High School

High School

Most athletes that start playing volleyball usually do so during their high school years.  Athletes that begin in this situation need to realize that they are behind the ideal development curve if they would like to reach their highest potential. High school athletes will also need to consider that if they would like to take volleyball seriously, they will need to find a club near them to compete for during the winter and spring as well.

High school sports consist of different teams and leagues depending on grade and size of school.  Also depending on the school you attend you may enter middle school or go directly from elementary to secondary.  Most of the time high school leagues all begin early in the school year (September or early October) and may continue to play through to the end of November or early December.  Younger leagues will have shorter seasons. In Quebec the high school season runs from September through to May along with the Club season.

Club Volleyball

Many athletes that play on high school teams during the Fall will also compete on club teams that often begin with tryouts in December and run throughout the Winter and early Spring.  The development of athletes at this age is largely tied between these two Seasons (high school and club)  For a more in-depth look at club development, click here. In Quebec, club starts up in September the same time as high school and athletes play with this team until May.

Grade 8 (Secondaire 2)

Whether grade 8 is considered middle or high school, this is often where many athletes are introduced to the sport.  Grade 8 athletes participate in a limited number of tournaments each year and usually practice 1 or 2 times a week on top of league play where they will compete against grade 8's from other local schools.  Usually this season will climax into a regional championship where a champion is decided.

Junior (Grade 9 and 10) (Secondaire 3 et 4)

Junior volleyball teams consist of athletes in grade 9 and grade 10.  This is also an introductory level for many late adoption athletes who will need to work hard to catch up to others their age.  Junior volleyball is also more intensive than grade 8 teams as they will practice 2 or 3 times per week on top of their leagues games.  Weekend tournaments are also more consistant usually playing in 3 or 4 tournaments.  Dependant on league results, at the end of the season teams will also compete in regional championships, this time with the intention of earning a birth to compete at the Provincial (or Territorial) Championships.

Senior (Grade 11 and 12) (Secondaire 5 et Collégial 1)

Senior volleyball is the most intensive volleyball that can be played at a high school level and includes athletes in grade 11 and 12. At this stage, schools may train 2-4 days per week, as well as compete in their regional league, as well as tournaments that take place on the weekends.  Because there are far more athletes that play in grade 11 and 12 than in earlier years, schools are divided into divisions, depending on the number of students in their school.  Small schools are clasified "A" while the largest schools are classified "AAAA" (pronounced single, double, tripple or quad A).  While tournaments do not take into account these divisions; League, Regional Championships and Provincial Championships all do and provide a champion for each division.

Senior volleyball is also when athletes start to look towards their future and determine whether they want to continue to play in post-secondary education or not.  While most of the communication and commitments with University and College coaches happen between December and the end of the club volleyball season, many coaches will be present or even be running high school tournaments, keeping an eye out for players they might like to recruit.  It is important for athletes that would like to take this path to market themselves as best they can, by performing well on their team in important roles and involved in leadership.  It may be a good idea to aquire some film of your team playing so you can provide out of town coaches with information about your skills if you would like to travel out of province to go to Post-Secondary.

Multi Sport Athletes

Athletes are encouraged to play more than just volleyball during their high school years, especially during younger ages.  Different sports develop athletes skills, balance, coordination, and leadership in a variety of ways, and place a different emphasis on each.  This development can be key in creating balanced complete athletes.  As athletes reach grade 11 and 12 and as time commitments increase, athletes will need to specialize and concentrate all of their efforts on one sport, should they hope to continue in a high performance, long-term Career.  

Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence:

One opportunity for high school athletes in many cities across the country is the Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence (VCCE).  The VCCE is a program specializing in individual reps for high performance athletes (primiarily in Grade's 10-12, but some centres have programs for grade 8 and 9's as well). Athletes in this program will train twice a week (on top of their regular team functions) with a professional coach, receving lots of 1 on 1 attention.  Added benefits of this program also include weight training and testing, nutrition plans, mental training, and video resources.  This program fills a number of gaps identified in athlete development as much of the high school season is consumed with game play, and not enough time is focused on developing individual skills. To get more information about the VCCE and find a centre near you head to : www.VCCE.ca

Goals For this Age Group:

  • Learn to train properly
  • Development of leadership among peers
  • Development of skills and team systems
  • Develop personal goals for post secondary competition


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