What to Buy? How/Where to buy it?
We recommend “court shoes” for beginners, for lateral stability, traction on gym floor, and lightweight for jumping. Of course “volleyball” shoes are the best, but no need to invest in volleyball shoes right away if you’re just getting started. The most noticeable difference will be grip (not slipping) on the gym floor. Volleyball and indoor court shoes are designed with a gummy/gel bottom to reduce slippage on indoor floors, unlike other shoes that are just fine for outdoor surfaces. Once you know your daughter really likes volleyball, you should consider volleyball shoes. No matter what, please try to avoid sending your daughter to practice in non-athletic shoes such as slip-ons or Vans. Even Converse shoes do not offer much support and are often slippery on the gym floor.
Typically the higher priced volleyball shoes are lighter and offer better traction, more cushioning, and more support. However, spending more money may not make your foot happier. Sometimes a less expensive volleyball shoe will fit your foot better and be more comfortable :)
All younger volleyball players should wear kneepads for protection. They are not required, but the players will be expected (and taught) to hit the floor to go for a ball. Kneepads give the players a sense of security in knowing it will not hurt. However, players should not directly land on their knees, as the direct impact can injure their joints, even with kneepads. Kneepads can easily be found for $15-20 at Target, WalMart, any sporting goods store, or one of the volleyball links below (best selection).
Players 12&Under (6th grade and younger) use a lighter weight volleyball. This helps encourage player to maintain proper technique, especially for serving and spiking. It also lessens the impact of passing the ball or digging a spike. Players gain confidence as they learn how to play properly without struggling with a heavy ball or fear of it hurting them. Then, around 6th/7th grade, many players are ready for the regulation weight volleyball.
There are two main brands of the lighter volleyball for Under-12:
- Tachikara’s VolleyLite (approx. $27)
- Molten VB-12 ball
VOLLEYBALL EQUIPMENT SHOPPING
These are my two personal favorite places to get quality volleyball supplies at a reasonable price:
RealVolleyball - online or in Kearney Mesa area
VolleyHut - online and/or at the Epic Volleyball Club location in Poway