devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Volleyball a highly subsidised niche elite sport

Posted by devo on September 7, 2009

I’ve been away from home for a few days. I’m scanning through 100 odd emails, RSS feeds  and alerts. This one kind of sprung out at me.

These multicultural sports surely hold more appeal than the millions of dollars we spend on highly subsidised, niche elite sports such as volleyball. Most people care about volleyball for only 10 minutes every four years – and even then only if the sport rises above the din of other Olympic events. (Can anybody name an Australian volleyball player?)

Popular sports can afford to support themselves, and sports that are unpopular do not necessarily deserve to be propped up by taxpayers’ money. Australian athletes will continue to dominate many international competitions. As consumers of sport, we will be drawn to their success. Let’s leave it there. Why subsidise Cold War-style nationalism? more @ Bisbane Times

54 Responses to “Volleyball a highly subsidised niche elite sport”

  1. Andrew Rumbelow said

    We need to start a “Volleyball Revolution” and bring out all people who play the game at all levels – and show this person (and everone else)how many are involved in Volleyball across Australia. Unfortunately the membership numbers from each state do not (in any way) reflect how many play Volleyball. A massive database could do a huge amount for our sport – greater chance of development grants, sponsorship, website advertising, the ability to communicate to the greater VB Community, more competitions, the list goes on!

    “Join the Revolution Now”!

  2. Troy M said

    I am sure that we could discard our sports funding, but I would imagine that the relatively minor amount of money that is allocated to ASC yields considerable returns and it would be incredibly risky to take a gamble and remove that funding.

    One of the returns we get from sport is in the form of economic stimulation via tourism – whether direct (in the form of hosting events) or indirect (making Australia more appealing by creating a perception we are a sporty nation – whether it is wrong or right, as opposed to nations like England, South Africa or New Zealand which tend to be associated with less desirable things such as bad teeth, bad crime and too many sheep respectively).

    Secondly, you would assume that having elite athletes representing their nation inspires some people to exercise. They banned cigarette advertising because it encouraged people to smoke, so you would assume that advertising sports might encourage some people to participate in sport?

    Thirdly these elite athletes, once they begin to receive endorsements, contracts, deals etc, I am sure will subsidise the economy in the form of taxes. I have no idea if the taxes collected from elite athletes comes close to the 220 million, but the money the government collects in the form of fuel excise, vehicle registration and road tolls are used to subsidise the costs of maintaining our roads. Surely it is not that outrageous to have some of the taxes collected from athletes used to subsidise exercise.

    The government subsidises many minority groups whether they are elite athletes, indigenous population, rural populations, farmers, students, low income families etc etc. If this person had it their way would we also be depriving these other minority groups of their ‘special’ treatments? Or would we recognise that each group represents an integral piece of making our nation tick and subsequently look at the allocation of the peoples money as an investment?

    If this journalist actually believed in what they were saying then they would also support scrapping the dole, medicare, ausstudy (or whatever it is called now) and the pension. Perhaps the students, unemployed and elderly can also afford to support themselves, and students, unemployed and elderly that are unpopular do not necessarily deserve to be propped up by taxpayers’ money.

  3. markleb said

    Firstly, the guy who wrote the article is not a journalist (read his qualifications at the bottom of the article). He was writing about some very specific points to do with sports funding and not making any implications about any other kind of government funding. To equate government funding for sport with government funding for social security or minority is at best spurious.
    Secondly, the point he was making is a valid point. The reason that government funding for sport exists is basic nationalism. Sport is funded by governments to promote that country in the world. The place of nationalism in our current world culture is an interesting discussion and sport is probably the second most visible form of nationalism (after war). For volleyball, the reality is that our society doesn’t value volleyball very highly (how much money does the entire sport gain through sponsorship compared to a single AFL club?). Volleyball gets its money because the government values (not very highly, but values) the promotion it gets outside Australia through its volleyball teams. If it is not getting promotion (eg through participation in events the whole world looks at) then by definition, there is no reason to fund it.
    Thirdly, Troy makes some good points about inspiring people to exercise and the value of the entire ‘sports economy’ that is generated through government funding. I’ve often thought that that should be included in any discussion, however, the reality is that they are not taken into account. The funding of sport is very specifically directed towards Olympic medals. Funding bodies are very open about this. It is almost solely about nationalism.
    Fourthly, taking up Andrew’s point, I recently saw the figures of registered volleyball players in Australia. According to those figures, the participation rate in Australia has dropped by something like 30% in three or four years!! This is mind boggling. If they are correct, then Australian volleyball has much more to worry about than whether the small minority of performance players get government funding. Soon the performance players will be the majority. And then everything will be simpler.
    Join the revolution…

