How did volleyball become your child's sport? Do you now eat, breathe and live the game? We are certainly glad you chose volleyball, and it's a great choice for your child's health and well-being. Why? Let us tell you...
This content is presented in partnership with USA Volleyball, the national governing body for the sport of volleyball including indoor, beach, sitting and snow.
As a parent, knowing the “why” is very important. A couple of years ago, my son, who is playing professional volleyball overseas, did an interview for a volleyball website. He was asked if he had been pressured into the sport.
No, he said, as he played 10 sports growing up. He was captain of his high school lacrosse and tennis teams. He just loves the joy he gets from playing volleyball. He was also asked if he got to the U.S. National Team level because his dad has worked for USA Volleyball for more than 30 years. Again, no. The U.S. Men’s Team AND any European pro league is clearly a meritocracy. You get your slot based on performance.
His interview had me wondering how he ended up loving the game. Also, what should parents know about volleyball so that they give it a chance to be THEIR sport. For example, do parents know how safe volleyball is compared to other sports? I have searched more than 100 years of data and I have not found a report of a child, or a player of any age, dying simply due to the actions in volleyball.
According to 2008-2013 data, volleyball is one of the three safest NCAA “Top 25” sports – only swimming/diving and women’s indoor cross country are safer (note the black triangle of “rate ratio of injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures).
Similarly, the most recent high school data (2016) for the National High School Federation’s (NFHS) top 10 sports shows volleyball ranked at the bottom of the rate of injuries (1.19 per 1,000 athlete exposures) with only baseball being safer.
But that is not why I am glad Cody, and his sister McKenzie who also played 10 sports growing up, played volleyball to the college level.
Safety is important so please know about the organization STOP Sports Injuries, which was initiated by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine. USA Volleyball has been a collaborator since its inception, and the site has some great resources.
We love to see multi-sport athletes including volleyball as an option, but not specializing. Research shows that injury rates are higher for kids who focus on one sport. Give other sports a go when kids are young, all the way to about their sophomore year in high school. Then if your child WANTS to, go ahead and specialize.
The NFHS and the University of Wisconsin studied single and multi-sport athletes at 29 high schools in 2015-2016. The multi-sport athletes were HALF as likely to suffer a lower extremity injury. More facts and figures can be found here.