LEARN OUR TEAM LEVEL SYSTEM
Buckeyefire Volleyball Levels of Play & Philosophies:
It's important to understand every volleyball entity has its own 'levels' and truly the names of those levels are irrelevant for player development and/or exposure. We too often get caught up in the 'National' tag always being best. It's not. You can read more about this in our FAQ section.
Here at Buckeyefire our levels speak to our foundational philosophy of building teams to a top level over time by focusing on the right level of challenge for each team's confidence level. As we build, add and climb in the rankings, we are building confident young ladies who are ready to take on any challenge that comes there way as sophomores, juniors and seniors.
This may be the most important part of our web site, as these levels are often named different things across the OVR, and in some cases it can manipulate a player into thinking they are playing at a higher level than they are. One of the simplest ways to verify a team's actual level in ANY club is to check their schedule. You can do this by going to our team pages and seeing each team's tournament schedule. If another club is claiming your team will be national, compare schedules to our Nuclear teams or even our higher-level American teams. You can't truly be on a "National" team and not attend the MEQ or NEQ, or the many large tournaments that are HIGHLY competitive that we attend. Keep in mind there is NO CRITERIA in the USAV or OVR that regulates calling your team National.
A great example of this is our last year's 14U venture. They improved SO MUCH and both teams performed great and showed amazing growth. At the end of the season, both teams finished around 38th American. With tryouts just a month after this finish, there is no moral reasoning for us to move these teams to a Nuclear level or call them National just to sign them and charge them an additional $500. Instead, we begin the process of mixing the two teams and preparing for a Nuclear/American set up in 2025 completely based on their growth with amazing coaches this year. Both our 15's coaches are successful JO coaches and both run High School varsity programs. They will work to turn that 38 into a top 10 so we can earn the next level. Why? It's the right thing to do!
Our levels of play are as follows:
This is our top level team best compared to National in the Ohio Valley Region. This team is ready to compete with National teams with a high level of success to take their confidence to the next level as well. The team is comprised of a mix of our best players that fit a needed role on that team. Nuclear teams are built first and any player being developed at the Fire level will always have the opportunity to be moved to our Nuclear level teams. In fact, it's the primary goal of our Fire coaches. Nuclear teams are scheduled for more practices, get a third uniform and practice tee, and play a whopping 18-20 tournament days. They travel more extensively playing in at least two major qualifiers (younger teams 13-14 will play the equivalent tournament days, but may not be in 2 USAV qualifiers do to distance of travel. Instead in larger tournaments to develop.) and also participate in available 'bid in' tournaments. Nuclear will have all that other clubs offer in the way of National including a very aggressive schedule.
Our fire level is the absolute foundation of our club. For many years our club has provided an amazing experience at the top of the American division. We challenge our Fire teams very hard. As younger JV players, we play some out of town and many in region tournaments at the American level. Our older teams still play in major tournaments such is the Indianapolis MEQ, Rock and Rumble, Steel City Freeze and more. This level best compares with other clubs 'Elite' teams. Fire teams play 14-16 days.
We don't always have a spark level. As a club with amazing experienced coaching and being small we fill all our teams with exceptional talent, the Spark level isn't often used. When we don't feel a team is ready to compete at the top of the American level, we may categorize them as Spark while we boost their confidence and get them ready to be 'Fire' players! Spark teams travel much less and still play between 10-12 tournament days.
The foundational levels we have created work well for our kids! Patience through solid growth and confidence building turn our 40 ranked teams into top 10 ventures in just a few years. The process in and by itself promotes players dedicated to building a team, becoming a confident leader, and experiencing top level play they earn. We don't stack teams here, we build them!
This year alone we moved two teams ranked in the 40's to top 5 ranked teams in the OVR. Our coaches are the best at actually developing players which is why being 'called National' is not a status that is important.