled!
  • Fun information about your athlete – We care about your kids, too. We want to get to know them on and off the court. Feel free to get to know us.
  • Your willingness to help out – If you are interested in being the Team Manager, coordinating food or transportation, taking video, or providing some other service for the team or the Club, please speak up! Each team also has a designated Chaperone.
  • Your constructive criticism – CHAVC provides formal opportunities for evaluations through player/parent surveys at mid-season and end-of-season. You can also offer ad hoc suggestions for improving the club, the team, or our coaching, by writing to your head coach and/or If you have a complaint or issue about the team or the coaching, discuss them with your daughter first. She might disagree or have some information that may clarify the situation that concerns you. After that, follow the grievance procedure outlined in Section 2 under “PROMOTE COMMUNICATION.” We all have the same goal—a successful CHAVC experience.
  • If something serious is wrong – Please tell us IMMEDIATELY. Your child’s well-being is our No. 1 concern. If there is anything going on to threaten that, we need to know.

Inappropriate Topics of Conversation between Parents and Coaches

  • Playing time/role on the team – If your daughter is receiving playing time consistent with CHAVC norms (i.e., some playing time in each match, not equal playing time), and she hasn’t discussed her playing time or her role on the team with the coach, it is inappropriate for you to do so. Encourage your daughter to talk with her coach about what she can do to help the team and to earn more court time, or encourage her to ask the coach to more clearly define her role on the team. If there are still concerns, a conversation with the coach, parent, and player may be appropriate. Request a meeting with the coach. The coach must be told the topic beforehand, and the player must be present at the meeting unless there is a very good reason for her not to be. If this meeting is not productive, only at that time is it appropriate for the Club Director to attend a meeting with parent, coach, and player.
  • Coaching strategy—In general, player rotations, coaching tactics, match strategies, etc. are the coach’s decision and parents’ opinions on these subjects will not be discussed. We understand that everyone will not always like the decisions we make; however, for the good of the team we ask that you accept them.
  • Other people’s children — Your opinion of another player’s attitude, skill, performance, or conduct is typically not an appropriate topic of conversation with the coach. That is not to say that parents can never bring concerns about other players to the coaches. Please do let us know when you have a genuine concern about team dynamics — e.g., your daughter and another player are not speaking, and you think it important for the coach to know; or if there is a health or safety concern. Please use your best judgment here.
Sportsmanship at Matches

If you haven’t been to a club volleyball tournament, you are in for quite an experience. They are exciting and fun for players, parents, and coaches. Tournaments also present some challenges. Experienced volleyball parents and coaches know how difficult it can be to remain cool and calm when they disagree with judgment calls during tight matches, or when they detect possible scorekeeping errors. It’s a true test of self-control.

All fans are bound by a code of conduct at volleyball matches. The range of acceptable fan behavior is more restrictive in juniors volleyball than in most sports because:

  • Student athletes are part of the work teams in USAV-sanctioned matches. They should not be subjected to any type of verbal criticism from fans. Officiating and scorekeeping are challenging tasks. Note the complexity of the USAV score-sheet for ages 12U through adults—see the “Two Sets on One Page” score-sheet on the next page and at
  • Volleyball referees (adult or junior) must remain stationary and cannot move away from taunting fans.

A team can be penalized for misbehavior by a fan, and the fan can be ejected. This happens every season in North Carolina. Depending on the severity of the infraction, the Carolina Region/USAV can extend that sanction for the remainder of the season or longer. CHAVC fans have a good reputation around the state. No CHAVC parent has ever been ejected, but a few incidents over the years have resulted in warnings. Let’s keep the Club’s reputation intact and avoid embarrassing our players.
Examples of behavior that can result in fans or their teams being sanctioned:
a) Making inappropriate comments to officials (adult or junior) over faults called or not called.
b) Making inappropriate comments to line judges about calls made.
c) Making inappropriate remarks to participants on the court.
d) Approaching the scorer’s table or referee stand during play to complain about what is shown on the scoreboard or faults called or not called.
e) Expressing extensive disagreements with Tournament Directors or Officials concerning tournament procedures, formats, playoff seeding, or any tournament matter. Ideally, only the Head Coach should approach the Tournament Director to discuss tournament administration matters during an event.

From the Carolina Region USAV website:

CHAVC further asks fans to refrain from yelling instructions to our players or talking to workers from other teams. Do say “good job” after a match if you are so inclined. Please, no flash photos during matches.

Tournament days are exciting but long. Make the commitment for your student athlete to stay with her team all day. If you leave with her without notifying the coach in advance and obtaining her/his permission, CHAVC will place the athlete on suspension pending evaluation by the Club Director. (Unexpected departures have happened, putting those teams in difficult situations. Otherwise we wouldn’t mention it).

So You Want to be a Better Spectator?
John Kessel, USA Volleyball Director of Sport Development
Far more than the winning and losing are the lessons learned in the process of tournament play. To quote Socrates, “I believe that we cannot live better than in seeking to become still better than we are.” The sport of volleyball is unique in its core cooperative nature and its strength in building character. The ability to cooperate is far more important to human survival than the ability to compete. Success is a journey, not a destination. “Winning and losing are temporary, but friendships last forever” is a Chinese proverb of great truth. We ask that your role from the sidelines and stands match that which we are developing through our coaching education programs and training. Thanks for working as part of this Junior Olympic Volleyball program by conducting yourself within these guidelines.

