So many organizations!

Why are there so many organizations in beach volleyball? Which one is best? These are questions I hear a lot, and I'd like to talk a little bit about my organization, (VolleyOC) and the two organizations with which I work. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about some of the other organizations- honestly, if you knew some of the behind the scenes back-and-forth it would curl your hair. Mama always said, "if you can't say something nice…"
Hopefully, VolleyOC is pretty synonymous with me, Ed Ratledge. I personally run the vast majority of our tournaments, classes and other programs. When I'm off playing a pro event, I have a team that can take the wheel, but really, VolleyOC could just as easily be called "Ed Ratledge Volleyball" (if I felt like my name was relivant, or a big enough deal.) We/I maintain the courts at Newland Street in Huntington Beach. All 40 of the nets, lines, and nearly all the poles are materials I donated to the cause of growing beach volleyball by creating a huge, world-class site at which players can train and compete. Around a dozen other organizations, and countless high schools take advantage of what I financed, built, and continually maintain, bringing revenue to our state parks system and hopefully, charitably growing the game. I'm extremely proud of having turned what was essentially a desert of unused sand into the field of courts you see now, used by tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of people every year. I know every time someone brings a ball out there, they're being healthy and enjoying the game we love. This brings me Joy.

The AAU is a national organization which began in 1888. It's run beach volleyball tournaments in California since the 1980's and I'm very glad VolleyOC was recently welcomed as a partner. The AAU runs the West Coast Junior Olympic Games every July as a defacto national championship for youth beach volleyball in America. VolleyOC runs events which award bids and seeding points into that national championship event. The points we award will help your seed and are a great way to stand out among your peers.
Part of the VolleyOC team is a phenomenal database engineer named Jon Alvarez. He is the creator of that database and website which is being used to seed VolleyOC events and other AAU events that occur in LA county. These events include the West Coast Junior Olympics. It'll eventually help organize region by region competition within the AAU across the country. Creating a seeding system is extremely important for organized sports and I'm grateful for the opportunity to aid America's oldest amatuer sports organization with this challenge. Jon's will be used across the country as early as next summer.

AVP / AVPNext / AVPFirst
The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) is America's oldest and best known professional volleyball tour. I've been in nearly every one of their professional tournaments since 2001 and I'm delighted to work with them as they grow the game from the ground up. This starts with my affiliation with AVPFirst. AVPFirst is the youth portion of the AVP. It sanctions tournaments nationwide and runs what many consider the largest national championship event for youth. AVPFirst is committed to high quality events, and their commitment means they provide extras like prizes, court fencing and professional referees. Across the country, AVPFirst events tend to be those of the highest quality.
AVPNext is another part of the AVP's path toward becoming a professional. Obviously, pro level tournaments are extremely exclusive, and the only way into the professional ranks is by earning points. AVPNext allows players who are on the cusp of the professional ranks to compete and earn points that can help their dreams of becoming a professional player. VolleyOC runs these events about once per month, and outside of "the big show"(AVP pro events) these represent the highest level of competition available on the coast. If you think you're good, show it here.

I can't say enough good things about the hard work of the folks running the AAU and AVP. Organizing youth and professional beach volleyball across the country is a tireless and sometimes thankless job, and I'm extremely blessed to be able to partner with such fine people and organizations. My hope is that VolleyOC can continue to provide the stepping stones players need to chase their volleyball dreams the way I have.

Posted 27 Jun 2018 22:02.

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