  4. Troy M said

    The author is suggesting that sports should be self sufficient and “do not necessarily deserve to be propped up by taxpayers’ money”, then that is fine, but it should be an across the board policy with government spending and not limited to sport. There are much more trivial expenditures by the government than sport, and these should be given the axe long before sport funding is even touched on.

    The author has tried to view sport funding from an economics perspective but has done so in a very one dimensional, short sighted manner by failing to considering the trickle down effects of the funding.

    The point I was getting at before was not that social welfare is directly comparable to sport funding, rather that the government frequently allocates funds to projects which will only benefit a fraction of the population directly. I imagine that the government would not be quite as short sighted as the author was and would allocate these funds with the knowledge that they will benefit society as a whole in the long run. So if this person who apparently has little interest in sports funding would like his $10-20 a year or whatever it is that he as an individual contributes to the ASC funding spent somewhere else, I would suggest that he consider that it is very likely that there are people out there who are contributing money to subsidise something that he might consider important.

  5. Steve said

    It is worth keeping in mind who this guy is.

    The IPA is conservative (from a political standpoint) so attacking labor party funding and immigration initiatives is to be expected.

    Leaving that aside the article makes some good points while being significantly flawed in other areas. The link below shows ASC funding for 2009/10

    I suspect the reason volleyball got picked on is because all the sports that are better funded than us perform reasonably well on the international stage. The obvious exception to this rule though is soccer. It gets the most funding of any sport but socceroo performances are not really any better than our indoor team at the Olympics or World Championships. This also destroys his assertion that popular sports can afford to fund themselves. Clearly soccer can not, unlike AFL, Rugby etc (which still get $500,000 or so each). The difference of course is that soccer has a profile that we do not.

  6. Caveman said

    The number of players that are registered in some states of Australia may not be absolutely correct if you know what I mean.
    That way they (the State Body/ies) can collect registrations and spend it on what they want, rather than giving the true number of players to the AVF.
    While this may not be true of all States I am sure that it is of some.
    I would love to know which of the state the number of players registered has supposedly fallen. It would very interesting indeed, for I am sure that once these figures are out in the open that there would be a lot said of them by people in the know !

  7. Steve said

    Hey Caveman, who was on the grassy knoll?

  8. devo said

    A quick look at the volleyball Australia site and you find:

    With nearly 20,000 registered volleyball players in Australia

    Over the past ten years, our traditional sporting structures have been challenged by commercial operators who are offering modified, pay and play versions of sport. According to Roy Morgan research, there are over 500,000 people playing volleyball in Australia, yet we capture only a very small percentage of them in the organised sporting system.

    2007-08 Registered Membership
    ACT 469
    NSW 1714
    NT 40
    QLD 2978
    SA 2299
    TAS 260
    WA 903
    VIC 2846

  9. Our government subsidises a lot of things that are far from world class – Cinema, Television and auto manufacturing come to mind. We also spend a lot of money on defending ourselves from threats that are unlikely. If you look at the figures, swimming is heavily subsidised. It does win a lot more high profile medals, but it still obviously can’t prop itself up.

    As sure as the french pour money into the arts to be recognised on the global stage, we spend it on sports. its good marketing for us to have australians represented at the high level of every sport.

    Doesn’t matter what results volleyball gets, so long as enough of us vote for it, it’s not going away.

    Andrew Rumblelow, that revolution is never going to happen. I’ve stopped waiting for it.

    As Antonio Gramsci observed, you’ll never win the war of manouvre without winning the war of position, and that’s a war we haven’t been winning for quite a while.

    Participation in the sport hasn’t dropped. Just the affiliation with Organised” volleyball. Your constituents are out there:

    you just have to win them back and energise them into action. I’m skeptical that selling discounted volleyball gear will do the trick.

    you just

  10. Eldo said

    If we take our love of the greatest game in the world out of it, you would nearly have to agree with this right wing nut when he said.

