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USA Volleyball


SafeSport Information for Parents

Welcome to USA Volleyball's parenting resource section. With our Regional Volleyball Association (RVA) and Affiliated Organization partners, there are many links and documents to help you be the best parent you can be in and out of the gym.

Readings, Video Links and Books

Growing the Game Together – Player and Parent Edition – As our first “Holiday Gift” to USAV players and parents, this special FREE PDF download of the new book compilation featuring posts from the Grow the Game Together blog. This book is subtitled  “Insights and Thoughts on the Science, Facts, and Principles of Sport and Volleyball,” and is available for download now

Why USA Volleyball - Did you know? A great parent document about USAV and your region.

Becoming a Collegiate Athlete (coming soon)

Check out the large amount of collegiate info coming soon to the Grassroots section of our website. Links to all key answers to questions about eligibility, recruiting, or playing at the collegiate level are found there.

Courtesy of the Northern California Regional Volleyball Association

Bill of Rights for Parents when joining a club:

I have the right to:

  • be treated with dignity and respect
  • share in the leadership and decision making of your athlete
  • approach the leadership of the club organization with which you are involved
  • cheer for your child in a positive manner
  • verify your coaches/team qualifications
  • ask questions and receive answers
  • ensure that the adults involved with your child are positive role models
  • talk to parents, other players and/or other clubs
  • have your child tryout without discrimination
  • request a clear disclosure of financial obligations
  • have a written clubs statement of philosophy
  • be informed about your child's role on the team
  • have your child tryout out for more than one club and be allowed time to make a decision as specified by the tryout policy
  • the knowledge of the time, travel and financial commitment of your involvement with the club/team.
  • knowledge of how many spots are available before tryouts begin
  • remove your child from an event/practice if you feel it is unsafe for your child to continue without repercussions
  • know that all club affiliated staff are members of the NCVA and background checked.
  • ask your club director if they adhere to all State and Federal business requirements and laws
P is for praising, which your child needs often.
A is for accepting, so hard edges will soften.
R is for recognizing your child's many talents.
E is for encouraging a good healthy balance.
N is for nurturing, to help your child grow.
T is for teaching, then letting go.
S is for smiling at the growth and the glow.

Gifts for a Volleyball Player: Addresses the things a parent can get for their athlete in order to help the player be the best player they can become.

Top 12 Volleyball Drills for Parents: A USA-CAP III article on the 12 "drills" a parent can do to be a better volleyball sports parent.

So You Want to be a Better Spectator: A single page reminder used annually in the USAV Junior Olympic Volleyball program about how to be a better fan.

The Agony of the Parent: As I watch parents and coaches agonizing over defeat, and in the rapture of victory, I think two key things are missing.

  1. The parents need help in enjoying all matches, losses as well as victories. 
  2. We are good at the lessons of winning, but we simply do not teach enough how to gain/learn from losing.
The fact that so many seem to forget, but an essential, key fact that is true in the hundreds of thousands of volleyball matches played world wide each simple. Half the teams playing.....LOSE! For those wanting percentages, all matches result in 50 percent of the teams in each contest ending up as the loser. Every day, for over 100 years, this has been happening...

Choosing a Summer Volleyball Camp: A camp appraisal check list, and things you should know in selecting the best summer camp fit for your son or daughter. 

What Families Need to Know about the Olympics/Paralympics: The primer for family members who have an Olympian/Paralympian headed to the games.

Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships: Bill Pennington of the New York Times writes a length report on sports scholarships in general.

An Introduction to Opportunity Expanding Sports: Dave Epperson, Volleyball Festival Founder, writes about this perspective which has been constructed to promote the development of parent abilities to contribute to the creation of contentious-free and opportunity expanding team communities that are safe, sane, less stressful and more inclusive.

The Magic Hockey Helmet and More - A great video on parent spectating observations from a 9 year old hockey player from Canada, a must see, linked in a recent USA Volleyball blog posting.

Vision of a Champion - By Anson Dorrance - When volleyball parents ask what are good books to get for their players to read, even together, this tops the list specific to being a team player. It is about being a great soccer teammate, but the parallels are still the same. Example from the book that came from Anson heading home after work one evening and seeing Mia Hamm training all by herself. He then wrote her the following note and gave it to her at practice the next day "The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, and the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching."

A Man's Search for Meaning - by Viktor Frankel - When former players graduate, this is my first choice to give them, with a note of our shared history and hopes for their future added. Example quote from the book - "We who live in concentration camps can remember the men who walked throughout the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." 

A Nation of Wimps - explores the growing evidence that child rearing in America has taken a bewildering turn.

