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Atlanta Volleyball Meetup Group Message Board The Atlanta Volleyball Meetup Group Discussion Forum › Volleyball Skill Levels - How do I determine my level?

Volleyball Skill Levels - How do I determine my level?

Roswell, GA
Post #: 25
In all areas of the country there are primarily 5 levels of adult volleyball competitiveness. They are Beginner, B, BB, A, and AA. (Well, there are 6 if you add in professional/Olympic.) These are classifications that are used by USAVolleyball­, the United States' governing body for adult non-professional volleyball.

I googled around the web to find definitions for these levels and could not find any. This is an attempt to define these classifications.

If one were to call themselves a BB player, that may be interpreted differently if they were in, say, Hawaii or Southern California than if they were in Georgia or South Carolina. No offense to GA or SC but things are different around the country in volleyball. But generally, the definitions below can be used. I encourage you to please discuss this if you feel differently.

Recreational- A "Recreational" player is a Beginner. A Recreational player should know the basics of volleyball, and played some volleyball before, but he/she is just beginning to bump, set, and spike. A Recreational player should not RSVP to an event which includes "BB" or "A" level or Advanced players.

B- - A "B" player is still in the early learning stages of the game but knows the skills. A "B" player knows how to bump, set (a little), and spike. But a "B" player has a lot of practice yet to go to be able to do these skills consistently. A "B" player makes mistakes often.

BB- A "BB" player knows where to be on the court at all times when plays are developing. He/she knows where to be when the opponent is hitting. A "BB" player knows the footwork of and how to approach hitting effectively. A "BB" player knows how to run a 5-1, a 6-2, and needlessly, a 4-2. To see videos of BB level volleyball click here or here.

A- An "A" player is somewhere between "BB" and "AA". They know all the skills extremely well but cannot always execute the super-high level plays extremely effectively all the time. "A" players can run combination plays in a basic way if passes are good. That includes slides, tandems, x's, crosses, and back-row hitting.

AA- Nearly Olympic. Or at least able to dig an Olympic Player's attack hit or able to once in a while put a ball down as a hitter against an Olympic Team. OK. No one can ever put a ball down against an Olympic defense. But an adult AA team of players would be able to beat a college Division I team of their same sex at least some of the time.

In terms of the Atlanta Volleyball Meetup, an Intermediate level would generally be B and BB. An Advanced level would be "BB", "A", and "AA". (We have not had any "AA" level meetups yet... anyone want to start one?

Do these seem like OK definitions of the levels?
Roswell, GA
Post #: 2
This seems accurate to me and agree with the level descriptions!
user 4678071
Thousand Oaks, CA
Post #: 19
In reality, how does this translate into leagues/levels here in Atlanta?

Also, what's the difference between Power and Intermediate play?
Roswell, GA
Post #: 26
Maybe gyms should use this nomenclature when describing their leagues? Power and Intermediate are nebulous terms. Are there only two levels? Are these two levels just two of more? For example, the Power coed league I play in I would describe as Intermediate.

When talking about AA, A, BB, and B, I was defining those levels as they may be used by USAV, or the larger volleyball community in the USA. I have noticed that people sometimes describe themselves with one of these terms but I think they may misunderstand what the terms actually mean.

What do you think?
A former member
Post #: 4
I think consistent play is important and court savvy and that is a BB and up player. Anticipation is another side of a BB player. I can live with the levels and that's why other sports like tennis use them. In volleyball though you can always get better quickly because you won't want to be the weak link. Thanks for the clarification from your sources.
Chad H.
Alpharetta, GA
Post #: 15
These levels are great. I just wish there was more organized leagues to use them on. If v-ball had the membership that Alta did. WOW I would be happy. But back to the point.
This is a great ranking and your right on one point Bob. BB and A mean different things in California. X's and Tandems are practically taught in grade school in Cali. We used to do them at the middle school level. Out here V-ball is a foreign language, I dont even see complex plays being run at the club level.

So where do these rankings fit? Hard to say since there can be a vast knowledge and different positions a person can actually be at different levels. Knowledge wise I am on the A level, I know alot about the sport and yes I know how to run all of those nice little plays. Executing them is different because I can't jump or hit like I used to. But then again ive always been a setter, not really anything but that. So as a setter, I am A-level and I know I can play even at the Jr olympic level without fear.
Now as a hitter, blocker, digger, sure IM BB level. But as I said, I have never been the big hitter, always the setter.