    “Popular sports can afford to support themselves, and sports that are unpopular do not necessarily deserve to be propped up by taxpayers’ money”.

    Although I know our sport is NOT propped up by tax payers money, it is perhaps not being honest with itself and the AVF.

    Taking the state membership and using the Australian Bureau of Statistics for population in states the same year we find the folLowing.

    .005% of Australia’s population ACCORDING to our beloved State ED’S play volleyball.

    .002% in NSW
    .004% in WA
    .013% in ACT
    .018% in NT
    .055% in Vic
    .072% in QLD
    .145% in SA

    Looking at these figures one must determine that,
    either Volleyball SA are the powerhouse of Australian volleyball
    or, they are honest for declaring their full membership
    OR they are stupid for declaring their membership.

    I think the answer is number 2.

    The figures also show that the Australian Schools Cup is responsible for 35% of the national volleyball membership of our whole counrty. DOES ANYBODY REALLY BELIEVE THAT?
    The figures also show that nearly 10% of one states membership entire membership plays State Junior Volleyball.
    WOW – That is some junior development program. One state player for every 10 volleyballers in the state.

    The AVF and we as its members are being ripped off.
    It is about time some of the senior volleyball people in this country
    sorted this confidence trick out and got some honesty numbers from their own states.

    Do we need or want the AVF to look like they are just representing school kids in a very very very minor sport.

    The right wing radical above asked “Can anybody name an Australian Volleyballer”?
    The next question could well be can anybody name the AVF registered volleyball?

    Why OUR states blocked the new governance model proposed by the Australian Sports Commission and the AVF is beyond me. Hello out there true believers, are we where this great sport should be in Australia?

    11,249 members, Give me a break.
    There are more registered darts player.

  11. Morbo said

    Eldo, can you please give more insight into this point?

    “Why OUR states blocked the new governance model proposed by the Australian Sports Commission and the AVF is beyond me. Hello out there true believers, are we where this great sport should be in Australia?”

    • Alan said

      Having sat through the AVF AGM last October and watching respectable State representatives give the AVF board due questioning over their questionable decision making I can understand why the states block the governance model.

      As much as I am extremely critical of VVI I walked away from the National AGM extremely frustrated and annoyed that poor process in budgeting and a lack of due diligence in their approach was rampant in our National body. I can understand why VVI does not leap at the model.

      Belatedly, I congratulate those states who questioned the AVF Board on their decision making. Having the relative clout that VVI has unfortunately we were not one of them!

      • Morbo said

        And that governance model was what exactly?

        • devo said

          see: Volleyball Australia

          • Eldo said

            The governance model is based on a structure like McDonalds with a corporate structure with branch offices in each state.

            It is acknowledged that our states have a rapid turnover of staff.
            The level of effectiveness in all states is cyclical with some states performing well and some performing badly and a bi-annual basis.

            In 25 years of attending national meetings all national meetings go to a fixed pattern.

            STEP 1: All states meet with the all mistrust built up since the last meeting.
            STEP 2: After one day of tree hugging we all love each other again.
            STEP 3: We all agree to cooperate nationally eg national data base, all states adopting the same accounting package, numerous agreements on national magazine deals, membership packages, spikezone, national juniors going divisonal etc etc etc.
            STEP 4: We all go home and double cross the AVF and our memeber states ASAP.
            STEP 5: We do it all again next year.
            STEP 6: We do it all again next year.
            STEP 7: We do it all again next year.

            The adminstration of volleyball (to be brutal) in Australia is not much better than when volleyballers Wally Lebedew and others sat around a kitchen table and formed the AVF. The governance structure has not changed. We are still held back by the weak states whoever that is in the cycle.

            No matter what we do we cannot get decent national programs running.
            To move forward we have to have national programs running.
            There is no point having ACT working fantastically if STATE? is not working
            Despite all good intentions nationally it is impossible to get agreement from all states.

            We are much like the United Nations. We only need 1 veto and we are stuffed.

            The new model saw states taken over by the AVF and they run the show like a large company.

            I agree with frustrations felt towards the AVF but what have we got to lose?
            We have not progressed in the last 30 years. (Except for the Men’s and AIS beach programs.

