Six Reasons to Run a Volleyball League
by Eddie Becker
There’s a way to engage tween and teen girls in a fun way that makes a positive difference in their lives: volleyball. Inviting girls in your community to participate in an Upward volleyball league has numerous benefits. So why exactly should your church run an Upward volleyball league aimed at reaching tween and teen girls?
1. To build their confidence
In 2018, a study uncovered some disturbing trends among teenage girls. Between ages 8 and 14, girls’ confidence drops 30%. Girls are also 18% less likely than boys to describe themselves as confident.
It’s important to note the distinction between how girls view confidence versus how boys view confidence. To boys, confidence is a belief they can achieve anything. For girls, confidence is simply this: being proud of who you are. When a girl between 4th grade and 8th grade joins an Upward volleyball team, they become part of an environment of fun and encouragement. Learning together with teammates helps to build confidence. Caring coaches develop young athletes who not only become better volleyball players on the court, but more confident people off the court.
2. To Get them active
Unfortunately for teenagers, physical exercise is becoming less and less common. Teens spend up to 5 hours or more each day on devices while only 15% of them get the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise. Spiritual health is of course essential, but why not combine that with physical health? Upward volleyball creates avenues for young girls to get the exercise they lack, surrounded by helpful coaches and teammates rooting each other on.
3. To give them the freedom to fail
Upward volleyball allows young athletes to “fail with confidence”. What does that mean? They are encouraged to try new things. They’re encouraged to do their best and keep doing it even if it’s not perfect. Girls need room and freedom to mess up and not feel as if they’ve failed someone or let anyone down.
4. To teach them biblical truth
Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about inviting children into our lives: Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:36-37, NLT) Wow! Think about that: when we welcome in a child, it’s just as if we were welcoming our Heavenly Father.
Sports are an amazing vehicle to introduce Jesus to children and their families. By having a captive audience willing to listen, you’ll be able to share the gospel and help children understand that God loves them and has a plan for their life.
5. To offer them something relevant
If your church has run other Upward leagues in the past, offering volleyball gives young athletes a different sport to try out. Girls who have been playing soccer or basketball for years may jump at the chance to play something new.
6. To help them foster positive relationships
By the age of 10, most children have their own smartphone (though some studies say the age is closer to 7) Once these young people hit the age of 12, over 50% of them will be active on social media. Those stats may worry you, and for good reason. The relationships many teens experience on social media become at best, shallow and at the worst, toxic. With the pandemic forcing many children to spend more time isolated indoors, relationships with peers become strained or fade away.
People are designed by God to be in community with others. We are all designed to have strong, God-honoring relationships. Being part of a volleyball team allows strong friendships to blossom in healthy ways. Adults having positive interactions with young athletes can also give a glimpse of the person of Jesus and the love he has for them. All of us, young or old, need community. Providing a safe, fun, biblical community for tween and teen girls can create a foundation of discipleship that impacts generations.