A volleyball league is a usually competitive association between teams that organizes matches or competitions between its member teams. Being a popular sport in the whole world, with millions of participants, there are endless volleyball leagues around the globe of all ages, genders, and levels. A league can be a professional organization, in which athletes are paid, games are televised, tickets are sold, and teams play for a trophy or money; or simply a weekend long tournament put together by residents of a neighbourhood whose children are going to play volleyball together. The point is, volleyball leagues can have widely different formats, names, and purposes, but as long as the goal is to organize volleyball games, it can be called a volleyball league.
Some of the well-known volleyball leagues are the NCAA Collegiate Volleyball League, the FIVB Nations League, and the AAU Volleyball League.
Like in many other sports, the most popular volleyball leagues are the ones organized by the AAU. The AAU organizes many leagues around the country of both genders and many ages. If you are trying to find a league to join in your area, the AAU website is a good place to look. In addition to the local leagues, the AAU has an incredibly popular national number of events, such as the AAU National Championship. The AAU Junior National Championship, recently held in Florida, has brought together over 42,000 volleyball athletes of many ages and 2,800 volleyball teams from different parts of the world. The Nationals are so big that they are broadcasted on television.
It is not easy to start a volleyball league. There are many variables that need to work out in order for the league to work well. Nonetheless, with good organization, a proper volleyball league can be started by anyone. The first thing to do is to think about who is going to participate in the league. As yourself: Are there already enough volleyball clubs and teams? Do I need to bring more athletes to form new teams? Are people interested in participating in a league? With those answers, you can start figuring out some of the basic things about your soon to be volleyball league, such as: age range, games per season, price for signing up, and when the games are going to be played.
Once you are sure that there are people wanting to play in your league, and that they are willing to pay to be in it, it's time to find a gym, or maybe gyms, in which your league is going to host its games. After the league is set to happen, it's time to write down a rule book, with the rules that are going to be adopted by your league, such as minimum and maximum number of players per team, height of the volleyball net, how a winner will be decided, and all other big and little things that may be necessary for your league to run smoothly.
If possible, having a league sponsor is also a good idea as it helps to legitimize the league and bring in some cash flow; but don't worry too much about it, sponsors will be more attracted to your league once it grows and finds repeated success over time.
Although volleyball can be played during all four seasons, the sport is usually practiced during fall, but that is not necessarily true for every single volleyball league. The volleyball season of amateur leagues vary depending on the number of teams participating in it and the league's format. For example, let's say that League A has 4 teams, and has a system in which each team plays each other once during some kind of regular season, and are seeded after that in two semi-finals. Assuming that there will be a final and a game for the third place, each team will have played five games during a season. Now let's say that League B has sixteen teams that participate in it. Because of the number of teams in the league, it wouldn't be as easy to use the same system as League A, and so League B divides teams into two groups of eight teams, of which only four of each group advance to a final playoff system. League A and League B will naturally have a different number of games and a different length of their season. As for professional leagues, the number of games and length of a season also varies, but there usually are not less than 30 games per season.
For a volleyball league, it must be financially viable. A league has basic needs that cost money, such as renting a gym, hiring officials, maybe offering food, and buying medals and trophies. Naturally, leagues will charge a fee to teams that want to participate in it. Each league has a different price; some charge per team, while some charge per athlete, and sometimes the more athletes your team has, the cheaper it will be for each individual.
The AAU has annual membership rates that go from $30 to $320 per year, per club. The range is very large because the AAU has different levels of skills and of participation which have different costs. Besides the fees themselves, it is important to note that there will be additional costs such as travel, equipment, and food. The better the team is, the more traveling it will be required to do, making the costs of being part of the team rise.
Volleyball is a sport in which a big chunk of the professional competition is done between nations, that is, countries whose national teams play against each other. The Olympic Games are probably the most prestigious event in the senior volleyball world, however, it isn't really a league.
It can be said that the most popular volleyball league is the Nations League, organized by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). The Nations League happens yearly with both a women's and men's event, and it showcases the best that the volleyball world has to offer. Powerhouses like Brazil, Russia, Italy and the United States bring their best with the goal of being crowned world champion.
However, volleyball is not all made of national team games; professional national leagues are established and popular in many countries. Naturally, some countries are known internationally for having a strong national volleyball league, and attracting top talent from across the globe. Some of these leagues, for both men and women are: the Italian leagues, the Brazillian leagues, the Russian leagues, the Polish leagues, and the Turkish leagues. Unlike most sports, some of these women's volleyball leagues are at times as popular as men's, if not more.