            AVL was better 20 years ago. We had much bigger crowds and TV.
            National juniors was about the same.(My view it was better then)
            The National Beach tour is exactly the same as it was 20 years ago (nothing)

            The Australian Sports commission with all their advice suggest that volleyball should adopt this model. It was I thought a condition on them bailing us out finacially.

            Of course there will be one group of state board members in
            SA, NSW, WA, VIC, TAS, NT, ACT or QLD who think they can do better and will want to protect their little insignificant patch.

            Have a look around guys.
            Volleyball has a participation rate of .002% in our biggest state and .005 nationally.
            A insignificant school event is responsible for 35% of our members.

            • good god. i knew about the staff turnover but know idea how bad the problem was. maybe we need the vote to go to the members in a general referendum.

              I had no idea about the proposed model, and if this forum is of any indication, neither do the wider volleyball public in oz. We can’t not know about these things being on the table!

              Maybe we need to have people explain the model in each state. It’d at least be a good chance to get back in touch with the base.

              • Eldo said


                The solution proposed by the Australian Sports Commission does not get past the States.

                Without volleyball magazines it’s possibly hard to see how it could actually get past the states and to their members.
                Devo’s blog was not around when the proposal was put.

                The rank and file volleyballer just want good quality matches in good quality competitions.

                The rank and file possibly do not even care if the sport grows.

                Possibly if we are concerned that our sport is only .005%
                we are only part of a small minority who are in fact concerned.

            • Beentheredonethat said

              Ahhh…I love it when people roll out those old sayings…you know the ones:

              ‘Everything was better in the old days’

              ‘It’s just not like it used to be’

              I thoroughly enjoy the blogs that spin from an uneducated rant by a Queensland journo/liberal conservative.
              More more!

  12. Steve said

    I love that the impetus for the review was that the AVF financially mismanaged World League … so what is the solution … give the AVF control over the whole show!

    I can’t speak about the current administration as I haven’t dealt with them, but at the time all of this was floated initially the AVF were the weakest link in the chain, so the idea of handing over ultimate control of areas traditionally within the state’s domain was laughable.

    Eldo, the things that you identify that haven’t gotten better have always been the AVF’s responsibility … elite competitions, elite teams and elite talent identification. Doesn’t give me confidence that other areas would be better if the AVf had managed them. Would we have a state centre in Victoria had the AVF been in charge … highly unlikely.

    • Eldo said

      Hi Steve,

      My thoughts are it would be easier to get the AVF up to speed than all the states up to speed on an individual basis. We have never managed more than 3 or 4 out of the 7 at best.

      It is the only way it can work.
      No way ever ever will we be in a position with a strong AVF and with all states strong and finacial all working together with a national set of tasks.

      McDonalds works because they have a plan and other stakeholders implement the plan.
      Under the current scheme if State xxx is a disaster – Australian volleyball wears it till State xxx solves the problem and we all know how long that can take.

      The new model should not have that problem. If it does you remove the staff and get in ones that will work.

      If it is a disaster the worst that could happen is that our membership falls to .005% of the Australian population. Then we go back and start again.

      But at least we tried.

  13. Morbo said

    Some interesting points from everyone…

    Eldo, the sport was different 20 years ago, it had an emergent population of new Australians. In addition, Soccer was a much smaller competitor than it is now and I am sure there are other sports that we currently support financially in Australia that we did not in those days, Maybe you are right, we should just succumb and let the AVF run the show. If we did, perhaps Volleyball would be where Soccer is right now. I am conflicted as to whether we should take the risk you speak of, I mean, if it turns to poo, it will be almost impossible to recover, because the AVF would never gain the support of the states again, and with a non-functional national body, we would be in poor shape. But then we could end up like maccas, delicious.

    Steve brings up the point of World League, and I guess we could also include World Tour? into the prior history of the AVF that doesn’t really instill confidence. But I know that everywhere from WA to QLD will have had similarly mismanaged events, so everyone has blame at some time.

    Hugh, what is the point of a general referendum, under 1/2 the players in Australia are members,

    Andrew speaks some sense at the start of the show, getting a national database, basically for free per person, allows us to actually communicate with everyone (hopefully) who plays in the country.

