Aiming to accelerate the success of American beach volleyball, USAV hired an independent consulting firm to evaluate the status of the sport and their organization’s position within it. The report, released to the public by USAV in February, highlighted issues, made suggestions, and even laid out a rough timeline of tasks for USAV to complete in order to see the greatest results.
The consultants, Perelman Pioneer & Company, interviewed USAV board members and staff, USOC staff, and beach athletes and conducted extensive outside research. Their resulting report focused on a few problems that USAV will need to address if it hopes to continue being successful in the highest levels of international competition. First, American athletes at the top of the sport, both on the women’s and men’s sides, are over 30, meaning the 2016 Olympics will likely be the last for most of them. Second, the beach arm of USAV is understaffed in comparison to the indoor one and suffers from the absence of a central training facility like the American Sports Center in Anaheim, Calif., home of the indoor national team. Another big issue brought up by many of interviewees was the lack of a clear path to competition, whether on the FIVB tour, at the Olympic Games, or even at the juniors and youth level.
Beyond advocating for the resolution of these issues, PP&C suggested increasing the number of sponsored beach athletes from eight per gender to 12, thus allowing for four teams per gender to be entered in FIVB World Tour events and two to keep in development. They also recommended the creation of a USAV Beach general manager who would oversee the sport and act as a resource for athletes. Many interviewees expressed a reluctance to have a head coach forced upon them, so this position would be a compromise, allowing for a more organized system but leaving individual teams with their freedom. Looking further into the future, the reviewers suggested creating a national championship, mirroring those in other sports such as gymnastics, swimming, and track and field that often add greatly to the national profile of the sport in question and sometimes are even financial successes.
Originally published in May 2014