Frequently Asked Questions - Girls Program
What is the difference between Wildcat Jrs Elite and Premier Programs?
Elite teams will compete in 24-28 tournament days, including 3-4 highly competitive, multiday tournaments (overnights). Elite teams will practice 7 - 9 hours per week and will include intensive, weekly position training and plyometrics. Elite teams will compete in the Windy City Power League (the most competitve league in the midwest), 2 to 3 out-of-state events, and will attend the AAU Junior National Championships in Orlando, Florida in June. The elite season lasts 8 months, beginning in mid November and concluding in late June. Playing time is not guaranteed, but earned through performance.
Premier teams, which are offered for players 10's - 18's, will compete in the Chicago Power League, which travels around differnt gym locations in the Chicagoland area. Our 12's - 14's Premier teams will end their season with an overnight 2-day event in the midwest (Typically either in WI, IN or MI). Our 15's - 17's Premier teams will travel out of state once during the season, attending 1 mid-season "major" event and a sesaon-ending overnight compeition as well. All Premier teams will practice 2 x's a week for 2.0 hours a practice and their season lasts 6 months from November through April plus open gyms in October for our middle school age groups. Playing time is ensured in this program and, while still competitive, premier teams require a lesser time commitment. The Premier program is ideal for players new to travel club volleyball and players that are playing multiple sports and don't want to commit to the 8 month travel season.
For those players that wish to continue playing after the Premier season is finished, we offer a Spring season from May through mid-June. The Spring Program is open to all players (current Wildcat Jrs. and new players). The Spring season concludes with the Asics Jr. Championships (2 - 3 days depending on age level) held at Navy Pier in mid-June. Registration for this program will open in March and all players will need to attend the Spring season tryout in April. Over 90% of the players in our Premier program continued on with the Spring season in the 2018-2019 season.
Where do Wildcat Jrs. teams travel?
Both the Elite and Premier programs will play most of their tournaments in the Chicagoland area. The Elite program will include 3-4 out-of-state national tournaments, including the AAU championships in Orlando. Last season, our Elite teams traveled to Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Florida. Our Premier teams will travel out of state twice (once for the 12's - 14's), both will be driving distance events in the midwest. All Premier teams wil conclude with an out-of-state event for their season finishing tournament.
How many teams will Wildcat Jrs. have at each age group?
Wildcat Jrs. strives to be BETTER vs. bigger than the rest, therefore we put all of our resources and efforts into 2 teams per age group (12s - 18's) in the Elite program and 2 - 3 teams in the Premier programs. For example, in our 13's age group, we typically expect to have 2 Elite teams and 3 Premier teams, which would make five total teams for the 13's age group when counting both our Elite and Premier programs. As the 10s/11s/12s age groups are the entry point into travel volleyball, we do expand the number of teams offered each year. Number of teams for each age group will be determined during try outs.
When and where are the tryouts for Wildcat Jrs?
Registration will open on Sept. 1, 2019! Tryouts for our 10's - 14's Elite and Premier programs are set for October 6, at either Northfield Park District or the Athletico Center in Northbrook. Our 15's and 16's are set for Sunday, October 27 and our 17's and 18's will be on Sunday, November 3. For more information: Tryout Dates/Times/Locations
I cannot make a tryout date. What should I do?
If you know you can not make a tryout date, please contact Karen@wildcatjuniors.com. Important Note: If you are a freshman or sophomore playing on varsity, please contact Karen in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that after the final try-out date there are limited or no opportunities to make a team.
If I do not make an Elite team, what are my options?
We offer both Elite and Premier programs in each of our age groups. In our 13's and 14's age groups, our Elite and Premier program tryouts are run at the same time in the same location. Our 15's & 16's age groups, the Elite and Premier tryouts are run separately. Girls interested in being considered for both Elite and Premier programs need register for the ELITE program and select "would like to be considered for Premier" during the registration process. As our 15/16 Premier tryout is run separately, players that are not selected into the Elite program are required to return and tryout for the Premier program. You will keep the same tryout t-shirt and number, but will receive a new evaluation specific to the Premier Tryout.
If I do not make a Premier team, what are my options?
Unfortunately, we do need to make cuts in our Elite and Premier programs. However, we offer camps/clinics/lessons through out the year that are open to all players. We also offer a Spring season with a tryout in April as an additional opportunity to get involved with Wildcat Jrs. For our youngest players, we are able to offer all players the opportunity to train several times a week, all year long through our popular VolleyKITS Youth Academy.
I don't know what age group my daughter should tryout for? How is that determined?
