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Play up / Play down Policy / texte français
 

Mavericks Volleyball Playing Up/Down Guidelines

Updated for 2018

The OVA and Volleyball Canada have made some modifications to the eligibility rules over the past few seasons with expanded age groups. In support of this initiative, the Maverick Volleyball Club put a mechanism in place for the processing of these requests. After reviewing our tryout process from last season, we have implemented changes to our tryout process for 2018 in an attempt to make it more manageable and to ensure that players are placed at the most appropriate level.

All players must attend tryouts for their actual date of birth. The Maverick coaches will assess each player while considering play-up and play down rules, to determine what is best for the player from a coaching and skills-development perspective.

Background Rationale from Volleyball Canada Competition Guide
The expansion of age categories from 12 months to 16 is due to the research provided in the LTAD 2.0 document published by the Canadian Sport for Life group. The paper lists the 10 Key Factors influencing Long Term Athlete Development, of which "Developmental Age" is listed as point #3. Page 28 - 30 provides generic information about Developmental Age and demonstrates the flaws of lumping athletes into their birth year for participation in sports.
In short, the large physical discrepancies that can occur between youth within the same birth year create significant disadvantages for late developing male athletes and to a lesser degree, early developing females. While the paper does not specifically raise the example of playing at ones’ skill level versus chronological age, it is Volleyball Canada's position that players should strongly consider playing to their skill level.
The LTAD model is "athlete centered" and Volleyball Canada bases decisions within this model and how athletes can be supported to reach their full potential. With the addition of a 16-month age category there is now more opportunity for late developing players to play at their skill level. However, athletes and parents must also consider ‘playing up’ a category if it can provide the needed challenge for improvement. If there exists no significant social/emotional drawbacks in playing up to an older age category, Volleyball Canada considers the benefits of playing up to far outweigh the drawbacks.


Maverick Position (2018 update)

We support the governing bodies move to an emphasis on “Developmental Age” and endorse the idea that participants capability should be the primary criteria applied for athlete placement.

ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL ATTEND THEIR CHRONOLOGICAL AGE CATEGORY FOR PHYSICAL AND SKILL TESTING on Day 1 of tryouts for all individuals wishing to PLAY UP or PLAY DOWN.  For example, ALL 16U girls will attend the first session at 16U even if they may be considering trying out at 17u (or 15U for late birthdays). There will be NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy regardless of the age group a player competed at last season.

During tryouts, the coaches will assess each player while considering play-up and play down rules, to determine what is best for the player from a coaching and skills-development perspective.

Play Up positions will only be available on the top team in each age category.  

In order for a player to be considered for the opportunity to tryout at a higher age category, that player must score in the top 7 for both physical testing and skill testing of their chronological age group.

Decisions of the caching staff regarding playing up or playing down are final.

In looking at the player’s requesting to Play Up the club will consider the following:

  1. Does the athlete possess the capability to compete at a higher level? For example, does the athlete show consistent exceptionality in their performance of the physical skills, mental and cognitive awareness and attitude to make a difference at the higher level.
  2. Is their Developmental age appropriate for the higher level?
  3. Would the player likely be in the top ½ of the group at the end of the season?
  4. Are there social/emotional barriers to a successful season?  
  5. Is there a position specific need that would allow this player additional playing time / developmental opportunities on the team an age group up?
  6. Any special academic situations that would provide this player with the chance to play at the same grade level of their teammates.  

The Play Down option is only available for athletes born September 1st to December 31st.
The player will still be required to attend their chronological age tryout for physical and skill testing. If the coaches at their age group indicate that they would be unable to secure a position on one of their teams, they will send the player to subsequent tryouts at the lower age group.   

In looking at the player’s request to Play Down the club will consider the following:

  1. Is their Developmental age appropriate for the lower level?
  2. Does the athlete possess the capability to compete at a lower level?
  3. Would a season of skill development at a lower level help them to close the gap on their peers?
  4. Are there social/emotional barriers to a successful season?  
  5. Is there a position specific need that would allow this player additional playing time / developmental opportunities on the team an age group down?
  6. Any special academic situations that would provide this player with the chance to play at the same grade level of their teammates.  

Once we have had the opportunity to assess the athletes in tryouts, the coaches involved in both age groups will review the best options based on a player's skill development and how best to fulfill team needs.

In making these decisions, the club will also consider its mandate to provide the optimal path for all althletes who are striving to achieve their personal goals, whether it is to play at the College, University, Olympic or Professional level.  All requests have an effect on other individuals vying for limited spots, and the multiple impacts must be taken into account.

We reserve the right to prioritize long-term volleyball potential over current capabilities and select accordingly, in the best interest of the individual, the team and the Club.

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