The A5 Difference
The Player Experience - Learning Life Lessons through Volleyball
Owing to the vision of our Founders, coupled with the selfless devotion of our leadership group, coaches and buy-in by our athletes and their parents, A5 achieved a high level of success in a very short period of time. By 2008, our third year of competition, our club was winning more Regional Championships and bids to the USAV National Championship tournaments than all other clubs in the Southern Region combined.
At that juncture the Board commissioned a five-year plan, outlining goals for the club and quantifiable metrics for measuring our progress. The following quote is taken from that document:
"A5's vision for the future is to earn a reputation on both qualitative and quantitative levels within the next five years such that we are considered by acclamation to be the finest Junior Olympic Volleyball Club in the South and one of the top ten in the nation."
With that goal in hand, commissioned a Benchmark study for the purpose of learning the Best Practices of the clubs who had already achieved national acclaim. We also put in place quantifiable metrics by which to measure our progress. From that framework, we offer the following summary of attributes that we believe differentiate A5 from most other Volleyball Clubs - "The A5 Difference".
- Consistent coaching is of course one of our core values, but its importance was reinforced during our benchmark study. Most clubs have a tryout and assign girls to a team and the coach teaches whatever he or she learned as a player. The best clubs in the land require their coaches to teach the same language, techniques, plays and culture from the time that they enter the club until they leave for college. A5 ascribes to this philosophy, and has a master coaching structure in place to help implement it. Additionally, A5 encourages and funds a variety of professional development opportunities for its coaches.
- A5 recognizes that the cost of playing club volleyball is high - out of reach for many families. So we've created revenue streams other than player fees. Indeed, 16% of the revenue generated by the club is from sources other than player fees.
- We also have a need-based financial assistance program in which we are able to help dozens of economically disadvantaged families with the cost of playing for our club. Concurrent with financial assistance, we provide multiple options for these and other families to earn money to help offset player fees.
- For our elite teams, the cost of travel exceeds that of player fees. So we've expended significant effort to bring the competition to us. We now host seven major tournaments throughout the club season•to include the Beast of the Southeast Invitational, which attracts top teams from throughout the Southeast.
- We learned from our benchmark study that bigger doesn't always mean better, so we never actually aspired to become a 65-team organization. That said, demand for elite volleyball training in the South is enormous, and experience suggests that GMA Atlanta is big enough to support three or four nationally elite clubs. So rather than expanding to incorporate local teams on the roster, we have chosen to expand geographically, through the incorporation of sister clubs, with the goal of these clubs, too, achieving elite status. A5 now has four sisters - A5 South in Peachtree City, GA, GA5 in Suwanee, A5 Chattanooga, and A5 Birmingham. Our goal is for the five A5 sisters to constitute five of the top clubs in the Southern region.
Rather than simply make such a claim, A5 measures its success with quantifiable metrics. And we don't judge ourselves solely on how our best teams perform in National competition; rather we evaluate our performance in a manner that is unprecedented within the Club Volleyball Community. Some of our success is enumerated in the "accomplishments" section of this website, but we provide the following summary for your convenience.
- Our desire as a club is to peak for the Regional Championships at the end of April. All of our teams aspire to win a Regional Championship, and most go deep into the tournament.
- By the end of the season, the Southern Regional Rankings are reasonably accurate indicators of a team's competitive success. Of 80 - 120 teams in a typical age bracket, we aspire for our top two teams to finish in the top five, with our third team in the top ten of the Southern Region.
- One of our goals as a club is to qualify ten or more teams for the USAV National Championship tournament.
- Most of the athletes that play for our club aspire to play in college, and one of our goals as an organization is to help every girl find her perfect fit.
- Qualitative success is important too, and we measure this through mid-season. We aspire to achieve a member satisfaction rating of 90% or better, and each year we receive several actionable reports of which we would not have been aware but for the existence of this anonymous tool.