National Participation Framework
The Australian Volleyball Federation is committed to the development of a National Participation Framework. This framework is aimed at increasing the national membership in the sport through the development of quality, nationally branded participation programs.
The concept of a national participation framework was identified in the late 1990s and was branded Discover Volleyball. The hope is that by creating a range of nationally branded participation programs within the Discover Volleyball framework that participation in the sport will not only increase, but the Australian Volleyball Federation will be in a stronger position to negotiate with corporate providers of the sport to affiliate their members in exchange for the opportunity to deliver nationally branded and known programs.
Current Status of Discover Volleyball
The first program to emerge as part of the Discover Volleyball framework was Spikezone - Discover Mini-Volleyball. This program was created with the support of the Australian Sports Commission as part of its Targeted Sports Participation Growth Program and was rolled out in 2003 in South Australia and Queensland. Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory began delivering this program in 2004, with the remaining two States - Tasmania and the ACT - included from 2005.
Based on the very successful mini-volleyball program that had been delivered by Volleyball South Australia since the early 1990s, this program is viewed as being capable of creating participation opportunties in the sport for primary school children that will significantly increase natioanl membership for this age group and could possibly account for half of all national membership by 2007 based on projections.
The key elements of the Spikezone program are the modifications to the sport that have been introduced to make it more conducive to the physical development of junior participants. These modifications include:
- a lower net - 2 metres high
- a smaller court - approximately 13 metres by 6.5 metres
- a softer, lighter ball
- less players on court to encourage greater participation by all
- modification of some rules to also encourage greater participation
For more information on Spikezone - Discover Mini-Volleyball go to the Spikezone website.
The Australian Volleyball Federation and Volleyball Queensland are presently working to develop a national participation program specific to high school students. This program is being developed with the support of funding from Sport & Recreation Queensland and will be available for national delivery from 2008/2009 following trials in Queensland in 2006 and 2007.
The Future for Discover Volleyball
While considerable work must still be completed to ensure that Spikezone achieves the results that it appears capable of delivering and the implementation of AUSpike in the coming years, attention must also be given to creating other programs within the Discover Volleyball framework. The special populations that have been identified as potential markets for programs within the framework include:
- social adult players;
- the masters age group;
- disability groups; and
- indigenous peoples.