SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2015

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Page 42 of 67 August 2015 43 t SPORT Report Outreach U SAV has been on a mission to find more players and is using several methods for recruitment. One of the strongest approaches to reach a younger audience, Kessel said, is by using various forms of social media to promote the USAV brand. So far, USAV has amassed 376,000 likes on their Facebook page and more than 103,100 followers on their Twitter page, with the number increasing with each passing day. USAV is also reaching out via Pinterest and Google+. "Social media wise, we are reaching out through all mediums," Kessel said. "For example, we are at 100,000 follows with Instagram, and are second of all sports in the USA to only US Soccer. We also pro- vide more than 10,000 USAV Sport Kit DVDs that are sent out with videos, posters, books, coloring books, articles, etc., all free of charge." Kessel said USAV is always looking at different avenues to develop and expand the organization even further and writes a blog for the organization at grassroots. Titled "Growing the Game Together," it is designed to educate play- ers, coaches, parents, referees and specta- tors about the sport while sharing his own personal experiences with the sport and keeping the fan base connected. The site also has free webinars and videos available at the click of a mouse, including skill and drill videos for indoor, beach and Paralympics volleyball. Inclusion Beyond holding events for men's and women's teams that compete in both beach and indoor volleyball, USAV regulates a version of the sport for disabled players. In sitting volleyball, competitors play from a sitting position on the floor and play under the same set of rules as a regular volleyball game with a few minor modifications. By encouraging different forms of play, USAV is gaining more members. Women's beach volleyball is also seeing a rise in participation due to its exposure as a collegiate women's NCAA sport with eight scholarships per team/school. Keeping Events Fun & Contained K essel said an integral component of USAV events is the element of fun. "USAV has giveaways like our rubber ducks (100,000 handed out free of charge), meet and greets with national team players and Olympians, kids' courts, and sitting volleyball playing courts at big events. The beach, of course, has great music and weather with any luck." USAV events require venues with easy and adequate parking for athletes, fans and parents and space for 20 to 100 courts with high ceilings. For beach play, the location must have quality sand with space to put up 20-60 temporary courts. USAV's largest qualifying event takes place in Atlanta and requires about 150 courts for players of all ages and competitions at all levels. "When everything is held under one roof for our qualifiers and national cham- pionships, everyone benefits. We also prefer to travel to lower cost hub cities, and weekend events are easy to manage during holidays when convention center or downtown areas are often near empty." L ooking Ahead With the Olympics coming up next year, Kessel said he is anticipating more success for USAV. "The Rio Olympics are going to be seen as the 'Volleyball Olympics,' as the sport is so big there. With the USA men winning the World League in 2014; the USA women winning their first gold medal in 62 years of international competi- tion at the World Championships; our beach teams winning international titles monthly all summer; and our USA Sitting Women's Team ranked #2 in the world behind China and winning the silver medal at the World Championships, all things look for it to be a breakout summer in 2015 leading into 2016." n USAV USA Volleyball holds the distinction of being the leading governing organization for beach, indoor and sitting volleyball and is in its 87 th year of operation. By being a goal- oriented nonprofit organization, USAV continues to march toward its mission of becoming the number one volleyball organization by applying set goals to its day to day operations. USA Volleyball regulates 40 regions of organized competition for both adults and juniors in the United States. This includes both males and females of all ages. These regions are grouped into eight sections and four zones. Each region has its own bylaws but is required to follow the national standards and practices. n More Info: Join: Bid On An Event: Tom Pingel,

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