Howell, Michigan

12U Program

Updated 2/23/24

Thank you for your interest in the Top Gun 12U program. The registration window for the 12U SPRING season IS OPEN!!! The season will begin the week of March 11, 2024 and end the weekend of June 1/2, 2024.  Cost for the winter season is $675.00 and includes practice fees, tournament entries, coaches salary, program administration, two practice t-shirts and a t-shirt jersey.

How do I register?

  1. Print and complete registration forms which will be available here: 2024TopGunReg12USpr
  2. Secure AAU Membership (see below for instructions)
  3. Mail completed forms with AAU Membership and initial payment to address listed on registration form.
  4. Optional: Email [email protected] with your daughter’s name, grade and school to hold your spot. You then have seven days to complete the registration process.

How are the teams selected?

The 12U Program* is a first come, first served registration process. All 12U athletes will practice and train together.  Separate teams will then be created by coaches based on current level/ability for tournaments to maximize the experience for everyone. This allows each athlete to be challenged appropriately according to her ability, while still learning and developing skills and knowledge of the game. Tournament teams will not be determined with regard to friends, schools or carpooling purposes and may change slightly with each tournament. Our maximum is 24 participants.

*Athletes must be born on or after JULY 1, 2011 to participate in this program.

When and where are the practices?

Practices will be held for two hours twice a week in the evenings. Practices will be held on Mondays and Thursdays  6:00 – 8:00pm at the Howell Freshman Campus. We will move to 5:30 – 7:30pm when/if possible.

What if my daughter is young, but in a higher grade?

A very small number of athletes fall under the category of being in a higher grade academically, yet qualifying for a younger age group. If your daughter falls under the 12U age group but is in 7th grade, she may tryout for the 13U program. Please see the tryout page for all the necessary information.

Does my daughter need to attend ALL practices?

A most resounding YES! Attendance at all practices and tournaments is necessary and expected. In fairness to all involved, missing practices for any reason, including but not limited to illness, homework, family vacations or other sports/activities, WILL affect playtime opportunities. Please think carefully if your schedule allows for this type of necessary commitment and dedication. Volleyball is a team sport, with teammates needing to get work together and learn with and from each other often.  Important material is covered during each and every practice and new information is added frequently, therefore, we do not recommend those with conflicting schedules play Top Gun because of this extremely important factor.  Be committed to your team, practice and tournament schedule if you play!

What if my daughter plays another sport?

Top Gun believes that every athlete should have the opportunity to represent their school, and every effort is made to accommodate athletes wishing to participate in other activities for their school. As stated previously, however, volleyball is a team sport and attendance to practices is crucial. A case-by-case study of the situation is usually best to insure fairness to everyone involved.  Extra curricular activities outside of school are not as easily accommodated.  It is important for an athlete to be committed to her team and practice/tournament schedule.  Missed practices will affect playtime.

When and where are the tournaments held?

Tournaments will be full day events generally within a 1 – 1 ½ hour drive or less from the Howell/Brighton area. Athletes are responsible for transportation to and from the tournament.  Tentative tournament weekends are April 13/14, April 20/21, May 4/5, May 18/19, June 1/2. There will be no practice March 25 – 29 and no tournaments Easter weekend or Memorial Day weekend.

So my daughter will play every match?

Not necessarily and probably not. There are 12 athletes on every team and only 6 can play at a time. Every effort will be made towards fair play time, especially during tournament pool play for athletes with consistent practice attendance and effort, however by joining Top Gun VBC you are signing on for the opportunity to learn, train and practice.  Equal play time is not guaranteed.  During the playoffs, coaches may choose to play their most competitive lineup.  Lack of attendance at practice (for any reason) poor attitude and/or effort could also negatively affect playtime.

What is the cost?

The cost for the Top Gun 12U program is $675.00 for the spring season. This fee covers facility rentals, practice training and tournament instruction, tournament entry fees, coach training, club memberships and coach’s salary, program and administrative expenses, two t-shirts and a jersey.  Athletes are also responsible for a current AAU Membership at the cost of an additional $14.00.

When is this payment due?

A minimum of $350.00 is due with registration. Full payment is accepted at any time. All remaining balances are due by April 30, 2024. If an alternate payment plan is necessary, please contact Jen for options.

What COVID-19 protocols will be followed to help keep my daughter and others safe?

The health and safety of all participants is and will continue to be our number one priority. With no particular COVID protocols suggested at this time, yet COVID continuing to linger in our communities, Top Gun VBC will still employ sanitization and disinfection practices of athletes and equipment, whenever possible.

Guidelines and protocols may change throughout the season and we will follow local, state and federal recommendations. Please be sure that you will support any protocols put into place – including possible mask wearing – prior to your decision to join the program!

As always, each family should evaluate their situation individually. We support any athlete, coach or parent that chooses to wear a mask at any time. Please be considerate of others when deciding whether or not to send your sick (or even possibly sick) athlete to practice.

Who will be my daughter’s coach?

Jen Dhaenens and Mora Kanim will direct and oversee the 12U program. Jayne Williams will train the team. Additional coaches may include Kayla Martin, Elaina Rocco-Hoxie, Keira Manning and others. Top Gun Volleyball is a competitive endeavor and our coaches are competitive individuals and although we love to win, Top Gun coaches are first and foremost, teachers. We place a strong emphasis on TEACHING. Our focus is on growth and process above outcome.

Can my daughter tryout for an older age group or ‘play up’?

Any movement of an athlete into a different age group will be done solely at the discretion of the Top Gun VBC staff. Requests will not be considered. Because we gather athletes from many different areas and school districts into one team, we are able to create a challenging environment for each age level. Top Gun believes that most athletes gain the greatest growth and advantages participating with their natural age level.

But my daughter can play in another league for much less.  Why Top Gun VBC?

Yes, other opportunities are available and I encourage you to look around to find the right program for you and your daughter. Top Gun coaches are teachers first and we place a strong emphasis on TEACHING. Our focus is on growth, enjoyment and process over outcome. All Top Gun coaches have previous experience both coaching and/or playing. They know the game. This makes a difference in teaching young athletes the correct mechanics and skills.  Bad habits created at this age are difficult to correct later on. A strong foundation is extremely important in many sports and volleyball is no exception. We recommend Top Gun for those athletes who know they like the sport of volleyball and want to continue to improve their skills and understanding as much as possible.

To register for an AAU Membership:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link to “Join AAU” (Red) or LOG IN if you have an account.
  3. Click on “Get a Membership” (Green)
  4. Select “Youth Athlete Membership” (Green)
  5. Enter Sport (Volleyball). There is no need for an added benefit membership. All tournaments will be appropriately AAU licensed and sanctioned. Regular $14.00 membership is fine.
  6. Choose your desired term – one, two or three years
  7. Select yes to “member of a club” The Top Gun club code is W3AF4D or select Top Gun VBC from the drop down menu.
  8. Enter personal information as requested. Parent email is recommended. Options of Be Recruited involvement, t-shirt order or establishing an account is optional.
  9. Enter billing information and opt for view and print. You may also print from the email that the AAU will send you. This AAU ‘card’ with the membership number listed should be sent with your athlete to tryouts as well as entering this number on the registration form.

Should your daughter choose not to play with Top Gun VBC, this membership can be transferred to another club.

If you have questions that are not answered here, please contact Jen at [email protected] or call 517-548-0024.