    I was reading the news e-mail from South Australia last week, it was sent to over 6000 people, they have only 2000 members! Huh?! 4000 people who are affiliated with volleyball in some way. If anything, those 4000 people are the most important, because they are the ones who are staying away from AVF/State organised volleyball, and are the ones we NEED in some way shape or form to be a part of the program. Will the AVF governance structure convince those 4000 people that they need to pay $65 a year to be a player? Or will the states be in a better position to charge those 4000 people $10 to get them back on side and back playing some ball within the state programs.

  14. markleb said

    I’m not quite as positive as our friend ‘Morbo’ here. As I see it, if you are falling from a great height, and there is poo below you, it is doing nothing that will ensure you land in it. Doing something is therefore not a risk at all.
    If that is too obtuse to follow, in my opinion if volleyball in Australia isn’t already in the poo, it is close enough. Everyone doing their own thing is not a long term solution. At some point people have to work together.
    But Eldo does make one very sobering point that is perhaps the most important one so far and makes the whole discussion moot. The question is whether the rank and file actually want volleyball to grow. If forced to answer that question, I would say they don’t. Accepting that point makes all of the actions that people here endlessly criticise perfectly logical. A few people care but won’t agree and most people don’t care.
    Volleyballers have spoken with their (in)action.

    • Steve said

      I don’t think that is accurate at all Mark. Everyone wants what is best for the sport, but as is always the case they want strong leadership that can be rallied around. That has been sorely lacking.

      I work in the corporate head office of a diverse multinational, and the way our business operates each business unit reports directly to an offshore office rather than to us. As a result we can only influence behaviour rather than mandate it. If we want a business unit to do something we need to sell the benefit of that action. This can be a frustrating process but it does force us to treat our businesses as customers and to ensure we focus on providing real value to them. As a result we are lean, efficient and focussed on service delievery. This is the mindset the AVF needs to have rather than thinking the only way it can achieve a national plan is to control everything.

      The states (like our business units) are driven by self interest and so they should be. Each state organisation has a set of local deliverables that they are better placed to achieve than the national body, and this is true not only in volleyball but virtually all other sports as well. Tennis Australia doesn’t run tennis in Victoria, Tennis Victoria does. Same with basketball, netball, hockey … you name it.

      The challenge for the AVF is to create an overall strategic plan in conjunction with the states, assist the states with the development of their own strategic plans, identify and promote economy of scale benefits that would see the AVF perform certain functions on behalf of the states to avoid inefficient duplication (finance, marketing etc) … but again the AVF need to prove the benefit rather than force it down the throat of the states.

      Just like I have to in my organisation the AVF needs to earn respect and trust and prove it adds value rather than simply be given absolute control.

      • markleb said

        Steve, read the next six or whatever comments below. Every one of them is ‘what’s in it for me’, not ‘how do we make volleyball better’. That’s fine. I have no problem with it. But don’t pretend they are somehow the same thing. They are not. And maybe that is just the way it is. Such is life, accept it and move on.
        You are right about strong leadership being important, but a constituency also needs to be prepared to be led. The US army provides pretty strong leadership in the but a section of the Iraqi/Afganistani population doesn’t want to be led, and so there is chaos. Is the volleyball constituency prepared to be led?

        • Steve said

          They are the same thing actually Mark.

          To make volleyball better volleyball has to listen to its customers, both existing and potential. Saying “here is what we have to offer, pay for it or obviously you don’t care about volleyball” is the best possible way to maintain the status quo.

          I.e. it isn’t the responsibility of the volleyball playing community to donate money to the AVF/VVI etc, it is the AVF/VVI etc that need to create a value proposition that makes these people want to pay membership fees.

          Leadership isn’t coercion.

  15. ouch! things do seem grim.

    A referendum for a minority is better than having the agenda hijacked by the even smaller number we have. Besides proper voting, we’ll just have to settle for council-styled electioneering.

    Here’s an embarrassing fact. i spend about 15-20 hrs a week coaching, and I’M not even a member!

    Living in a fairly decentralised/federated country it’s a logical thing to split things up between states. but the fact is we’re competeing against sports that are organised with strong national bodies. can we compete effectively?

    Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of madness. maybe its time to start something different.

    Strong movements start small when there is a goal, a vision and a place for diehards to communicate. I think that’s why some of our best people spend so much time contributing here! we may seem small, but it only takes a small number to start energising the masses and get them out of inaction.

    Get the idea right. start small, and the growth will follow.

