OAKVILLE THUNDER VOLLEYBALL CLUB
Oakville Thunder is based out of Oakville, with practices taking place at school gym locations throughout Oakville.
The club volleyball season starts with the tryouts in early September, with practices starting when gyms become available, late September. The regular season within the OVA (Ontario Volleyball Association) ends with the Provincials, typically in April. Some teams choose to continue the season, with participation within the Canadian Open, often called the Nationals, run by Volleyball Canada in May or by participating in a tournaments like the AAU East Coast Nationals for girls and boys teams in the U.S..
Oakville Thunder has the capacity to support teams from 12U – 18U for both girls and boys. The number of teams we are able to offer depends upon the quantity and quality of athletes and coaches for each age group.
Tryouts take place in September. Check out our website in August for tryout location, dates and times for your age group.
Tryouts cost $30 per player for all age categories and includes anywhere from 2 – 4 tryouts throughout the tryout period. Tryout fees are non-refundable.
It is to your advantage to be at every tryout so you have the greatest opportunity to demonstrate your skills to our coaches. If you must miss a tryout, let the age appropriate coach know as soon as possible so they do not misinterpret your absence as a lack of commitment or interest.
If you love volleyball and wish to take your game to a higher level of competition, while enjoying and contributing to a team, then Oakville Thunder is your Club to do so in Oakville. We are the longest standing competitive volleyball club in Oakville, with many founding families still leading the Club. Not only do many athletes, continue on to varsity teams, but as well, many athletes develop friendships that last off of the volleyball court. Personally and competitively, there are many ways to win as an Oakville Thunder volleyball player.
Bring your registration fee, volleyball gear (knee pads, ankle braces (if any), athletic tape, etc.), and water.
As our club runs on a break even basis, club fees are directly affected by the number of teams and athletes as well as the number of tournaments a team is scheduled to enter during the season.
Coaches of some of our teams have predetermined a schedule to include participation in U.S. tournaments or Nationals. U.S. tournaments and Nationals provide a greater opportunity for exposure to larger tournaments during the season and contributes to an athlete’s development.
However, in an effort to provide you with some directions, club fees in the past have ranged from $1000 - $1200 for 12U Players and $1400 - $1800 for 13U – 18U.
What club fees do cover for every team are the costs of registering Oakville Thunder athletes and coaches with the OVA, team equipment, gym rentals, OVA tournament registration fees, one Provincials team entry fee, two tickets to the Oakville Thunder year end banquet and a small travel stipend for coaches for the regular season. What club fees do not cover include but are not limited to items such as an athletes travel costs (hotel, food, transportation), an athlete’s share of one head coach’s travel costs, tournaments incremental to the originally budgeted tournament budget per team.
Teams play on average 10 tournaments during a season that include both OVA regular season tournaments, the age appropriate provincials and invitational tournaments that help to prepare a team for the upcoming OVA ranking tournaments. Some teams, especially 15U and older blue teams, may also be participating in drive to U.S. tournaments. Some teams may choose to enter either more tournaments in Ontario and/or the U.S. This is a team decision and is at an incremental cost per tournament managed by the team itself.
The age group of a team and its ranking within the province can affect the potential for an overnight tournament. 14U+ teams are divided into tiers based upon their team’s ranking. Each tier plays at a different location. The OVA tries to establish tournament locations sensitive to the makeup of the teams in a tier. If a team is in an older age group and in the top “Premier” tier, then this tier is comprised of the top 8 to 12 teams from across the province. Therefore there is a higher possibility of an out-of-town overnight tournament since participating teams may be from across the province. That all said, there still can be exceptions depending upon the number and location of clubs willing to host an OVA tournament. In summary, the number of out-of-town OVA tournaments is unpredictable and will vary per team during the season.
Club fees cover the registration fees for both OVA and non OVA tournaments within a team’s schedule as set and distributed to each team at the beginning of each season, regardless of location. Tournament schedules will be finalized as much as possible and available at tryouts. Registration fees for any incremental tournaments (OVA or non-OVA) are the responsibility of the athletes. Participation in any incremental tournaments is decided upon and managed by teams individually. Club fees do not cover the travel costs (food, travel, hotel), of both the player and the head coach to any out-of-town tournaments.
All Oakville Thunder athletes are required to own and wear an Oakville Thunder volleyball uniform as defined by the Club. The uniform consists of 1 or 2 jerseys, volleyball shorts, warm up t-shirts, athletic jacket or hoodies, pants and knapsack.