For the large majority of players trying out, your age group will follow your grade. However, Sept 1st is the cut off, so if your daughters birthday is close to Sept. 1 and she is "old for her grade", please double check the official age requirement in the chart below. It is VERY important that you send your daugther to the correct age group tryout. (Updated 8/14/19):
|Age Group||Typically||Born on or After|
|18 and Under||12th graders||September 1, 2001|
|17 and Under||11th graders||September 1, 2002|
|16 and Under||10th graders||September 1, 2003|
|15 and Under||9th graders||September 1, 2004|
|14 and Under||8th graders||September 1, 2005|
|13 and Under||7th graders||September 1, 2006|
|12 and Under||6th graders||September 1, 2007|
|11 and Under||5th graders||September 1, 2009|
|10 and Under||4th graders||September 1, 2009|
Is there a fee for the tryout? What do I need to bring?
Each athlete must register online and pay the $40 tryout fee. Once you have registered and paid online, your next step is to make sure you have a current USAV (USA Volleyball) membership. See the Tryout Information Page for further instructions and information. Each athlete needs to bring tennis shoes, knee pads, athletic clothing (spandex recommended), and a water bottle.
Do I need to register online for the tryout? If so, how do I do so?
Yes, online registration and payment is required. Registration for tryouts will open the first week in September. Click here to register to reserve your spot at the tryout.
What will I be doing at the tryouts?
After the athletes check-in, they will immediately begin with their tryout. There will also be an informational parents meeting at the start of the tryout as well as a Q & A session for the parents. Athletes will be taken through three phases during the tryout: physical tests to determine athletic ability, drill testing to evaluate overall skill, and then game simulation drills where we will be looking at team leadership, court awareness and overall game play.
How does Wildcat Jrs. select players?
While natural ability is a plus, what we really look for in our athletes is coachability, aggressiveness, a positive attitude, consistent communication on the court, commitment and athleticism. We want to see the drive in each player to become better everyday. Unfortunately, we do have to make cuts. We want to make sure that our rosters are at no more than 11 players and that our teams are competitive. In the case that more than one team is selected per age group, we will not select the final teams until we evaluate the players during the first 1 to 2 weeks of practice.
When will I know if I made a team?
Players selected to a Wildcat Jrs. roster will be notified by email within an hour after the tryout. Players selected to a roster will have a spefic time frame in which to accept their position on a roster by submitting an online payment of $400.00 which will be applied towards the first dues payment. Positions not accepted by this time frame will be offered out to players chosen as Alternates. We ask for this first payment right away because most all tryouts are occuring at the same time. Because we are smaller than most other clubs and have a finite number of teams that we are willing to run, we are very careful about selecting the appropriate number of players with the goal of 10 - 11 per team. Players that are chosen as alternates for our program are usually offered positions in other clubs that are also waiting on responses from them. Because of this quick timeline, we ask that you please do your research and ask any questions you may have before the tryout process begins so that you are prepared to accept your position once the team selection has been announced.
My high school varsity team is still competing in the post season. Can I still try out?
It is very important that you contact Karen (email@example.com) before the tryout, if there is a chance that your varsity team will still be competing in the IHSA state tournament at the time of the tryout. If your varsity team is still in season or competing in post-season play, you are still required to come to the tryout to submit your registration paperwork so that we can evaluate those that are trying out accordingly. You will not be asked to participate in any physical evaluation until your team has been eliminated from the IHSA tournament.
I was selected to a team. What is my next step?
Players selected to a Wildcat Jrs team will be emailed a welcome letter with information on the next steps. Within 1-2 weeks after the tryout, a mandatory Parent's Night will be held for all players and parents. Parent's night information will also be listed below once confirmed.
How much does Wildcat Jrs cost?
This year’s cost breakdown will be available at the parent information meeting held the day of try-outs. You may also contact Karen@wildcatjuniors.com if you have an immediate question. Our dues are very competitive with other programs in the area, especially given what you will get in return. Dues are paid in two installments. Other fees include a uniform package and travel expenses (vary depending on the program).
Who will be my coach? Do you know who will be coaching which team?
Yes! We are finalizing our coaches list right now, but it will be updated and released before the tryouts. We are very proud of our coaching staff and feel that we absolutely have the strongest coaching staff in the area. We encourage you to check out our staff page where you can see our coaches' profiles.
How long is the season at Wildcat Jrs?
Our Elite program will run from mid-November through the end of June. Our Premier program will run from mid-November through April. Youth open gyms will be offered for our 12's - 14's during October until the official season starts. We also offer a short Spring season to our Premier players that wished to continue on, and more than 90% of our Premier players from last season chose to continue on with our Spring Season. This Spring season continues to practice 2 days a week and finishes with a multi-day tournament at Navy Pier in mid-June.
