When coaching juniors, the phrase "I can't ____ because I am a _______", is heard all too often. Players at the junior high level get type casted as a particular position based on height, athleticism, and personality and that is where they tend to stay for the majority of their volleyball career. This makes players less versatile and provides little variance on their positional choices on each volleyball team. The K.O.R.T. program is designed to remove the "I can't" phrase from a players vocabulary, and to give them the confidence to play any position at any time.
The Knights Of the Round Table is a skill development program that Knights Volleyball Academy created to emphasize the “well-rounded” volleyball training styles that beach doubles provides. It is designed to force all players to learn and perfect each skill in the game of volleyball. The level of competition from junior high athletes to collegiate athletes has progressed to the point that a player cannot afford to specialize in being just a great hitter or a great setter. Athletes today must become more versatile and stand out amongst the other players competing for the coveted spots on each team. The K.O.R.T. program is the perfect spawning ground for all-around players because it encourages each player to master all volleyball techniques and positions: passing, setting, hitting, blocking, digging and serving.
In the K.O.R.T. program, a middle hitter can develop confidence and skills to perform equally as strong as an outside hitter or a right side hitter. A libero can become comfortable enough to step in and lead the team as a setter or as an offensive threat on the front row. Confidence is the key component that most players lack in order to become a well-rounded athlete. If a player is only allowed to play front row the majority of the season, and at random is asked to step in as a key defensive player during a match, the athlete will struggle based on the lack of confidence and experience in that particular position. Repetition is the only way for a player to learn to trust their actions and instincts and to have the confidence to perform any task asked of them by their coach and their team. If each player is challenged in practice on each skill equally, game time line-up changes result in a higher success rate for the team and the player.
Yes, it is difficult to picture your tallest, strongest player leading her team in digs as a libero, but the K.O.R.T. program provides each player with the knowledge, and most of all the confidence, to be an all around player. A well-rounded player is a more valuable asset to a volleyball program than a one dimensional player that can only play one specific position. Each game is different. For a coach to be able to defeat any opponent placed before them at any given time, adjustments have to be made in order to match the opponent's strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
How does the program improve volleyball players over typical training methods?
The level of volleyball has increased in the past 10 years. Athletes are starting competitive club volleyball at 4th and 5th grade levels in order to make top teams in junior high. Both junior high and high school athletes are investing all of their free time into clinics, camps, clubs, and lessons in order to stay running with the pack. This program and the methodology behind it will propel KVA athletes ahead of the pack, by encouraging the development of ALL volleyball skills equally for every player.
Why is tracking an athletes' skill development important in volleyball?
Each player will be evaluated in the first weeks of practice, once the club season begins. These evaluations will test the initial abilities of each player, and assist in assessing the athletes' improvement over the course of their KVA season. All players have the ability to achieve the level requirements during each practice, skills session, or tournament. Coaches and staff will be equipped with tracking sheets to enter stats during each KVA training session.
Not all players will achieve K.O.R.T. program levels during the duration of their season with Knights Volleyball Academy. However, parents will receive “report cards” based on their child's development throughout the season. This "report card" allows parents and players to understand their strengths, weaknesses and level of improvement as the season progresses. Coaches will be able to use this tracking system to better plan and prepare for practices. For example, a coach with a team that shows low achievement in serve receive or defense as a collective whole, can reformat practice plans to carry a higher percentage of drills designed to improve those specific areas. This program is designed to not only track individual development patterns, but also provide team evaluations for coaches to better understand the overall developmental needs for the entire team. The coach will be able to prepare better practice plans, gearing them towards a team's weaknesses verses blindly organizing practices based on theory or assumption of weaknesses.
The K.O.R.T. program is also designed to help parents understand what you are paying for when you sign your daughter up for a club volleyball program. Playing time is not guaranteed it is earned. Some players may not see equal court time in each game during the season, but the development of each player is made known through our report cards and continual tracking of each player. The Knights want to enlighten parents and players of the improvements in skill development during the season regardless of playing time. Many parents and players rate playing time as a point of reference in regards to their daughter's abilities. Parents and players must take an active role in being self aware of their skills in comparison to their teammates. The monetary investment for a club team does not include a players playing time in tournaments. This fee encompasses things such as: practice time, coaching fees, tournament entry, uniforms and equipment. Playing time is determined from practices and team chemistry each tournament. This program enforces focus where focus should be directed, the individual player's skill development throughout their season. Each coach will do their best to get all players ample playing time over the season while still achieving the teams' goals.
What can I expect from my child participating in this program?