Now back to Atlanta. I know people who CALL themselves BB level or even B level and they dont even understand the basic bump-set-pass and unfortunately we have alot of players in atlanta like that. Its understandable because of the lack of training and experience. Something I wish I could change.

So here is my 2cents.
As far as leagues go, if it says BB, its intermediate/beginner. If it says its POWER, it means its people who are BB and now how to play. So if your a beginner and think you did well at a company picnic so you think your ready to jump into Power, think again please. Power is high level of play with organized teams, or it should at least be.

This here is the problem. Leagues do not use the ranking system properly, heck they are probably just happy to get warm bodies on the court. So they grab some people who think they can play, take their money and slap the title "power" on it. (sigh) Its a sad situation. What ends up happening is one team dominates which is what is happening right now in Sandy Springs and let me tell you after a while it gets old.

So whats the solution? There needs to be some USAV clinics. Somehow somewhere. Find the money, find something. There needs to be more training clinics. I mean USTA has clinics, why cant we?
We need them to sponsor more open volleyball gyms. We need more open play not less.
The USAV has really and truly failed atlanta and this region. I mean this board has 5oo members on it and it grows every day. There is obviously a market for it. Even if its sand in the summer, lets get this going. It is far beyond time.
user 10269811
Canton, GA
Post #: 5
Hey Bob,
I think your description of the levels is very accurate. In my humble option the problems with rating ones self lies in three areas, an honest evaluation of the talent pool, men vs women and indoor vs outdoor play.
When I started playing in the early 80's there were about 10 AA/Open male players in the metro area even though there were many times the number of active players. This meant they were in the top 1% of players in the city. And only about a half dozen ladies in the top divisions and most of the ladies played A or BB with male partners in the men's divisions . Now I can only think of one Open level male player in Atlanta (I'm sure there a a few I don't know)and I'm not sure he's still active. Just because you play in an A/open tournament doesn't make you an A player. And yes I've played in A level tournaments and even fared well in them. And when enough B or BB players like myself enter the higher division it waters them down. What seems to happen is B level teams start jumping up a level to avoid a pool with a rec level team when most tournaments don't offer the rec division. And then the it domino's its way up the rankings. So as a rule you're likely to be one level lower than you think.
Personally I consider myself a B level player who has BB skills in one or two of the basic 5 skills. Plus the fact that I know "how" to play the game lets me play in games with more physical talented BB player without embarrassing myself too much or bring the level down much. However, as a B level guy I think I compare favorably with A level ladies when we play. It's not as apparent now as when I was younger, but the strength and quickness advantage usually allows guys to play about one level higher than ladies who has superior skills ie: A level ladies = BB mens. Again this is just opinion.
Finally indoor vs outdoor, most solid indoor players can take there game outside and stay near their level of play. Not so for the indoor player moving inside. While he may have the skills of lets say a BB player but he'll tend to be out of position enough to cause problems for his team and cause his teammates to play tentatively because they don't know where he's going to be so I'd say if an outdoor player is moving to the hard court he should rate himself at least one level lower than his outdoor ranking.
I guessing this will cloud things up more than clearing them up. But it's just opinion and I wouldn't loose sleep over it. If someone does come up with a way to solve the rating or ranking in Atlanta I'll buy him a drink.
A former member
Post #: 1
Thanks for posting. Very helpful!
Mark A.
user 6458893
Austin, TX
Post #: 9
This isn't relevant to the vast majority of sand volleyball players out there. The BB skill level in the top post is a higher play level than at least 98% of the sand players I've seen in Atlanta. It is much more relevant to know if you are a C level, C+, B-, B, B+, or B/BB player. B- players can't hold their own with B/BB players -- they will not win a single game. The game is that much different the more you know. Some people are already decent atheletes and are fast learners. Others are slow learners (myself included!) C players who aren't trying to learn how to be team players and improve to B level aren't going to be welcome in those games at all. Anyone who has progressed to the BB level described in this post is far, far beyond questions like this. It is much better to rate yourself as I described above which is really 6 levels before you even get to BB.
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