Teams practice two times per week, Monday to Friday, starting 6pm or later. Some teams may add a third date for additional practice time or fitness training. Practice times and locations are posted by team on the website www.oakvillethunder.ca/schedule once the final roster of players is confirmed.
Practice dates, times and locations may change from time to time as school gyms may not be available certain evenings due to school events or school breaks or teams may have an extra practice as recommended by the coach or for other unforeseen reasons. Any changes to individual team practices are posted on the team’s calendar on the website.
OVA tournaments take place on Saturdays or occasionally Sundays and are scheduled by the OVA. Typically, the OVA does not confirm tournament details (i.e. which tier and/or pool a team is playing in and hence the team’s location and schedule) until 1 to 2 weeks prior to the tournament. The Club does not have any influence on when the OVA releases this information.
Since our teams practice two to three times per week, in theory, it may be possible to participate in other rep sports, however, the challenge is that both competitive volleyball and other rep sports demand commitment. With a limited number of players carried on a volleyball team, and many players specializing within a limited number of positions, it is not fair to the team if players are not available for both tournaments and practices. Therefore, we strongly feel that it is too difficult to truly make a commitment to more than one sport team when committing to competitive volleyball. Each situation is best discussed with the appropriate coach before accepting an offer to join the Oakville Thunder Volleyball Club.
For 12U-14U athletes, yes, all players receive equal playing time as per the OVA’s Fair Play Policy - Below. (May change in future seasons)
All tournaments for the 12U Girls age category will be Tripleball format. The first two events will be round-robin type formats. The last tournament will introduce a play off format. Court size will remain 9mx8m
Fair play rules: No substitutions are permitted (except for injury) in the first and second set. There are no restrictions on who can play the third set. Twelve (12) sub limited (one entry and one exit per player) rule will be in effect.
Fair play rules will be in effect for the following age divisions
-13U and 14U Boys and Girls
-15U Boys and Girls for all pool play matches only
** The first event for the 14U Boys and Girls will be an all positions event: No specialization is allowed so all players must play all positions. Switching to a different position from your service order during a rally is NOT ALLOWED.
In competitive volleyball, the OVA follows the LTAD (long term athlete development) program as its framework for sport development. The LTAD program identifies stages of development within a sport. Teams within competitive volleyball clubs progress through the stages of Training to Train, Training to Compete and Training to Win. Unlike in a house league sport, this puts a greater focus on competition and eventually winning. As a member of the OVA, Oakville Thunder works within its framework within its training.
For 15U and older athletes, we acknowledge that playing time is a sensitive issue as every athlete wants to play as much as possible and every parent wants to see their son/daughter play their fair share. It is important to recognize that fair playing time is different from equal playing time. From tryouts, to practices, to tournaments, it is the coach’s responsibility to determine where the team is within its development and what is best for the team and its goals. It is the coach’s responsibility to develop all players in practice and training. In fact, it is through their practice and training that athletes receive the most instruction, experience and development. During tournament play, it is the coach’s responsibility to determine what is best for the team, athlete and team dynamic in the current circumstances to achieve a team’s goals including either competing or winning. This may result in uneven playing time between athletes, especially in older age divisions.
Playing time is not determined by ability alone. Rather coaches will also consider the effort, commitment, sportsmanship, on court synergy with teammates, ability to perform under pressure, skill set, ability to read cue and make on court decisions, to name but a few factors that go into playing time decisions. In club volleyball, a player can’t be guaranteed to play in every set or match.
Deciding how many athletes to carry on a team is a delicate balance between trying to maximize the experience and playing time for each player while managing the risk of compromising a team being able to compete should athletes be injured during the team. (A minimum of 7 OVA registered players is required to compete within an OVA tournament.) We try to limit our teams to 10 players to maximize an athlete’s play time and provide greater focus to each athlete during practice time.
All of our teams are competitive rep volleyball teams comprised of the best athletes as chosen from our Oakville Thunder tryouts. However, starting in the 2012/2013 season, to provide stronger support to develop elite volleyball athletes within our club, Oakville Thunder 15U and older blue teams will embrace a more aggressive tournament schedule and competitive mindset than our White and Black teams. As well, a commitment to a fitness program for Blue teams will be strongly expected. This approach differentiates the experience a Blue or a White or a Black team may provide.
If offered a position on a Blue team, the athlete and his/her parent have the opportunity to choose if they wish to embrace a Blue team’s approach to the season. Coach’s for all teams, will share their vision for the season within any offer to join a team. This will allow all offered athletes to choose the team whose approach best suits their personal goals.