A parent can expect their child to finish the club season with an equal understanding of all aspects of the game of volleyball. We know that all athletes are different and some will naturally excel in certain areas over others based on body style, muscle development and mental understanding of the game. A KVA player will develop the confidence to play any position to the best of their ability, at any time. A player with KVA will also have a 6-8 month evaluation and progress chart to generate a better understanding of each player's strengths and weaknesses.
The K.O.R.T. Program will also provide a constant goal for each player to never be satisfied with "good enough" by offering 3 levels of achievement over their years with KVA.
Level #1 - Sword
The SWORD level is the first level in the Knights K.O.R.T. program. It signifies the tools necessary for each player to begin their well rounded volleyball career. It encompasses volleyball skills with conditioning and plyo-metrics to ensure each athlete has adequately began their core development as a utility player in the sport of volleyball.
Level #2 - Shield
The SHIELD level is the second level in the Knights K.O.R.T. program. It signifies the protective gear necessary for each player to hone & perfect their basic volleyball knowledge into a more mature and defined skill-set. It builds on the pre-established Level #1 core volleyball skills, conditioning exercises and plyo-metric movements. This level creates consistent, intelligent, and versatile volleyball players by enhancing basic skills into learned techniques and consistent shots based on varying opponents, defensive strategies, and offensive threats during each match.
Level #3 - Armor (the shining armor shields her & its brilliance inspires everyone around her)
The ARMOR level is the third and final level in the Knights K.O.R.T. Program. By the third level, the main characteristics of the all around volleyball player are well defined. The player achieving this level is a mounted warrior with rank and authority in any position on the volleyball court. They have learned and perfected the basics, honed and corrected their consistency with offensive and defensive systems and strategies, and now they are ready to compete at a competitive level in any position as a utility player.
Reaching the final level of our program signifies that a player has not only understood the methodologies of the game of volleyball, but they have also been able to put each technique in every position to use at a competitive level. All players achieving this level must first play one match in each of the 5 positions: Outside Hitter, Middle Hitter, Right Side Hitter, Setter, and Libero. Upon accomplishing all 5 positions during a match a player has rightfully acquired the final ARMOR award, labeling them a Sister in Arms by adding their name to the list of the Knights of the Round Table at KVA, and accepting their final reward.
Are players required to participate in the K.O.R.T. Program?
The program is paced at each athlete's goals. Each player will have the choice to achieve or not achieve the levels that KVA offers. Participation in the K.O.R.T. program requires a player to work on their own outside of KVA scheduled training to get the necessary touches required to complete each task per level. Knights Volleyball Academy will not require an athlete's participation but highly encourages athletes to take an active interest in their volleyball development. This program encourages self-motivation, which is key to improvement. A coach cannot be the sole motivation source for a team or a player. The initiative must be taken into the hands of the player to progress, advance and succeed above and beyond the given curriculum.
- Competitive Drive
- Strength & Power
- Mental Toughness
- Skills Development in All Areas of Volleyball
Once a level is achieved the athlete will be added to the roster and the associated reward will be distributed. All K.O.R.T. program rewards are unique and a player can only receive them by completing each designated level.
K.O.R.T. Team Achievement Award
There will be one award per season that can only be achieved by the entire team. The K.O.R.T. Team Achievement Award is only given to teams that meet the 7 requirements that we call “The 7 Virtues of a Knight”. This award will be presented when a team has bonded together to accomplish each of the 7 qualities listed below.
By reaching this achievement, a team knows they have accomplished what most teams only dream of in a short 6-8 month season. It takes every player on the entire team to claim our coveted K.O.R.T. Team Award. Each player will be given a special reward marking their outstanding team achievement for that season. Coaches will decide when these characteristics have been met as a collective whole. All players' names will be listed on our website under the K.O.R.T. program link where they will forever remain throughout the years.
As a former D1 collegiate athlete, I know what it takes to get a high school player into a collegiate program. I was a 5'11” middle blocker in a division 1 conference. I had to jump higher, and swing harder to defeat my opponents. I had to rely on an array of skills and volleyball knowledge rather than size. Competing against girls 6'4” and taller required me to create an offense that was unique, unstoppable, unpredictable, and undeniably better than that of my opponents. My coach used me as the utility player. One hit outside, three hits middle, two hits right side. I ran the front line in any position to open up the block for my team and shift the defense for the kill. The K.O.R.T. program KVA has designed follows the same philosophy for every player on the team. Create confusion, and open opportunities to defeat larger more skilled opponents. This makes line-ups impossible to predict, offenses smarter and harder to defend against, and defenses that are constantly changing. The K.O.R.T program will also provide any player an array of volleyball skills, making them versatile and more coveted for any collegiate athletic program.
- Shellie Ouldhouse, Samford University Middle Blocker, 1999-2003