What is a good age to start playing volleyball? (answered)

Starting to play volleyball in a club can be a big step. Some players start out when they are 5 years old, whereas others only start once they are in their twenties. A lot of players feel that it is quite late when they start out but you can play volleyball at almost any age. It can be overwhelming to see players with more experience but you will be able to improve a lot in a short period of time as well. However, you can start playing volleyball at any age without a problem. Let’s discuss what the best approach is.

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At what age should you start volleyball?

You can start playing volleyball at any age. It can be played fast or slow, allowing everyone to participate. A lot of teams have a mix of different ages. There are open clubs that don’t participate in a competition and allow everyone to join and train. These clubs welcome new players and explain the basics of the game. As long as you are willing to learn, you can join them.

There is no pressure to perform as everyone is there to have fun. You have to see how far you want to go. If diving over the ground is too much for you, it is possible to discuss this with the coach and you can see what is possible. Some players prefer to stand and walk instead of run. This is fine as long as you have spoken about this with the team.

There are often clubs for each skill level and it is accepted if you still have a lot to learn. Everyone was a beginner at some point. You can’t go back in time and start earlier. The only thing that you can do is start today and go from there.

If you want to become a professional volleyball player, you should start playing volleyball before your early teens so that you have a lot of time to practice the basic volleyball skills (digging, serving, setting, spiking, and blocking) and also learn how to deal with other players on the team.

The youngest players are often four to six years old. You need some basic ball-handling skills if you want to get started and around that age players are able to get a feel for how they can use a ball.

Start playing volleyball in school

During school, you often have a lot of time for leisure. This is a great moment to start playing volleyball as you will have a lot of time to practice it. A lot of schools have a team so you don’t have to travel far to train. You might want to focus on studying instead of sports but this would be a mistake. You will learn a lot from playing volleyball as well.

Furthermore, you will build great connections with other people that can help you in life. Not everything can be learned from a book, you also need some street smarts in life. Therefore it is a great idea to join a volleyball club while you are still in school. If training 2 times per week is too much for your school schedule, you can always talk to your coach and see if it is possible to only train once every week. If you play volleyball, your score for sports will probably increase as well so you will have better points overall. 

Photo by Josh Duke on Unsplash

A lot of people regret that they didn’t pick up volleyball during school as you learn very fast at that age. You can practice with your friends almost every day and experiment with a lot of techniques and strategies.

If you are unsure if you want to play volleyball, you can often attend one training for free. After this, you can decide if volleyball is something that you want to pursue or not. Coaches understand that volleyball is not for everyone and they won’t mind if you decide to practice another sport. 

Starting volleyball in High school or University

It is possible to pick up volleyball once you are in your early twenties. The first few months can be quite challenging as you have to learn a lot (from the official rules to how you handle the ball, to the names of the other players). Once you start to get the hang of it, it will become a lot more fun. 

Some teams have been playing together for close to a decade if you join them at that point in time. They might be reluctant to welcome new players as the current team is quite close. Therefore it is possible that you will need to have quite a lot of patience before you are let into the inner circle of the team.

Don’t expect to make the team in the first few months during matches as you still have a lot to learn. One weaker player can make the team lose as the opponent will target you. Therefore you have to accept that it might take 9 months or a year before you can play often during matches.  Other players have a head start so you will have to spend a lot of time if you want to catch up with them. 

Let’s take a look at some highlights to get an idea of the level of high school volleyball:

 If you don’t want to do this, it is also possible to join a team that is playing more casually. This is more fun but doesn’t challenge you as much as you don’t have the ability to play against great players.

It depends on your own preferences if you want to play volleyball more casually or in competition at that point in time. The latter will take a lot of dedication as you will have to improve a lot of skills. 

Start playing volleyball once you already work

Some people look for a new hobby when they are starting to work. They might have less contact with the friends that had during University and might have some more time on their hands. Volleyball can be a great way to meet new people. It is also played on several levels.

You might not want to join a team that has been playing together for more than a decade at this point but there are definitely clubs that play more casually. This makes sure that the learning curve is not too steep and that you can still have fun. These clubs often only train once every week so it is not a big-time commitment if you want to join them.

If you want to play volleyball at a high level, you will have to train a lot. You are missing several years of experience that other players have so you will have to make sure that you are dedicated enough and want to put in the time to catch up with this. You can hire a personal trainer to help you with this.

You can also join local (beach)volleyball games. On a lot of beaches, there are nets installed and it is easy to join these games. These are often played for fun and it doesn’t matter that much if you are still improving your skills. It can be a great way to see if you actually like volleyball and want to spend more time on it. 

Pool volleyball is becoming more popular as well so if you know someone that has a pool, you can ask if it would be possible to play pool volleyball there with some friends.

Start playing volleyball once you are retired.

Volleyball can be played at any age. It is possible to hang the net lower or to make the field smaller. This makes sure that you have to run and jump less. It is also less needed to dive (or dig) to get a ball that is almost touching the ground as the field is smaller and it is easier to catch the ball. You can play volleyball as fast or slow as you want it. Playing it slowly makes it a lot easier for everyone and can allow retired people to partake in the game as well.

Let’s take a look at some beach volleyball highlights:

Volleyball is a great way to remain active as you train a lot of muscles in your body. Therefore a lot of retirement communities are looking into this sport. 

Be sure to invest in the right shoes that offer a lot of stability. These can really make a difference as they have been designed specifically for this purpose. 

To conclude, we can state that you can start playing volleyball at any age.  If you start, later on, you might have to adjust your expectations as some players start quite early and have years of experience. It is possible to make volleyball easier by lowering the net, playing it slower, using a bigger ball, and making the field smaller. This makes sure that everyone can join.

Beach volleyball and pool volleyball are attracting a lot of new players and therefore people might start playing volleyball at a later stage in life. This is perfectly possible and everyone can have fun with this sport. If you want to become really great at it, you will have to spend a lot of time practicing as you need to improve your ball handling, offensive, and defensive skills, strategic insight, and so on. You don’t need a lot of skills to get started with volleyball but if you want to master it, you will have to make a big dedication to often train for this sport.