By the end of the 2021 WAVL Indoor Volleyball season a whopping 35 venues will have been used to host training and games. As you could imagine this requires a substantial amount of work from the Volleyball WA team and the clubs to ensure everything runs smoothly and that no mishaps occur.
The already difficult task of managing games across a large number of venues has been made even more difficult this year due to uncertainty around COVID-19 outbreaks. Multiple rounds of the 2021 season were disrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions which led to a number of games being moved and rescheduled.
This challenge is made even larger because Volleyball WA does not have a dedicated indoor venue. The WAVL season is reliant on several independent venues which are shared with other sports that use indoor hardcourt venues such as Basketball, Badminton and Netball. Volleyball of course has not been the only sport impacted by the pandemic with many other sporting leagues forced to postpone and reschedule games. This led to a situation where several different sports were trying to reschedule games all around the same time resulting in scheduling conflicts and Volleyball being forced out.
While you might consider the number of people playing sports like Netball (237,000), Football (100,009), Soccer (196,600) and Basketball (165,000) to be greater than Volleyball you might be surprised to know that in 2020 there were 160,000 participants in our game.
What’s the solution? Dedicated Volleyball centres like Bendat Basketball Centre or Gold Netball Centre? In a study by KPMG in 2018, the annual value supported by community infrastructure in Australia is $16.2b, this includes economic, health and social benefits. But of course infrastructure is costly and not a particularly quick solution but it is a conversation that needs to be started especially when you consider that infrastructure projects are an investment that will have legacy impacts and value for community.
Thinking outside the box – what about creating a dedicated volleyball centre using temporary court surfaces at somewhere like the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre which must be significantly affected by COVID and a lack of international convention bookings?
How do we work with Local and State Government to secure venue/court space for Volleyball WA and our affiliated clubs and associations?
Sport and new venues in WA need to be part of all local government planning conversations and we are not just talking about building new recreation centres which are of course costly and take time to build but also about considering facilities for the fourth code of Volleyball – Park Volley. Outside of our structured season competitions there is plenty of volleyball being played in public places like parks, reserves and beaches so we need local governments to consider adding courts (sand or grass) to their parks and reserves existing and new so that more spontaneous, unstructured opportunities to play are available to the 160,000 volleyballers playing for recreation and physical activity.
Despite all these challenges, the 2021 WAVL season has been a success thanks to all the hard work from the VWA team, the 14 affiliated WAVL Clubs and Associations and the army of officials and volunteers.
Volleyball WA thanks for the following venues for hosting WAVL games throughout the 2021 season:
- Aquinas College
- Bendat Basketball Centre
- Curtin University
- ECU Mount Lawley
- Geographe Leisure Centre – Busselton
- Gold Netball Centre
- Hale School
- John Wollaston Anglican Community School
- Kingsway Indoor Stadium
- Leisurefit – Melville
- Loftus Recreation Centre
- Mandurah Aquatic & Recreation Centre
- Rossmoyne Senior High School
- The Rise
- UWA Sport & Recreation Centre
- Warwick Stadium
- Wesley College
- Willeton Basket Stadium