High School Sand Volleyball?by Andy Morales on Oct. 19, 2011, under Sports
Initially reported by the Arizona Republic, the AIA’s executive board approved a move to pilot sand volleyball for girls to be played in the spring.
The move would help with Title IX requirements and it is a relatively cheap sport to run.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE DETAILS:
The AIA will require between 8 and 32 teams to take part this coming spring with the schools fielding five two-person teams with two alternates.
All matches will be played for free at Victory Lanes Sports Park in Glendale. It was reported if other schools outside of Phoenix show interest then other facilities might be looked at but it looks like a Phoenix area pilot program.
USA Volleyball will help with training officials and the season will end with a tournament bracket with only 8 teams.
No word on the uniforms to be worn (we are talking about minors) and how this will hurt club volleyball in the spring where most of the college recruiting takes place.
Claire D’Amore is the Director of Health & Wellness for the nonprofit La Paloma Family Services program located in Tucson.
She is also a former volleyball star at NAU and played five years on the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour until the organization suspended operations last year.
D’Amore also won a couple of gold medals representing the U.S. women’s beach volleyball team in NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) competition.
She helped give me some insight on what we might expect and her vision for the growing sport.
“I’m all for it,” she said. “I know through my work there is a lot of interest in sand volleyball for school-aged kids. It’s an Olympic sport, a professional sport and 16 Division-I college programs will be playing this spring.”
Part of D’Amore’s work at La Paloma involves working with low-income families and children in the area of fitness and she has devised a program using volleyball to help them with their health and other areas such as self-esteem and communication.
She calls her group the “Little Diggers” and it is a program that runs seven Sundays and she is currently on the sixth Sunday for her current group. She teaches the boys and girls in her program fundamentals related to volleyball but they learn so much more about athletics, health and about themselves.
Though she has been asked to step in and coach indoor volleyball at the high school level several times, D’Amore feels it would take up too much time and keep her away from the kids she helps.
She is interested, however, in running the Southern Division of the AIA sand volleyball competition if it catches on after next year and possibly coach a team then because the season would be really short.
“I know there is interest in Flagstaff,” she explained. “We would need to find a place for teams to have practices and a place for competitions in Tucson. I will do anything to promote this sport. Imagine the champion from Southern Arizona playing against Phoenix. How cool would that be?”
The season for this spring is slated to be only about six weeks or so in Phoenix. The impact on club volleyball will not be known until then but, since USA Volleyball is helping to train, it might be safe to say there can be a way to have both club and sand volleyball run together.
Other sports have crossover such as tennis. Tennis remarkably uses a players ranking in “club” competition to seed for high school playoffs. If the AIA can allow that sort of blatant blurring of the lines then why not let athletes play both club and high school in the same season? Technically, there is no “club” sand volleyball so it would be a different sport.
Also, club soccer holds major college showcases during the high school winter season with seemingly no interference from the AIA.
“Everyone who I have spoken to feels sand volleyball is a positive thing in relation to indoor volleyball,” added D’Amore.
“The sport makes you more aware of the court because there are only two people and you have to communicate and go for everything. You get faster and it increases your jumping ability. The only negative might come if current high school coaches or club coaches talk negatively about it to their athletes.”
As for the uniforms, D’Amore feels the way to go would be with a tank top or spandex as will be the case for college teams and stay away from bikinis.
Hopefully, if sand volleyball catches on, it will be played in other areas besides Phoenix. Badminton, for instance, is only played in the Phoenix area.
You can contact Claire D’Amore at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on her clinics.
D’Amore’s husband is former Mountain View, Scottsdale CC and Idaho State basketball player Doug D’Amore. Doug D’Amore went on to play several years professionally in Europe.
The two met at NAU when Idaho State came to town to play NAU in basketball.
Doug’s younger brother is former Ironwood Ridge quarterback Tyler D’Amore (College of the Canyons) and their brother-in-law is former Stanford receiver Jon Pinckney.