The primary goal of the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy (LAVA) and our SMBC Boys affiliate is to provide quality volleyball instruction and athletic education for our players, parents, and families. Our exemplary training regimen — crafted and vetted by the founding members of LAVA — is one of the most structured in the region.
In addition to the above but even more importantly, our coaches recognize the exceptional responsibility inherent to coaching — the simple fact that in life, the role of a coach is often second in weight and influence only to that of an athlete’s parents. Our coaches, therefore, take this responsibility very seriously: we believe the responsibility of coaching is less a weight placed on our shoulders and more an incredible opportunity to influence young people positively through the sport of volleyball; we believe every coach is charged with the duty to help his or her players become responsible, autonomous individuals; and we believe coaches should commit to improving the skills of their players, should foster a strong sense of self-confidence in their players, and should do everything in their power to help their players, and their teams, succeed.
To facilitate the achievement of these worthwhile goals, LAVA and SMBC Boys coaches work with an understanding of what we consider our Three Core Values, each with its own set of philosophies designed to help our players, parents, and coaches know their roles, understand and acknowledge their responsibilities, and achieve their dreams.
Core Value #01 — Integrity . . . To the members of LAVA and SMBC Boys, there is nothing more important than the sanctity of one’s integrity. The one universal constant amongst the coaches and administrators across our vast network of affiliates is a subscription to the idea of Volleyball Done Differently, and this is not simply lip service. We work hard and make it a focal point to do better and differently in every single aspect of our enterprise, and this includes most predominantly the realm of coaching, in which we ask our coaches to teach the skills, teach the meaning of teamwork, treat people fairly, answer questions honestly, and simply strive to do better as befits individuals of high integrity and character.
Core Value #02 — Competition . . . We are a sports-based organization; the fundamental element of sports is competition. While integrity is crucial, competition is the central component of our product — the sport of volleyball. We train and develop our athletes, guide and grow their skills, and seek to foster within them a competitiveness that will transfer onto the court and help them perform to the best of their abilities. The goal for our top age division teams is to perform and succeed at the highest of competitive levels, both in our regional mandatory season and at national travel tournaments beyond, while the goals for each and every one of our teams, no matter the level of overall skill, are to work hard, seek to improve, and compete to the best of their abilities, and to understand that winning is the ultimate by-product of accomplishing these goals.
Core Value #03 — Passion . . . It’s been said nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion, and while perhaps this is not entirely accurate, in the realm of athletics its truth cannot be overstated — one of the primary forces separating average teams from good teams, good teams from great teams, great teams from extraordinary teams, and quality teams and teammates from their lesser counterparts is the ability, determination, and desire to play with passion above and beyond anything else. We make it a point to speak this truth to our players, to build their confidence and help nurture their passion for this wonderful sport, and to stoke it as we bring it forth to flourish on the court. Play together, play for each other, come to play, and play to win, but above all, play with passion.
At LAVA and SMBC Boys, we strive to highlight these values in an environment — our regional club volleyball community as a whole — that focuses too heavily on the wrong sorts of philosophical ideals, with a whole host of poor behavioral and character examples set time and time again by other clubs, coaches, parents, and even players. Our organization seeks to bring as much product and service to the table — to provide as much value as we can — while fostering an environment of honesty, integrity, passion, and competitive fire, with strong values and a familial feel.
With multiple affiliates across Southern California, LAVA and SMBC Boys certainly span a great distance geographically, but no matter how far apart our programs are from one another in terms of distance, there are two universal constants among our coaches and administrators — an understanding of our Core Values and a subscription to the idea of Volleyball Done Differently.