If you aren’t rich, how can you afford club volleyball? After spending 15 years as a club coach and college coach, I’ve certainly found ways to save a few dollars. I’d like to be able to help as many players participate in club volleyball as possible and not let the price tag be a hindrance.
Here are some helpful tips:
Players – Clubs often pay players to:
- Work the sport-shop or snack bar
- Be a coach for a younger team or an assistant coach
- Help with tryouts
- Referee other matches throughout the week
- Some facilities are multi-use facilities, find employment in other areas
Club Directors and coaches often find a special place in their hearts for those players willing to do “whatever it takes” to play club volleyball. Those that work to earn their own money will often find generous opportunities and ways to afford club volleyball. Some clubs even offer scholarship opportunities. Inquire within.
Parents – Find ways within the club to offer your expertise:
Accountants – Do some bookkeeping for the club, especially around tax time. OR find clients within your team or club. Ask your club to offer your services to other parents.
Handyman/woman – Provide some upgrades around the club.
Technology guru – Many club websites could use updating, even update practice and tournament schedules, players rosters, etc.
Video gurus – Be the video coordinator for the club OR make recruiting videos for players to earn money through individual players.
OR be the video / camera guy at tournaments for the club. Are you the parent sitting on the end of the court filming your child’s match? Provide this service to other teams within your club for their matches when your child isn’t playing.
Numbers gurus / Statisticians – Learn how to use volleyball stat programs and be the club statistician. Take stats for your child’s match and other matches for your club throughout a weekend.
Travel expert – Be a travel coordinator for the club. Help with booking hotels, flights, transportation, etc. You could save the club a great deal of money through group rates and you could even earn free flights or hotels.
Nutritionist – Be the club nutritionist. Provide and coordinate healthy meal choices to players and parents. Offer sample travel snack options, on-the-road travel options, airport options, at tournament options, and restaurant options at tournaments.
Restaurant Coordinator – Be the club coordinator of restaurants at tournaments. Instead of the team figuring out at the last minute, “Where should we go for dinner after the match?” have a schedule of food options set throughout a weekend. This will help to make healthy choices and eliminate the long wait for a group at a restaurant (restaurants will appreciate the advanced group notice too and often give a free meal to the coordinator if you ask 😉
Strength & Conditioning – Your club may not have a workout facility connected to it, but if you have an expertise in exercise/strength training, you could provide a program for the club.
Yoga – More and more teams are offering yoga.
*** Personal Trainers, Yoga instructors, etc. – you may be able to offer your services to parents outside of club OR even while on the road during a tournament weekend.
Salesperson – No club will turn away advertising dollars from sponsors. Find sponsors for your club. Earn a commission for each sponsor.
Networkers – No club will ever turn away a good fundraiser. If you are able to coordinate and network for teams and the club, you could probably pay your dues and then some with a percentage of what is raised.
Fashion Divas – Maybe your club can use your expertise to coordinate uniforms, travel gear, bags, etc. for the club.
Organizers – Clubs that do their own tournaments are often looking for helpers to organize, site directors (for multiple locations), manage teams and referees at the events etc.
The bottom line is to ask your club the services they need or find a service they need and offer your time.
Beyond what you can provide to your club, here are other ways to help you save money:
Stay at one hotel chain throughout the season and become a member of their rewards program. After multiple stays, you will earn free nights.
Find a hotel chain that offers a free breakfast.
Get a credit card with the hotel chain you chose. That credit card will earn you additional points for every purchase you make and you will accumulate points faster. Thus earning more free nights.
*** In addition, as you earn ‘status’ at these hotel chains, the perks can include free breakfasts, free coffee, free newspapers, free wi-fi.
Be willing to stay a further distance from the facility to save money on the hotel. Rates are often in the $150+ for the convenience to stay near the playing site. Staying 15 – 20 minutes away can easily reduce this cost by half.
Travel on the same airline (should your club fly often) and also get the airline credit card too.
Pack one carry-on bag for your trip. This could be a tough one, but it will save you the extra baggage fee.
Purchase train / metro / subway tickets prior to your arrival. You will save time and money.
Purchase spectator tickets prior to your arrival. Again, you will save time and money.
Parking – Do you need to park at the closest lot to the convention center? In some cities, you can park on the streets on the weekends while the Convention Center charges foolish parkers.
Park in the economy lot at airports (and find the rewards programs for 3rd party company lots). Better yet, carpool to the airport. Best yet, get a ride to the airport and don’t pay for parking!
Carpool everywhere – It will save money for parking, gas, vehicle maintenance, etc. Especially for long trips. Amazingly it will help team bonding too.
Take public transportation instead of driving.
Find rewards programs for restaurants – again if you are the restaurant coordinator, you can earn a great deal of points for everyone’s meal and get free meals.
Pack your own food – the more often you can avoid convention center food and restaurants, the more money you will save and likely eat a healthier meal. It takes planning and coordination. It’s not as fun as eating with the team. But you are able to afford to play volleyball and be with on a team.
Bring a water bottle – It appalls me to see a tournament site at the end of the day. Appalls me! Thousands of bottles of sport drinks, waters, etc., left around the benches…often times half-full. Save your money, bring a large water bottle and refill it. You don’t need those expensive sports drinks, you will bring your water bottle home, and you will save the world.
Avoid paying for coffee – Many hotels offer free coffee in the morning or even in your room. I find it comical to see a line at the coffee-shop when the coffee at the hotel is free.
Plan ahead – the sooner your make your travel arrangements (flights, hotel, etc.) the more money you will save.
In the end, what lessons are you teaching your child when you give them everything to participate in club volleyball versus having to work for their club volleyball opportunity?