FAQs - Girls Program

What does a "Normal / Pre-Covid" Club Season Look Like?

Within our club are two programs: Elite and Premier.
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.  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 Volleyball League, which travels around different 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) in April.  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 in April as well. All Premier teams will practice 2 x's a week for 2 hours a practice. 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. / D1 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. The 2019-2020 season was cut short due to Covid.


What will the 2020-2021 Wildcat Jrs. / D1 season look like?
We are all aware of the unique circumstances heading into this season, and the bottom line is that we are committed to training our athletes to the fullest extent of our ability! We understand that there are some questions surrounding our merger and we want to assure you that EVERY athlete in our program, including NEW athletes to our program will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability in our Fall Training Session.

New this season, USA Volleyball has moved the official tryout date up a month earlier than the traditional club season tryout date in effort to allow players the opprotunity to keep training this Fall in the absence of a school season.  The new Tryout Date has been set as September 1st for girls volleyball and August 30th for boys volleyball for all USA Volleyball clubs  We know it feels strange to go thorugh "tryouts" since there is not competition allowed. We have worked extremely hard to build a comprehensive program that will stretch the length of a normal club season, while remaining sensitive to financial and safety constraints. 

Essentially, we are breaking our normal club season into three sections: Fall, Winter, and Spring.  When you tryout with our club on Sept 1st, you are committing to training with us for the full season. However, we have only detailed and priced out the first of the three seasons: FALL TRAINING. Our Fall Training Season is a 3 month "Pre-Season" that will lead up to to the potential full club season that traditionally begins in January and which would start our Winter season. The details for Winter and Spring are still TBD as we wait for further information on the IHSA high school season, updates from USAV regarding Qualifiers, and also the health departments and local officials' ruling on the state of competitive sports. The best thing we can tell you regarding Winter and Spring is that if we CAN compete - We Will. If we cannot, we will continue training and repeat the Fall Training season in the Winter and Spring.

 

What are the details and logistics of the Fall Training program?

  • Premier Program (12's - 18's) //  2 practices per week, from Sept. 15 - December 15, in-practice conditioning and plyos included during practices. Cost $825
  • Elite Program (13's - 18's)** // 2.5 practices per week, from Sept. 15 - December 15, professional plyomentrics, additional position training, college recruiting assistance. Cost $975  **Elite program players are commiting to participating in all three seasons: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Including competitons, should they be an option, such as out-of-state tournaments and AAU Jr. National Championships in June.

Both Programs will include Mental Skills Training and will be Led by some of the most accomplished coaches in the area, including current and former NCAA coaches and players.

Uniforms and Travel are separate from any fees/dues and are based on the ability to compete.


How many teams will Wildcat Jrs. / D1 have at each age group?
We will take as many teams as we believe we can responsibly train while maintaining the highest standards. We are planning for between 2 - 4 teams per age group per division (Elite and Premier/Regional). Teams will train together by program (Elite and Premier/Regional). Teams will be formed from within our Fall Training groups based on our standard criteria in preparation for future competitions. While we are not focused on an exact date to form the individual teams, we are projecting to form them toward the end of the Fall Training season in preparation for Winter competitions. 

 

What is the the difference between Wildcat Jrs. Premier and D1 Regional programs?
These two programs mirror one another, in terms of length of season, number of practices, and level of out of state travel. Therefore, through the messaging on the website/emails, feel free to use the terms "Premier" and "Regional" interchangably. 


When and where are the tryouts for Wildcat Jrs / D1?
Registration is OPEN! Tryouts for NEW 13's - 18's Elite and Premier programs are set for Tuesday, September 1st, at the Athletico Center in Northbrook.  Tryout infomation and details can be found HERE!

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. 


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. We believe it's important to make sure that each player is in a gym where they can develop at the fastest rate. Many players choose the Regional program as they are multi-sport atheletes and want to be able to focus on multiple sports. Other players are new to club volleyball and want a lighter/less intense program to start out. Either way, the level of training and resources provided to the players in our Regional program are second to none! Our staff and lead trainers pour over the volleyball curriculum at both the Elite and Premier/Regional levels and are passionate about the development of all of our players!

