What Is The Best Age To Start Volleyball?

What Is The Best Age To Start Volleyball

Volleyball is a team sport that focuses on using your team to set up plays and score points. Volleyball is also not a contact sport, although contact can happen. The most difficult aspect of volleyball to teach children is technique and rules of the sport. The best age for a child to fully understand the fundamentals of volleyball is between eight and ten years old, because the sport is considered a “late” sport.

Defining Goals

The best first step is figuring out why you want your child to learn the sport. Team sports are an excellent way for children to make friends. Team sports are also a great way for children to learn teamwork, personal responsibility, and goal setting. Data also shows that children that play volleyball usually show good results in school, manage their time more efficiently, and improve brain activity. 

There are also many other things to consider for why you want your children to play volleyball. If you want your child to have the opportunity to play volleyball in college or even professionally, it could become costly or time-consuming. Even though volleyball can take as little as 1-2 hours of practice a week, children will need to face increasingly difficult competition as they get older. This means they will need to join clubs or other organizations in order for their skills to develop into a serious career.

Ages 3-5

Many children do not start playing volleyball until they are between eight and ten years old. However, many clubs have age groups 5+ and there are often instructional classes for ages 3-5. The most major thing to know about starting this young is to keep the classes small so that it is easier to keep the children engaged. 

For the age group 3-5, the main focus should be working on hand-eye coordination. Since many leagues have a minimum age of five years old, any exposure to the sport before that age would have to be on your own time.

Ages 6-11

When your child begins playing volleyball between the ages of 6-11, you most likely won’t find a school-affiliated team due to the majority of schools beginning their volleyball teams in seventh grade. However, there are many leagues (also called clubs) that you can sign them up for in order to give them more experience.

Typically, children begin playing volleyball between eight and ten years old, so starting your child between this range is very common. If your child is 11 going into seventh grade, then chances are that their school has a team to join. This would be great exposure for them to make friends, develop responsibility, and improve overall health. 

Ages 12 and Up

Twelve years old is the average age of a child going into seventh grade. Many schools begin a team for volleyball in the seventh grade. School-affiliated teams are a much cheaper way for your child to play volleyball (compared to playing club volleyball). From seventh grade to senior year or high school (approximately 18 years old), children can play on a team affiliated with their school. 

Many high schools do not have a men’s volleyball team, so young men typically continue to play for club teams. Starting volleyball ages 12 and older can be difficult because many schools are try-out based, cutting individuals that do not have the desired skill sets. However, if you work with your child prior to tryouts, they could develop the skills necessary to make the team.

College Volleyball

To play college volleyball, you do not necessarily need 10+ years of experience. You have to show up, be a team player, continue to work hard, and make a name for yourself. Playing volleyball in high school can be a great way to show your skills to college recruiters, but many recruiters are scouting more for club teams that go to national qualifiers. 

Playing club volleyball is your best chance of playing college volleyball, as well as contacting different colleges with highlight videos. Although there is not a required number of years that your child should play volleyball before playing in college, a few years of club volleyball experience could be very beneficial.

Professional Volleyball

If there is a chance for a  professional career in volleyball for your child, the latest they should start playing is 12 years old. Playing a sport professionally requires years of experience and they will need a decade’s worth of confidence and skill to play professionally.

Another thing to consider if your child wants to one day play professional volleyball is to consider playing in college. The majority of professional volleyball players started out as mavericks within their own NCAA or NAIA divisions. Even though it is not impossible to have a career without having played in college, the odds are much better if you do. 

Other ways to get noticed by professional teams are by playing overseas or making an Olympic team. Playing abroad can give your child exposure to a number of teams and earn thousands, since many countries pay for room and board for non-native players. Making an Olympic team also gives exposure for your child if they finish top three at the FIVB World Cup and qualify to play in the World Olympic Qualification Tournaments. Three pairs then compete to determine the final slots in the hunt for an Olympic gold medal. 

Safety Concerns

There are not many major safety concerns for the sport of volleyball. However, there is an array for minor injuries that are associated with volleyball that you should prepare for. Many common injuries and safety concerns for volleyball include bruises, sprained ankles, floor burn, jammed fingers, and lower back pain. There are a few injuries that can develop over time due to jumping and overuse of shoulders because of frequent overhead motion. On rare occasions, players can do damage to their ACL, rotator cuff, and the kneecap. 

All of these injuries can be likely avoided with proper training, muscle training exercises, and added gear. It is recommended that players wear knee pads, padded shorts, and ankle or elbow braces because they will limit the chances of injury. All injuries associated with volleyball are treatable and do not typically require surgery unless the body is not accepting the treatment provided.


How do I get my kid started with Volleyball?

There are many different ways to get your child started with volleyball. If they are younger than the age of five, you could begin with passing the ball and working on hand-eye coordination. Some areas even offer beginner classes for 3-5 age groups. If they are 5-11, then you can also enroll them in different classes or have them join club teams. Many states offer school-affiliated teams beginning in 7th grade. 

How old should my child be to play Volleyball?

Your child can begin playing volleyball competitively as early as five years old. Many children do not begin playing until the ages of 8-10. Your child should be at least five years old to play volleyball if you are using the sport to have them socialize. Your child should be between 6-8 years old if you are using the sport to develop responsibility, learn teamwork, and stimulate brain activity. If you’re looking for all of these plus improving your child’s overall health, then your child should begin playing volleyball between the ages eight and ten. If you want your child to have a chance of playing in college or professionally then you should have them start playing volleyball by 12 at the latest.

Can I teach my child Volleyball?

Yes, you can teach your child the fundamentals of volleyball on your own. If you have played volleyball in the past, then it is easier to teach your child the starting steps of the sport. The equipment needed to teach your child volleyball are a ball, a net, and an area to practice. Teaching your child volleyball on your own should consist of proper passing, setting, and serving techniques. Depending on your child’s age, games are also a great way to incorporate the techniques into practice.

How do I pick a Volleyball coach for my child?

Picking a volleyball coach for your child depends on age group and what you are looking to get out of your child and the coach. Some coaches have a better coaching style for younger children where some have an easier time coaching older children. If your child is between the ages of 3-5, you should look for classes that are smaller so your child can focus and receive the attention needed to understand volleyball. You should always meet the coach of your child and discuss the different objectives that you want your child to learn so you can find the right coach.