Posted On: 11/30/20 2:38 PM

Volleyball tournaments tend to run themselves.  If you’ve worked a tournament pre-covid, once the first serve happens and hope for no three way ties, it usually goes pretty smoothly. The routine is all too familiar.  

A typical club tournament to start the year may be a little rocky with getting into the routine, but it’s like riding a bike, once you get back on – it’s an old habit.  However, heading into 2021 that routine might look a little different, and like most this past year, we have found a way to pivot and adjust.  How will club tournaments and the routine look in 2021?  Prep Dig has a few ideas after running tournaments all fall for high school teams who did not have a season.  This is something that worked and what we can implement to make 2021 a successful club season.

Prep Dig Resolution 2020

We’ll use 8 courts as our example with a typical AM Wave (8 AM – 2 PM) and a PM Wave (2:30 – 8:30ish).  For most tournaments (Pre-Covid), there would be four teams on each court rotating between playing, reffing, and being off while parents and families would pile into a facility.  Four teams on one court for eight courts (32 teams with ten athletes per team that’s roughly 320 athletes), factor in two to three people in attendance per player and you could possibly have anywhere from 600-950 spectators).  With most facilities, those numbers would not work out for 2021 depending on facility and state mandates.  

What Tournament Schedules Looked Like Pre-Covid:

Court 1 

Match Time 

Teams

Ref 

Off

8 AM 

1 vs. 3

2

4

9 AM 

2 vs. 4

1

3

10 AM 

1 vs. 4

3

2

11 AM 

2 vs. 3 

1

4

12 PM 

3 vs. 4

2

1

1 PM 

1 vs. 2

4

3

 

This would repeat for the PM wave where teams and spectators would be shuffling through each other to get to where they need to be, whether that is the team meal or finding their spot to start the PM Wave.  

This fall at Prep Dig Events, we were able to use a variety of schedules to see what would work for teams and spectators that was safe, but also provide a competitive playing experience.  Here is what a new schedule would look like. 

“New Schedule” 

Wave 1

Match Time 

Court 1

Court 2 

8 AM 

1 vs. 3

2 vs. 4

9 AM 

1 vs. 4

2 vs. 3

10 AM 

1 vs. 2

3 vs. 4

 

Wave 2

Time

Court 1

Court 2

11:30 AM 

5 vs. 7

6 vs. 8

12: 30 PM  

5 vs. 8

6 vs. 7

1:30 PM 

5 vs. 6

7 vs. 8 

 

What About Reffing/Scorekeeping? 

At our fall events we had an “Up” official and we had parents or a team volunteer be in charge of keeping score.  The purpose of these events were to get these teams to have touches and just play (not necessarily focused on being “official”). 

For a club tournament, we would most likely have a team be in charge of a court with scorekeeping, libero tracking, down reffing, and line judging.  But what team?  From the chart above we would take a team from Wave 2 and be in charge of a court to work Wave 1 (reffing and scorekeeping duties), and for Wave 2 take a team from Wave 1 to do the same (For example Team 5 would work Court 1 for Wave 1 while Team 1 would work Court 1 for Wave 2). 

 

Does that mean parents can watch?

This will all depend on the state and the facility guidelines which we have followed wherever we have put on an event.  In the Pre-Covid era, there were typically 32 teams in the gym at once (for 8 courts).  With the new schedule, we would have 16 teams on the court.  Our goal is to have parents be able to watch their daughter play.  For example, each team will be allowed all rostered players, two coaches, and a videographer to be considered team personnel.  As for tickets, a team would be allowed 10 tickets (just an example) per wave their team plays.  For Team 1 who plays at 8, 9, and 10 – they would get 10 tickets for their team and those in attendance for Wave 1 will clear out at the conclusion of their wave, and then those who have tickets for Wave 2 would move in.  

We will also have BallerTV streaming our events as well as our scouts providing plenty of social media, video, and pictures at all of our events. 

 

What is the gain?  What can be some drawbacks? 

Besides a convention center, most facilities will have to operate at less capacity in regards to spectators.  With less teams in the facility this will mean less spectators in order to comply with any mandates or guidelines.  However, teams will be playing the same amount of matches in a shorter amount of time.  For a setter who is running a 5-1, that might be tough.  However, based on the past year, we’ve heard postponed and canceled all too often.  This will give athletes the opportunities to play as much as possible.  

The drawback could be that some of the matchups will be predetermined for most of the tournament.  To control waves, the number of people in the facility, this might be the most logical option.  There wouldn’t be the if/then scenarios that would create 16 teams on the court and another 20 who are waiting around to play with all of their parents waiting to see where they play as well.  

 

What’s Next For Prep Dig?

We are kicking off the year with the Prep Dig Resolution Tournament held at the Community First Champion Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.  This was the home to plenty of Prep Dig Events over the summer and fall where we are familiar with the procedures and protocols of the facility.  We have been working on a schedule since the middle of November and how the waves of teams coming in and out will potentially look.  We will look at each team and matchup very closely to make sure we are giving the athletes the chance to be competitive, but also safety for athletes, coaches, and all spectators. 

The playbook to run a tournament will look different, and with change, there is a chance for improvement.  We are looking forward to the 2021 club season and whatever pivots we will make along the way.  Like any good team, the volleyball community will find a way to make it work.