The Potential Volleyball Club offers volleyball programs and activities in three different age categories: 18U, 15U and 12U.
Following the 16-month age category model that Volleyball Canada uses (see below) this programming format allows us to serve the largest age range possible, with the resources we currently have in place.
How to use this chart: Find your month of birth and move along that row (to the right), until you reach your year of birth. The age category at the top of that section is your age division.
If your year of birth is highlighted in yellow, then you have to decide whether you want to play up and age division, or stay down. (See rationale, below)
Rationale and Recommendations: The expansion of age categories from 12 months to 16 months is due to the research provided in the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) 2.0 document published by the Canadian Sport for Life group. The paper lists the 10 Key Factors influencing Long Term Athlete Development, of which "Developmental Age" is listed as point #3.
Information contained on the LTAD document about Developmental Age demonstrates the flaws of lumping athletes into their birth year for participation in sports. In short, the large physical discrepancies that can occur between youth within the same birth year create significant disadvantages for late developing male athletes and to a lesser degree, early developing females. Therefore, increasing the range of months within a competitive division gives athletes greater flexibility to choose a level that best suits their needs.
Some athletes born from Sept-Dec will benefit from choosing a younger division, while other athletes who play at an advanced level would benefit from the challenge of playing up an age category.
Athletes, parents and coaches should consider the short term and long term benefits of playing up or down an age category. If playing up provides the needed challenge for improvement, and there exists no significant social/emotional drawbacks in the older age category, the benefits of playing up far outweigh the drawbacks.