When choosing volleyball standards for your new facility or program, it’s important to find select standards that ‘fit’. How do you decide which standards would be the best fit? First, evaluate your needs based on rules, usage, budget, and preference and second, talk to the primary user (volleyball coach / recreation director).
• 1 • Evaluate Needs Based on Rules, Usage, Budget, and Preference
Rules: First and foremost the standard must be compliant and satisfy all rules for the level of competition each customer participates in or is subject to. For example; NCAA rules specify that the standard height cannot extend beyond the top plane of the net. Therefore, collegiate programs must use a telescoping standard for competition.
Usage: Collegiate programs will have different needs than high school programs and high school programs will have different needs than junior high or recreation departments and so on. For programs focused on top-level competition, a telescoping standard is often required. However, many programs require multi-sport standard solutions. A recreation department that also uses its volleyball equipment for badminton and tennis would want a standard which allows for a level of flexibility that competition standards do not.
Budget: Many manufacturers offer a variety of good-better-best options to suit any budget. The material of the standard may play a large role in cost; therefore, steel standards are often more affordable then slightly pricier are aluminum standards and the most premium option is often carbon fiber.
Preference: The final consideration is preference. Beyond a budget, coaches may have a preference for standard material; aluminum, steel or carbon; net top cable material; Kevlar fiber cord or steel, or need a certain sleeve diameter based on their facility. Discussing preferences with key users will help ensure all parties are happy and satisfied with their equipment.
• 2 • Talk to the Primary User
Even if they don’t know technical specifications such as sleeve diameter, type of standard material, or even exactly what brand of equipment they own; no one knows volleyball equipment better than coaches and recreation directors. Coaches interact with the equipment daily and can give insight into the program’s specific needs, pain points, and preferences.