Rule Number 1. Keep positive support, encouragement, cheerleading and general hollering and yelling to a maximum on the sidelines.
When players are working hard, they need and deserve everyone’s best positive encouragement and support. They need to know you are there. Most teams have a tough enough time developing a sense of teamwork and achievement as they are also developing their own individual experience and skill. They do not need to hear your anxiety piled on top of their own when the game is going poorly.

Rule Number 2. Just one word on criticizing players, coaches or referees: DON’T.
Publicly criticizing players on your team can really hurt morale. They will already have an excellent idea, from all the practicing they have already done, as to their errors. They do not need reminders from their families, friends and other spectators. The players for the other team are also doing their best and are probably no more aggressive than the players on your team. Criticism is simply poor sportsmanship and leads to unnecessarily bad feelings on and off the playing area. The spectacle of an adult shouting insults at a child or another adult is disgusting. Volleyball is a game, not a war.
When the opponents make a great play, give them positive encouragement too.

The referees are making judgment calls on each and every contact and will err at times, though usually far less than the best player on the team you are cheering for. Referees may make mistakes, but they never make a bad call in their heart. The referee might ignore you, but also has the right to ask you to leave the playing area. Either situation is at best distracting from the most important thing going on, the players’ competition.

© Copyright 2013 by USA Volleyball ver 4.01.13 our International Federation our Volleyball Zone our National Olympic Committee - Educational, non-commercial copying use permitted.

Types of Tournaments

Regional tournaments

The Carolina Region of USA Volleyball hosts one-day tournaments at different sites around the state. To decrease travel, North Carolina is divided into East and West regions. We are in the East region, which covers the eastern half of the state; the divide is near Greensboro. Some recent statewide totals: 12U age group, 66 teams; 13U, 100 teams; 14U, 140 teams.

About a week before each tournament, the Region posts the pools on its website. For an 8-team tournament, there will be two pools of 4 teams. Twelve-team tournaments are also common, with 3 pools. Each team in a pool plays the other teams once and “works” one or two matches. The work consists of scorekeeping and officiating for matches between other teams. At the end of pool play, the top two teams in each pool advance to the championship round. Usually there are semifinal and championship matches, but sometimes quarterfinals are necessary. By the end of the competition, the two finalists will have played 5 or 6 matches in one day. The structure of playoff rounds is shown at:

Warmups for the first match begin by 8:45am, so the players need to arrive at the site by about 8:15 am (or whatever the coach says). This time allows everyone the chance to prepare for pool play. The parents organize a camping area with healthy food and places for the players to relax when they are not playing or working a match. Depending on the tournament site, the camp may include a food table inside or outside the facility. The players get ready and warm up. Once play begins, the players do not have much down time. Parents might want to bring a book or something to do while their athletes are working as scorekeepers, referees, and line judges.

Pool play is usually over by 3pm. The championship round is usually over by 7pm.

The dates for your team’s Regional tournaments are posted on the CHAVC Team Sheet at Your coach will provide updates and instructions.

See also the complete Regional schedule at:

Parents are responsible for providing all transportation to/from practices and regional tournaments. The coach will prepare a contact list that can be helpful in forming carpools.

Multi-day tournaments

Most CHAVC teams also attend tournaments that last 2 or 3 days. Each day, your team will compete in either the morning wave (e.g., 9 am to 3 pm) or the afternoon wave (3 pm to 9 pm). Each team competes in a 4-team pool determined by ranking all the teams. This means that at most multi-day tournaments, each team only plays three matches per day (although sometimes a fourth match is necessary). Teams are re-ranked overnight and the playing schedule is released one day at a time. A team may change waves for the next day’s schedule. The schedule is posted on the tournament’s website by late evening, sometimes earlier. NOTE: At multi-day tournaments, the sponsors generally charge fans an admission fee.

The teams arrive at the venue about an hour before their wave begins. Most multi-day tournaments do not allow outside food to be brought into the venue. The teams play their pools on one court, like a regional tournament. The players have limited down time; parents have free time when the players are working other matches.
Most multi-day tournaments are “stay to play”, which means that the tournament requires teams to stay in hotels selected by the tournament. Each team must occupy a certain number of hotel nights to be eligible to play in the tournament. Younger (13 and under) CHAVC players stay with their parents during multi-day tournaments, while older teams stay together and a chaperone provides snacks, organizes meals, and offers other logistical support. According to USAV, stay-to-play has resulted in reduced hotel costs for volleyball teams.

Parents are not required to attend all tournaments, Regional or multi-day. Considerable cost savings can be seen by skipping one or more multi-day tournaments. CHAVC’s coaches will help arrange hotel rooms for players whose parents will not be attending a tournament. Often that involves sharing a room with another player and her mom.

