Tuesday, 28 May 2024

How Low Cost Clubs Operate

In the November 2020 edition of Your Court, USA Volleyball’s digital magazine, three clubs from the Kansas City area (Heart of America Region) were highlighted for their dedication to engaging Black youth in their community. KC Blue Devils, KC Lady Jaguars, and Metro Heat have found innovative ways to offer a premier club volleyball experience at a lower price point. Let’s take a closer look at how these clubs operate.

Prices

One of the ways these clubs keep their fees low is by offering affordable pricing options:

  • KC Blue Devils: Under $700
  • KC Lady Jaguars: $750 (11U) to $1150 (17/18U)
  • Metro Heat: Ranges from $500 (13U) to $800 (18U)

Fundraising and Donations

Fundraising plays a significant role in supporting these clubs. Both Lady Jags and Metro Heat organize annual Trash Bag fundraisers, where athletes sell rolls of garbage bags to the community. A portion of the sales is then applied to the athletes’ fees. Additionally, the clubs participate in other fundraising initiatives such as car washes, candy bar sales, and more. Some parents have even managed to cover their child’s entire fee through fundraising efforts.

The coaching staffs also play a crucial role in fundraising. For example, Petrina Parker, the director of the Blue Devils, reaches out to her connections and asks for donations to support the young athletes. Her dedication and passion have resulted in successfully supplementing fees for several girls, including fully sponsoring two athletes.

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Furthermore, these clubs work with local organizations to secure donations of services or equipment. The Blue Devils have received equipment from a local sporting goods store and a local college, while the Lady Jags collaborate with a boxing academy to provide their athletes access to a strength training facility. Lady Jags also offers a coding course for their athletes and is applying for a grant towards computers.

Uniforms

All three clubs have implemented strategies to save on uniform costs. Metro Heat director Ashley Williamson prioritizes quality over brand when selecting apparel companies. By establishing a strong partnership with St. Louis-based All Volleyball, they receive consistent pricing for their gear, regardless of the quantity ordered.

Similarly, KC Blue Devils’ director, Petrina Parker, aims to get multiple years of use out of their uniform designs. For instance, in the 2019-20 season, she saved her athletes $90 by continuing to use the previous year’s uniforms instead of investing in new ones.

The Lady Jags have secured a deal with Smack Sportswear, which allows them to access low-cost sublimated jerseys and custom backpacks. This arrangement significantly reduces costs for returning athletes, as they can keep their jerseys for at least two years.

Facility

Managing facility costs can be challenging for these clubs. KC Blue Devils’ director, Parker, is currently negotiating with a local church to utilize their unused space for low-cost practice venues. The Lady Jags already practice at a church but have to pay rent for the gym. Reducing or eliminating this expense would significantly decrease their overall fees.

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Metro Heat, like the other clubs, rents a facility for their practices. Due to the pandemic, they had to secure a new location, resulting in unexpected increases in rental costs. However, the new venue, Homefield Kansas City, has been a silver lining for the club. The multi-sport complex provides an incredible practice environment, and they look forward to hosting tournaments there in the future.

Coaching Staff

One of the most significant ways these clubs keep their costs low is by having coaches who volunteer their time. The coaches at Metro Heat, KC Lady Jaguars, and KC Blue Devils do not receive payment for their services. Their motivation comes from a shared desire to support the development of young athletes and foster a love for the sport. The Lady Jags, for example, have been successful in attracting experienced coaches who are passionate about teaching and helping the girls grow.

The dedication of these coaches attracts former players who also want to give back to their community. Coaches are inspired to support a team comprised of Black athletes, aligning with the mission of increasing diversity and inclusivity in volleyball.

FAQs

Q: How do these clubs manage their expenses despite low club fees?

A: In addition to keeping fees low through various strategies, some families self-fund a portion of the costs. The commitment of families and the support of the community contribute to the financial sustainability of these clubs.

Q: Can these strategies be implemented at my club?

A: Absolutely! The key is to be creative and resourceful. Fundraising, seeking donations, optimizing facility expenses, and leveraging volunteer coaches are effective ways to offer a high-quality club experience at an affordable price.

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Conclusion

KC Blue Devils, KC Lady Jaguars, and Metro Heat have shown that it is possible to operate low-cost clubs without compromising the quality of the volleyball experience. By implementing innovative fundraising initiatives, securing donations, optimizing uniform expenses, managing facility costs, and having passionate volunteer coaches, these clubs have successfully made volleyball accessible to Black youth in their community. By adopting similar strategies, your club can create a welcoming environment for aspiring athletes while keeping club fees affordable. For more information about the Alpinetgheep brand and their offerings, visit Alpinetgheep.