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How a youth league helped build volleyball in Loudoun County

By NVVA STAFF, 07/21/20, 10:15AM EDT

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Loudoun Youth Volleyball (LYV) was created in 1997 as a recreational volleyball league whose purpose is to teach and promote the sport of volleyball and good sportsmanship. We work to show that sports can be used to help build a healthy community, by making activities accessible for all children, regardless of where they live or their skill level. LYV provides recreational volleyball opportunities, primarily in the form of an organized league, to boys and girls in Loudoun County from grades 3-12, no matter their skill level. LYV is the largest youth volleyball league in Northern Virginia and works to provide opportunities for children to play volleyball, even those who have never played before! 

Our program proves the idea that an organization can be an integral part to county provided sports. One of our priorities is our work with the local schools, during which we give back to our community by donating equipment, and organizing LYV as revealed by NVVA President and CEO Rodrigo Gomes In a recent interview with the Aspen Institute. Besides providing young athletes with ways to play volleyball, LYV also provides many of our players with the opportunity to have their first job. Athletes ages 15 and up are able to officiate games after some program-provided training. They gain leadership and management skills each week, while still being able to participate in the sport they love!

Since LYV began, we’ve worked to share our love for volleyball with the community. Over the years our program has grown and been able to serve as the starting point for over 20,000 athletes in their volleyball careers! We have continuously refined our coaching processes in working with young athletes allowing players to not only train their skills, but to have fun while doing it. Most high school players in Loudoun County found their passion for volleyball starting with LYV Elementary and Middle School programs, many of whom have advanced to play at a collegiate level. By integrating community, club, and school sports, we’ve been able to create a program that puts less pressure on kids to win, and more emphasis on playing to find joy.

The journey starts with our one-time skills assessment at the beginning of the season, where we are able to place all of our athletes who compete in our assessment on a team. Our teams are created based primarily on skill level, and are led by a large group of volunteer coaches from the community. In addition to creating a way to play volleyball for young athletes, LYV also provides coaching opportunities and training to volunteer coaches of all levels. Besides working to build community, LYV’s goals are also to improve volleyball skills and challenge players to want to learn and grow, all while providing a fun and safe environment. It’s a rewarding experience to see an athlete progress from their first practice through the end-of-season tournament.

HEAR FROM PAST PLAYERS
 

“I had just moved to the area, and LYV was how I made my first friends in middle school. Some of us even got to keep playing together in high school and college.”

“I’d never played volleyball before, so I was really nervous at the assessment. But once practices and games started, it was so much fun. The coaches were really good about not putting pressure on us to win, just to learn volleyball.”

“My dad signed me up for LYV because my best friend was playing that year. I started in 6th grade having never touched a volleyball, but by the end of my 8th grade year my team won the end of season tournament!”

 

Looking Forward, and Staying Safe.

With the increase in staying home and the implementation of social distancing in recent months, we’ve seen many people develop a new appreciation for the physical activity that suddenly became unavailable. As we begin to emerge from this crisis, LYV is working to make sports accessible again. Over the years, LYV has dealt with and adapted to many changes. It is from this experience that we are able to evolve our program whilst still maintaining our mission to teach and promote the sport of volleyball and good sportsmanship. But our mission extends beyond simply providing ways to play volleyball. We are also committed to keeping our athletes and their families safe and healthy. 

We know the threat due to COVID is still very real, and while we are more than ready to have our athletes back on the court, we are committed to doing so in a way that preserves the game, while maintaining the safety requirements given to us. We have specialized training to educate all of our staff and coaches on the symptoms of COVID-19 and how it spreads, and have increased our cleaning and sanitizing procedures. 

Even though our regular summer training schedules are under state level restrictions, we are still able to keep our athletes active!  NVVA Camp and Clinic Registrations are now open to help get our players back into the physical activities the prepare them for the upcoming fall season! Refresh your skills with our All-Skills Camp, or prep for your school season with High School or LYV Prep Camp! Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! We've created a quick questionnaire which can be found here, to help find the best programs, camps, and clinics to fit your child.

 

Options this Fall!

 

So, during this uncertain time, where do we go from here? Our team is working in parallel with the direction provided by our state and Loudoun County Public Schools to keep you updated on the status of the fall 2020 LYV season. We are hopeful to have our season run from the beginning of August through the end of October. We have created a registration waitlist (available to join here), which will alert you to updates and the return of LYV and all of our exciting programs:

  • Middle and Elementary School Girls (3rd-8th grade)
  • Middle and Elementary School Boys (3rd-8th grade)
  • High School Girls (9th-12th grade)
  • High School Boys (9th-12th grade)
  • Middle School Beach Volleyball (6th-8th grade)

As we move forward, LYV will continue to use it’s partnership with Loudoun County, local schools, and parks and rec to provide opportunities and sustainable sports to the community in the safest way possible.