Long tournament days require stamina and energy. One essential element to success is ensuring players eat healthy food throughout the tournament. Another is a good night’s sleep. Encouraging healthy habits helps the team reach its potential. Teams often eat together during the tournament to encourage team bonding.

Most of the information you’ll need regarding out-of-state tournaments will be provided by your head coach. See also the web site for each individual tournament.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am totally unfamiliar with volleyball. What do I need to know to be able to watch the matches and understand what is going on?
Here is a useful video.  A few rules mentioned in this video are being changed for 2015-17.
Here are the official Indoor Volleyball Rules – over 250 pages of them(!)

2. Besides transportation to and from practice, what else is expected of a parent?
Parents play a vital role in the club volleyball experience. In addition to logistical support for dozens of practices, parents drive to tournaments, provide healthy food, cheer and provide emotional support, among many other things. And let’s not forget paying for the season! Reading Sections 2 and 3 of this Handbook will also help answer the question “What can I do to support my player at home?”

3. What is expected of a player?
As explained above, we expect our athletes to:

  • Honor the Game by showing respect for rules, opponents, officials, team, and self (ROOTS). Exhibit behavior that reflects positively on the team, the Club, and of course the parents.
  • Be supportive and respectful of teammates and coaches. Encourage teammates on the court; speak positively about them off the court, in texting, on social media, and at home. Take care of each other.
  • Make good use of every precious minute of practice time. This means focusing and working hard during practices, listening to the coaches and trying what they ask (the first time) and coming to practice with an “I want to learn” mindset.
  • Follow any team rules set by the coaches.
  • Attend every possible practice and match

4.What are appropriate topics for talks with the coach, and when is a good time to talk? How can I resolve issues with the team or coach?

See Sections 2 and 3 of this Handbook. Parents should establish early, positive contact with the coaches. Ask for mid-season parent/coach meetings. Encourage your athlete to talk with the coach about her performance and to ask questions. Our coaches try to be alert to potential problems, but in all sports issues can arise regarding playing time, other players’attitudes, the coach's style etc. When there is an issue or concern, Club policy is that the first step (almost always) is for the player to talk with her coaches. The coaches will try to resolve the situation or will explain what needs to happen and why. The next step, if needed, is for player and parent to meet with the coaches. If that doesn’t provide a satisfactory resolution, contact CHAVC’s Director ( Of course if there is ever a safety or health concern, the parent should contact the coaches right away. Similarly, parents of a young player should go to the coach directly if the player is not able to understand or communicate the issue herself.

5. Can you tell me more about the coaches and their qualifications?
We are proud of our staff. See the Coaches tab on the Club website,

6. What about playing time in matches?
Each player in good standing will receive plenty of attention and training in CHAVC’s practices. Across the country, playing time in tournaments is probably the top issue raised by parents of junior club players. For the sake of your daughter’s team, it’s important that you accept the coach’s decisions about playing time, because the coach is in a far better position to know which combination of players has the best chance of winning a match. Any player is entitled to ask the coach what she can do to help the team and earn more playing time.
Most competitive clubs make no promises about playing time. A few players on a team might sit on the bench all day at a tournament. CHAVC has found that it’s possible to field competitive teams while still providing significant playing time in every tournament. Players in good standing receive some playing time in each match, but not equal playing time. A player in good standing is one who attends almost all practices and tournaments, works hard in practice, respects and works well with her teammates and coaches, and is up-to-date on club dues.

7. How can I find out about the specific tournaments and gear for my daughter’s team?
Check out the appropriate team sheet on under “Teams.” Note: please air-dry your jerseys . In a pinch, they can be tumble dried on low heat if carefully monitored. Dryer heat can ruin today’s high-tech jerseys!

8. What should my player have in her backpack for tournaments?
Your athlete needs to bring both of her jerseys and her black spandex shorts, shoes, socks, knee pads, ankle protection (optional) and water bottle. She will need scorekeeping supplies, including her whistle, and personal supplies like lip balm, deodorant, inhalers, other medications, etc. It’s a good idea to stick a favorite energy bar or snack in her backpack. If there won’t be a team food table, find out if the tournament venue has decent food, or pack her lunch.

9. What about shoes and ankle protection?
Volleyball shoes are the best choice, although some basketball or tennis shoes are okay too. Running shoes are not made for the sideways and jumping movements of volleyball. Volleyball shoes start at around $60. More expensive shoes may provide better support. Mizuno and Asics are well-known brands. Athletes who play volleyball for their schools and for a club should get new shoes at least once a year.
If you are a blocker, have weak ankles, or have had an injury, it’s a good idea to wear ankle protection such as the ASO (soft) or Active Ankle (semi-rigid) braces. For more information write to Limited studies have shown that ankle protection can significantly reduce serious ankle injuries in volleyball players. Most college teams wear ankle protection.

10. Why aren’t parents allowed to help on the court during practices and tournaments?
Like most clubs, CHAVC obtains insurance through USAV. That policy requires that the only adults on the court or sidelines be USAV members who are vetted and cleared as junior-team coaches or team chaperones.

Questions or comments about CHAVC or this Handbook? Please write to

Enjoy the season!