My name is Chuck Rey. I am the Head Volleyball Coach at Winthrop University. I have been coaching volleyball for over 15 years, 11 years at the Division I level, and been involved in the game for over 25 years.
I appreciate the growth of the volleyball, but believe there is room for so much more. In the 1980’s, when I first got hooked on the game, the AVP had a strong following with big sponsors and lots of television coverage.
Today, the beach game still has a good following with good sponsors, but the market has changed. It is a big challenge for not just volleyball, but all sports to capture a market that has so many choices from so many different mediums. To better capture the market, I believe the sport has to do a better job of organizing events so the public knows when and where those events happen. I’ve been in the game for 25 years and many times I don’t know when or where to watch a beach championship or a high-level indoor match. If I don’t know, how will the general public know?
I used to skateboard in the early 80’s. Skateboarding was able to take-off, in part because ESPN’s X-Games adopted it, but also there is a tangible item to sell – the skateboard (and all its parts). With ESPN and the physical skateboard to sell, that market boomed. Tony Hawk has done a whole lot better than Karch Kiraly (financially speaking). In volleyball, we just have a ball. CROSSNET can help to bridge this gap because it is a tangible item, portable and easy to set-up.
The sport of volleyball is ‘un-natural’. We don’t grow up bouncing a ball off our forearms and really needs at least 2 people to volley (yes ball and a wall can happen). Basketball doesn’t have that issue, we dribble a ball naturally and can shoot into a hoop by ourselves. These are all things volleyball needs to overcome to help our game continue to grow.
CROSSNET is in a great position to help overcome some of these obstacles. The company has done a great job marketing itself as a great outdoor game, but I also think it could be equally marketed as an indoor game. A nerf type ball and a lower net. Kids can play indoor (in their house) all day, parents can play with their kids on their knees. I do it now with my 4 year old twins, a balloon and a made-up net.
Keeping our #VolleyOn with @espn Top 10 plays from @WUEagles class of 2035. @AVCAVolleyball @usavolleyball #winthropvolleyball #everstand #espntop10 #twinlife #twinsvolleyball #intenserally pic.twitter.com/Sd57chNbyW— Winthrop Volleyball (@winthropvolley) April 1, 2020
A regular size CROSSNET could be played on an indoor court with a higher ceiling too. I’m sure the company is already moving in this direction.
The sport has made great progress, yet so much more to go. Look forward to having a professional volleyball league and maybe the good out of COVID-19 is recognizing how we need to expand our sports.