Volleyball participation to be boosted by $3.6m investment over four years
Volleyball Australia and the State and Territory Members have agreed to co-invest a total of $3.2m over four years to grow participation nationally as part of the Volleyball Participation Investment Model agreed to at the recent Annual National Stakeholders Meeting.
Part of the investment will be directed towards building and refining SpikeZone, Volleyball Australia’s entry-level volleyball program for kids aged between five and 13. The program will be developed into a more valuable junior competition model, similar to successful programs delivered by other major codes such as Cricket Blast, NetSetGo and HotShots.
Other strategic areas that will see increased investment will be community facilities access, e-learning, coaching, officiating, digital capability, with more focus also placed on integrity and child protection training.
Volleyball Australia’s President Craig Carracher said this is the most significant investment made in the sport’s participation space in over 15 years.
“Over the past ten years, the participation market in Australia has increasingly become more sophisticated in the products and experiences offered, particularly for young people ,” Carracher said.
“Our sport now competes against some of the biggest and fastest-growing offerings, like the Cricket Australia Blast program and other successful junior sports.
“Such changes are having an impact on our ability to attract and retain young participants and this investment is a great opportunity for us to address this challenge, allowing us to meet the requirements of people looking to access sport in different ways. There is also a critical need to educate coaches and officials in ways that encourage their commitment to the sport.
“I would like to congratulate and thank all our State and Territory members for coming together with Volleyball Australia to ensure more and more children will have the opportunity to get into volleyball and have a great experience playing the sport,” he said.
Volleyball Australia, in partnership with its members, has set a target to achieve an increase in facility access across Australia by 2026, strengthen the clubs’ capability and capacity to deliver the sport as well as increase access for diverse groups in inclusive and sustainable ways.
Collaboration models will be developed to increase the efficiency in shared services and a new staged product for children in schools and club environments will be delivered to drive increased school participation.
State and Territory members have been supportive of the collective investment, recognising the benefit for the whole system. Volleyball Western Australia President, Ian Phipps, said this is the beginning of a new exciting chapter of volleyball participation pathways in Australia.
“The newly proposed first initiative of providing nationally recognisable Junior and Kids Volleyball programs is not only essential for the continuing growth of the sport, but important to provide opportunities starting with five-year-olds through to secondary school aged youth,” he said.
“As a safe, low impact, non-tackling, all-inclusive, fun sport, there are many excellent reasons for children and parents to explore and take-up volleyball as their sport of choice,” he said, adding that providing locations that are easily accessible to every individual who wish to participate in volleyball is also another crucial area which will be addressed over the four-year period.
Volleyball Tasmania President Rachel Kitson added that this project will bring all states together to support each other in growing the sport, building a bigger profile in the community and making volleyball the sport to play.
“Our hope is that by leveraging a central pool of resources we will be able to support and enact effective programs on the ground in Tasmania,” Kitson said.
“Tasmania represents a growth opportunity for the game, but as a small state, we are limited in capacity by relying on volunteers and our single employee resource. With a move to a model of central support by Volleyball Australia for all states, we will be able to access resources to promote and grow the game in Tasmania and expand our reach in the community,” she said.
The investment is supported by the new Participation Plan 2025: Play Together, which draws out how Volleyball Australia will work towards supporting growth in the community.