 

Can I tryout for both Elite and Premier/Regional programs at the same time?

All age group tryouts are run at the same time and location. Upon online registration, you wil be asked to select whether or not you want to be considered for the Elite program, the Regional program only, or Both. This allows our coaches to be able to evaluate the players based on their preference for a given program. We will also confirm this preference at tryout check-in in person. If we are not able to offer you a spot on the Elite Roster, we will automatically consider you for the Regional program, assuming you have indicated that interest.

 

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. If Covid allows, we will also offer a Spring season with a tryout in April as an additional opportunity to get involved with our club. 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 VolleyKIDS Youth Academy which is for grades 2nd - 5th and offered seasonly (Fall, Winter, Spring).


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.  USA Volleyball changed their age definitions effective for the upcoming season.  They have changed the September 1st cut-off to July 1st.  We will not "hold back players" that are now newly able to play with the year behind them. This new rule change allows players that were previously age waivered to compete with their peers in their grade level. 

 

Age Group Typically Born on or After
18 and Under 12th graders July 1, 2002
17 and Under 11th graders July 1, 2003
16 and Under 10th graders July 1, 2004
15 and Under 9th graders July 1, 2005
14 and Under 8th graders July 1, 2006
13 and Under 7th graders July 1, 2007
12 and Under 6th graders July 1, 2008
11 and Under 5th graders July 1, 2009
10 and Under 4th graders July 1, 2010

 


Is there a fee for the tryout? What do I need to bring?
NEW athletes to WCJ/D1 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. Unfortunately, the new USA Membership registration for the 20-21 season does not open until the day of tryouts, Sept. 1st. Please register with USAV the morning of Sept 1st (don't worry - we will send you a reminder email!).  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 are now OPEN! 


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. / D1 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. / D1 roster will be notified by email by the 9 am the following morning. 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 $300.00 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. 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.


I was selected to a team. What is my next step?
Players selected to a Wildcat Jrs / D1 team will be emailed a welcome letter with information on the next steps. Within 1-2 weeks after the tryout, a mandatory virtual Parent's Night will be held for all players and parents.  Parent's night information will also be listed below once confirmed. Practices are scheduled to start the week of September 14th!


How much does Wildcat Jrs / D1 cost?
This year’s PROJECTED cost breakdown will be available at the parent information meeting held the day of try-outs. We will be projecting costs of for the total length of the season. However, the Fall Training portion of that fee HAS been set adn will be specifically further detailed at the tryout (payment plans and dates, etc).  The cost of the Elite Fall Training program is $975 and the cost of the Premier Fall Training program is $825. The total cost of the year will be very similar or less than the cost of the full season club dues from last year. 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.


When are practices? How often do the teams practice? Where are the practices?
Exact practice schedules will be released the day before tryouts. Our 13's - 18's Elite teams practice 2.5 times per week on non-competition weeks, which includes 2 weekday practices and a Saturday or Sunday practice. Every Elite team will have one weekend per month completely off of competition and practice. We recognize that the club 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 main facilities are the beautiful Athletico Center in Northbrook, IL and the newly renovated Northfield Park District. We have also added the JCC "Z" Frank Apaci center, which is .5 miles west of the Athletico Center in Northbrook.


When are matches played? How often do teams play? Where do teams play?
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 Volleyball 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.

Due to COVID, competition is currently suspended for sports in Illinois. Until competition is allowed, Wildcat Jrs / D1 will host a variety of fun, intra-competition opportunities over the course of the season. Small team competitions 3 v 3, 4 v 4, etc. are amazing ways to develop well-rounded skills regardless of your position. The ability to compete in these small-team formats will pay off in our athletes when formal competition returns!


What is Wildcat Jrs. / D1 policy on parent involvement?
Wildcat Jrs and D1 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 / D1 team?
Yes, any athlete can participate in school athletics or other activities while playing for Wildcat Jrs / D1. 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 / D1 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 / D1 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?
Information on date/time will be sent in your welcome letter once you have been selected to a team during tryouts.