Parent Code of Conduct

As a Parent, I will:

  • remain in the spectator areas during all games.
  • not advise the coach on how to coach, who to put in the game and/or who to take out of the game.
  • respect the integrity of the officials and not advise them how to call the match.
  • model sportsmanship for my child by treating all coaches, officials, tournament directors and players of either team with courtesy and respect.
  • encourage hard work and honest effort that will lead to improved performance and participation.
  • emphasize the cooperative nature of the sport.
  • not coach my child during the game.
  • encourage athletes to participate in volleyball drug, tobacco and alcohol free.
  • attend all volleyball events alcohol and drug free
  • cheer for my child's team.
  • encourage my child to participate for enjoyment as well as competition. 
  • applaud good and fair play during matches.
  • be in control of my emotions.
  • learn the rules of the game to help me better understand what is happening on the court.
  • Understand that physical or verbal intimidation of any individual is unacceptable behavior 
  • be supportive of all attempts to remove verbal or physical abuse from organized volleyball activities, including language.
  • Understand that conduct that is inappropriate as determined by comparison to normally accepted behavior is unacceptable.
  • protect the ability to continue using the facility by following all the rules of the facility, such as NO FOOD, DRINK OR COOLERS IN THE GYM, smoking in designated areas only, throwing all trash in an appropriate receptacle, etc. 
  • protect athletes from sanctions and/or suspension by producing accurate documentation
  • honor financial commitments.
With thanks to the Arizona USAV RVA office.

Partners in Sports Parenting

Positive Coach Alliance - The PCA is an organization based in Palo Alto, Calif. Dedicated to enhancing the sports experience for coaches, players and parents alike. Founder Jim Thompson has several books out for coaches and a great one also for parents called Positive Sports Parenting: How "Second-Goal" Parents Raise Winners in Life Through Sports. USA Volleyball partners with PCA for "National Conversations on Good Coaching" - see this blog link for more about this connection .

PCA's "Double Goal" Coaching, "Second Goal" Parents, and "Triple Impact" Competitor programs can be found on their web site

Specific PCA Parenting material worth looking at:

Guidelines for a Coach-Parent Partnership - Check out these PCA tips on how you can best support and work with your child's coach(es).

Empowering Conversations - Get ideas about how to talk with your child about his or her sports experience (even after a tough loss).

Sports Parent Guidelines for Honoring the Game - Gain insight into how you, as a parent, can contribute to an "Honor the Game" culture.

The Positive Coach's Bookshelf - Check out these great books on positive coaching and related books by members of the PCA National Advisory Board.

Promise of Good Sports - PGS was founded by Dave Epperson, who with his wife Bernice, started the wonderful Volleyball Festival tournament over 25 years ago. Along with former Stanford basketball teammate Dr. George Selleck, this leadership development organization has many great articles to help guide programs and parents about the promise to be found in good sports.

Their top four parenting books are:

From the Bleachers With Love: Advice to Parents With Kids in Sports by David Canning Epperson, Ph.D. and George A. Selleck, Ph.D., Alliance Publications, 1999

This book helps parents take advantage of sports' full range of possibilities for teaching life's lessons and strengthening the family and community. Beginning with the six keys to positive sports parenting, Drs. Epperson and Selleck guide parents through 52 priniciples designed to help parents deal with some of the challenges and problems that arise when their children become involved in sports.

The goal of the book is to encourage dialogue between parents, children, and other members of the sports community, as they work together to create a more positive and uplifting sports environment.

Beyond the Bleachers: The Art of Parenting Today's Athletes By David Canning Epperson, Ph.D. and George A. Sellectk, Ph.D., Alliance Publications, 1999

Designed as either a stand-alone book or as a companion to From the Bleachers With Love. Beyond the Bleachers offers case studies, activities and exercises that help parents and children work together to implement the principles of positive sports parenting in their lives. John Wooden, UCLA's legendary coach, calls Beyond the Bleachers "the definitive 'play book' for sports parents."

Playing the Game of Life, By George A. Selleck, Ph.D., Diamond Communications, 1996

Through personal anecdotes, interviews with sports figures, and insightful application of psychology, philosophy, and life experience, Dr. Selleck examines both the special world athletes inhabit and the role that world plays in shaping their lives. Selleck explores the values sports can teach and shows what those involved with athletes - parents, coaches, sports administrators - can and should do to ensure that athletes walk off the field with more than just a knowledge of how to play a game.

A Woman's Touch: What Today's Women Can Teach Us About Sport and Life by David Canning Epperson, Ph.D., Diamond Communications, 1999 

In his book, A Woman's Touch, Dr. Epperson uses anecdote, evidence and testimony to bring to light the beginning of a new era in athletics, a melding of male and female perspectives that will guide sports policies and practices into the 21st century. Whether you belong to the Culture of Conquest, the Culture of Care, or fall somewhere in between, this is one book no one involved in the sports experience - and no student of sociology or women's studies - can afford to miss.

Publications can be ordered by fax, phone, or email from:

Parents for Good Sports
19855 Southwest Freeway, Suite 200
Sugar Land, TX 77479
Phone 281-207-1070
Fax 281-207-1071

Character Counts - The Josephson Institute focuses on player and parenting leadership and ethical development, primarily through sport. Their many great materials can be found on their website.

Parents Association for Youth Sports - PAYS is a branch of the National Alliance for Youth Sports and the National Youth Sports Coaches Association - NYSCA has an extensive parenting program on their website.

Youth Enrichment through Sports - This Mastery Approach to Parent Education in Sports, a researched based self instruction program on a DVD. The primary focus is on encouraging parents to provide a mastery motivational climate that emphasizes a definition of success as self-improvement, giving maximum effort, and enjoying the activity for its own sake instead of defining success as winning and besting others.

Successful Sports Parenting - US Skiing and USA Swimming have a CD-ROM called Successful Sports Parenting which provides information and tools that parents can use to work together with coaches and administrators to support the development and success of young athletes from the novice to elite levels.