    • markleb said

      If we spent our time competing against other sports, that would be great. As it is, we spend time competing against each other.

    • devo said

      Don’t be embarrassed Hugh. Now that I nolonger play or coach, I have no membership. I just don’t come into contact with the machinery that collects the money.

      Is there an affiliate membership for “non-active” members?

      • Steve said

        Why would you want it Al? What can they offer you?

        Hugh, you may seem some benefit from an insurance standpoint perhaps, but for us retired fogies there is no value proposition.

      • Anon said

        I play state league, coach state, club and various school teams and I’m assuming I’m not an AVF member. I wouldn’t know if I am or not as there seems to be no benefit for me in being a member. Furthermore, I think I am only a member of my state association as a requirement of playing state league.

        • Steve said

          If yoou play state league you would be a member … your club would be paying it on your behalf.

          • Tooth Fary said

            But is the club paying the AVF membership? Or does the state body have a ‘state only’ membership, (which I do not think is even a recognised membership category in the AVF constitution).Please correct me if I am wrong. If the state association is a member of the national body, surely they have an obligation to make sure that all of their members pay their dues. Everyone talks about ‘no benefits in being a member’ – well, what benefits are you all looking for? It seems that everyone wants $100 value or more for their $60 membership. It doesn’t grow on trees! Seriously, the days of $20 memberships to be a member of a national association are long gone.

            • Steve said

              Your membership as a state league player is a tandem membership with the AVF and VVI (or wherever you are). VVI keeps a chunk, AVF gets the rest.

            • Anon said

              I’d be happy to pay a $20 membership for a couple of newsletters, or even a bit more for a membership card that entitles me to a useful discount or two. But I don’t see what I get other than being registered.

              • Baron Von Marlon said

                The way I’ve always explained it to people in my club is that if you aren’t a member, you aren’t covered by their insurance policy. So when you bust your knees, you don’t get to claim it on insurance.

                I’m not actually sure whether this is true… but that’s what I have always thought you get out of rego.

                • Troy M said

                  The insurance from my experience only covers non-medicare subsidised items (eg physio). So for example if you were to get a knee operation, say the surgeon is partially subsidised by medicare, you have to cover the gap. If the anaesthetist is not covered by medicare, the insurance will cover it.

                  I could be wrong, it may vary from state to state or have changed now, but that is what happened with me…

                  If you get a permanent disability though (eg loss of hearing, vision, loss of limb mobility in excess of 50% i think)you will get some cash payout

                  • Murph said

                    I broke my hand playing in our state league and saw $0.00 for my surgery, physio, hosipital time, doctors visits, time off work. So I’m not convinced we can play the ‘insurance’ card in that sense.

  16. Alexis said

    Regarding membership – human beings crave affiliation. But, particularly in today’s society, there are many affiliations that can be had. Ultimately people will become a member of something that they perceive has value.

    • Steve said

      Couldn’t agree more Alexis. Unfortunately for the AVF and state bodies unless an individual wants to play at an elite or semi-elite level volleyball doesn’t control the supply chain, unlike say netball or basketball where that control does exist in the overwhelming majority of cases. As a result there isn’t the value proposition for a large number of participants.

      Recognition of this is the first step towards any future improvements.

      • markleb said

        This was recognised 20 years ago. That is one of the objectives of the whole membership scheme, to get all of those people under one umbrella.

        • Eldo said

          Spot on Mark
          20 years ago all states went to Canberra, we laid on our back visualising volleyball, hugged a hell of a lot of trees agreed to a series of national plans.
          We then flew home on seats given to us by Qantas (paid by our State kids paying absolute top $ for their trips – but that’s another story) and double crossed each other as soon as we landed.

          We have a track record of this in our sport.
          Possibly no different to most other sports by the way.

          If JFK was the AVF president I still think we would be in the same spot.

          We need to try something different.
          If the Aust Sports Commission paid a hell of a lot of money to experts to come up with a better national sports governance structure, why don’t give it a go. It is not that we are actually flying.

          Worst case senario is we end up here again in 5 years.
          If we allow that states to do nothing we we end up here again in 5 years.
          Best case senario is that we are all better off.

          Look – it is not hard to sell volleyball to kids
          It is not hard to sell volleyball to the public.
          It is not hard to run good competitions and tournaments.

          Why are we here with our .005%?

