With thousands of tournaments to choose from, tournament selection is critical for exposure for club volleyball athletes focused on competing at the collegiate level. But how do coaches decide which tournaments to sign up for? We sat down with our in-house volleyball consultant, Gabby Fresh, to learn more about her tournament selection process as a club coach.

How many tournaments do you select in a season?

GF: We schedule about 8 – 12 per season and try to balance travel distance and competition level depending on the team.

How does age range influence your tournament selection?

GF: Tournament selection is heavily influenced by skill level, and each team’s season goals. When athletes are in the 13-15 age range, we want to make sure they are developing their skills and love the sport. For this group, we select tournaments based on location and team bonding activities we can organize outside of the tournament. 

For the 16+ range, we focus on competition and qualifiers. This is the time to get my girls in front of college scouts and in qualifying tournaments. We still want to keep things fun, so we’ll balance a bit of both, but we focus on a more competitive end goal for the older girls as well as providing them with exposure to recruiters.

Why is it important for coaches and clubs to include a travel agenda ahead of time?

GF: Most tournaments partner with a hotel in the area and provide team discounts for blocked rooms. Some clubs send an event itinerary with:

  • Team Flight Information
  • Transportation
  • Hotel Room Blocks
  • Practice Times
  • Mealtimes
  • Team Bonding Activity Options
  • Tournament Game Times

Players’ flights are typically included in their club payments; however, family travel costs are not included. Providing a travel agenda allows families to budget and plan. If some families cannot afford the travel, then most coaches will choose a different tournament.