When are practices? How often do the teams practice? Where are the practices?
Exact practice schedules will be released at parents night. Our 14's - 18's Elite teams practice 3 times per week on non-competition weeks, which includes 2 weekday practices and a Saturday or Sunday practice. Our 13's Elite teams practice 2 times per week, both practices being during the weekdays. New this season: every Elite team will have one weekend per month completely off of competition and practice. We recognize that the 8 month season is long and we want our players (and parents!) to stay fresh and energized through the duration of the year. This weekend off each month allows our players some family/study/travel time to just be kids and enjoy a weekend to recharge. For our Premier program, practices are 2 times a week and may consist either of two weekday practices or one weekday and one Saturday/Sunday practice. Our two home facilities are the beautiful Athletico Center and the newly renovated Northfield Park District.
When are matches played? How often do teams play? Where do teams play?
One of the distinct opportunities for our club is that because we do not practice at a facility that is used to run tournaments, we are able to hand select the tournaments that we enter based on what is best for our players. We work hard to find the best competition, a variety of competition and college exposure for our athletes rather than filling a hosted event. Wildcat Jrs. participates in USAV sanctioned (USA Volleyball) tournaments and events as well as AAU (Athletitc Amateur Union) Tournaments, which are held on Saturdays and/or Sundays around the Chicagoland area. Our Premier teams will compete in the Chicago Power League, while our Elite teams will compete in the Windy City Power League, which is now the most competitve league offered in the midwest. Elite teams will also travel to tournaments throughout the country that offer a great deal of college recruiting exposure and competition.
A typical tournament day will consist of either a morning wave or afternoon wave of play. Morning waves typically start with the first match at 8:00 am and end with the last match at 2:00 pm. Afternoon waves usually start with the first match at 3:00 pm and the last match at 8:00 pm. Most Chicagoland events are within an hour's drive and players are expected to be at the gym an hour before the first match begins. While dates of our tournaments/leagues are released on Parent's Night, information on what wave the teams will be playing in is not released until the week before the event. Specific practice and tournament schedules will be distributed on Parents Night.
What is Wildcat Jrs. policy on parent involvement?
Wildcat Jrs. prides itself on our relationship with our parents. We have an open door policy with our parents and encourage our parents to communicate with our staff. The open door policy does not exist during tournaments and practices, as we feel a neutral time is the best for staff/parent discussions. We encourage parents to support their daughter, their coach, and the athletes on her team. We are proud to have the best club parents around!
Can my daughter play school sports, such as basketball, and still play on a Wildcat Jrs team?
Yes, any athlete can participate in school athletics or other activities while playing for Wildcat Jrs. The athlete will not be penalized for missing practice as long as the conflicts are communicated well in advance. Missed practices can be made up with an alternate team. At the elite levels, all major tournaments are mandatory, regardless of extracurricular activities.
What is Wildcat Jrs philosophy on playing time?
We believe playing time is earned, not given. Our dues guarantee the athlete quality coaching, practice time, registration and training. Playing time is determined by the coach based on several criteria - practice, attitude, game performance & skill. Every player has the opportunity to prove themselves at practice. Wildcat Jrs is a competitive volleyball environment and the teams are administered that way.
In our Premier programs, we offer a 30% rule - which is a goal for our coaches to ensure each players earns playing time in at least 30% of the games played in a tournament. Coaches' discretion will be used in relation to injuries, attendance, as well as player attitude, etc.
When is Parent's night and what forms do I need to bring?
Parent's Night is held in mid October for the 12's - 14s and mid November for the 15's - 18's. Information on date/time will be sent in your welcome letter once you have been selected to a team during tryouts. There are four items that you need to fill out and bring with you:
- 2020 USA Volleyball registration card. **Please register for a 2020 Full junior membership with USA Volleyball, if you have not done so already. You can upgrade your tryout membership to a full membership, or if you printed out your 2019 membership for the tryout, you need to return and purchase a full 2020 membership. You will also need to designate Wildcat Jrs as your club. Players will not be eligible for practice without this completed step.
- USA Volleyball Medical History and Release Form. **NOTE: You may have already filled out this information when your completed your USA Volleyball membership. You can just bring a copy of this form to the parent's night, or you can print a new form out and fill out by hand. This is separate from the waiver needed for the tryout, so all players must have a copy of this form brought to Parent's Night.
- Parent/Player Contract
- Dues may either be paid in person on Parent's Night by check or online by credit card through your Wildcat Jrs. account.