          • Steve said

            The reality Eldo and Mark is that we, being the sport of volleyball, have more than .005%. The .005% is the number of participants registered with the state and national bodies.

            Creating a central database of registered members is great as a way to add non-core value (like discounts on movie tickets etc) to members but it doesn’t address the underlying issue … unless I want to play state league, in a state team, AVL or for Australia why would I pay to become a member of the national body when down the road I can have a hit with my friends at the local sport centre without having to pay that fee? If I am a sports centre and I have a volleyball competition running at the moment why would I subject my participants to the additional cost of being AVF members?

            The answer in both cases of course is that I wouldn’t unless the value I feel from being a member exceeds the cost of being a member. Disocunted movie tickets doesn’t cut it.

            Giving the AVF control doesn’t address it either, and in fact is likely to make engagement with these centres more difficult. This is a local issue that needs to be addressed locally. The AVF can assist the state body to build the value proposition but the state body should be doing the legwork.

            • Eldo said


              Some good points.
              The AVF can offer refereeing standards and development,
              and the same with coaching.

              Where we could help these players is by growing the sport so that all these centres are full with waiting lists which would be great for us all.

              Spikezone is a ball the AVF should not have dropped.

              I agree that movie tickets and cheaper shoes are not a draw and states should look to their core business and do that well.

              Volleyball should run the best competitions and tournaments Aust wide and we clearly do not do this because some of our adminsitrators do not have a passion about our core business.

              My three tips for Aust Volleyball

              Core Business
              Core Business
              Core Business

  17. markleb said

    After 45 comments, there is nothing hear to refute the premise of the originally posted article. To summarise…
    Highly subsidised? Participants don’t pay because they see no value. Sponsors don’t pay because they, not coincidentally, see no value. Government pays = highly subsidised.
    Niche sport? Low member numbers, large (apparently) decentralised participation, poor (apparently) governance = niche.
    I don’t think there is any way we can complain about that characterisation of our sport. Objectively, it is exactly as described.
    My larger point that I’ve made on many different occasions, and will continue to make, is that change requires someone to be the first. There is always a choice. Everyone can choose to the either be that person, or wait for that person to arrive, or not to care at all.

  18. Steve said

    Mark, I love and respect your passion. Clearly we want the same thing, which is for volleyball to grow and for the Australian population to see how great a sport it is. I just disagree with you on how to get there. To me engaging the masses is the key and is the issue that needs to be addressed first. The structure we take should be the one that best supports that imperative, and I just don’t see that rolling everything into the national body helps …. I think it can only make things worse because that opportunity for local engagement is lost.

    • markleb said

      Volleyball in Australia is about 50 years old. If local engagement were to have happened, surely it would have happened by now?

      • Eldo said

        Agree BUT,

        Look at McDonalds and other like companies.

        You cannot say there is no local passion in each individually owned franchise.
        BUT they are not permitted to add a LEBBY BERGER onto the menu.
        They cannot charge $25.99 for a cheese burger.
        The yhave to opperate within a proven tight formulae

        If McDonalds ran volleyball
        The big mac would be the State leagues all running well
        Rules in place, draws not being changed the week of the finals.
        No arguments on who does duty in the preliminary final.
        Seats for the customers / spectators.
        Soem advertising / publicity.
        The venues would look like sporting competition venues and would look sharp.
        Costs would be appropriate because of the volumes.
        And we could all get a magnet Devo to stick on the fridge.

        The cheeseburger
        State Junior teams would not be a major fundraising venture.
        Spikezone and mini volleyball would be a force in the market.

        Greasy Joes, hamburger shop at the corner of 5th and High St will never compete with Maccas because of the force of numbers and lack of strategic planning.
        (Although we have had more than our share of strategic plans, we just can’t force Greasy Joe to implement them.)

        How good would it be if we picked 5 people from Devo’s blog site (1 from each state) and asked them to develop a plan and set rules for all state leagues?

  19. markleb said

    I have no preference for one model over the next, unless one of the models is ‘the status quo’. Because we can prove conclusively that the status quo is exactly what brought us to this position. (That position, incidentally, seems to be the one thing people here agree upon). Any other model has, of course, potential risks and potential rewards. As the most famous American coaching philosopher John Wooden once said “Not all change is progress, but all progress is change”.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: