Howell, Michigan


Spring AAU Teams – What are they? 

Top Gun Spring teams are teams that will begin practicing the week of March 11, 2024 and finish the first weekend of June 2024.  Each team will compete in four (4) one-day tournaments within a 1 – 1 ½ hour drive from the Howell/Brighton area, PLUS the two-day State Tournament (MJVBA Championships) in the Grand Rapids area. A team will consist of no more than 12 athletes to maximize individual and team growth, practice repetitions and play time opportunities. The number of teams per age group will be determined by interest at tryouts, facility capacity and coaching availability. Emphasis is on individual development – both athletically and personally, offensive and defensive team systems and teamwork within a cooperative and competitive environment.

How are the teams selected?

With the exception of the 12U age division, all teams are created through the tryout process. No one can be placed on a team without proper evaluation. Athletes are placed based on the recommendation of their current coach, if playing in the winter or based on skill performance at tryout(s) as well as position desired. The top five athletes at any given tryout may all be middle blockers, but they will not all be placed on the same team.  Placement based on carpooling or friends will not be considered. Our goal is to find a team for every girl that wants to work hard, have fun, learn and improve their volleyball skills and knowledge. Due to many factors including numbers, coaches and/or facilities, however, we are not able to accommodate everyone.

The majority of athletes play both winter and spring seasons, although there are some who choose to play one season only. Spring athletes will be added to existing teams as appropriate or may be part of a team newly created for spring.

When and where are tryouts?

Tryouts will be held in February 23, 2024 at Scranton Middle School in Brighton, MI.

13U/14U tryouts will be from 6:00 – 7:45pm. 15U/16U/17U/18U tryouts will be from 7:45 – 9:30pm.

Pre-Registration is required a minimum of 24 hours prior to the actual tryout. To pre-register, email [email protected] with NAME, GRADE AND BIRTH DATE INCLUDING YEAR. Check-in will begin 30 minutes prior to tryout time. A current AAU Membership is also required for tryout.

What age should my daughter tryout for?  Should I just use her age?

USA Volleyball and the AAU have recently changed the cut off date to JULY 1. Current Age DOES NOT always coincide with USA age divisions.  The Top Gun Volleyball program and the AAU organization abide by the age definitions created by USA Volleyball.  See the tryout page for age definitions.

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. Please have your daughter tryout for the appropriate age level as listed in the age definitions above.

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. For example, an athlete attends 9th grade, but falls within the 14U age group. In this situation, the athlete may choose which age group to tryout for. Using our above example, this athlete would be permitted to tryout for the 14U age group, 15U age group, or both. If an athlete in this category wishes to be considered for more than one age group, she must attend the tryout for each age group.  All other athletes must attend the appropriate tryout for their age under the USAV definitions.

When and where are the practices?

Spring AAU teams will practice twice a week in the evenings for two hours each. Specific practice times and locations have not been established yet. Practices will be held in the Howell and Brighton areas. A complete practice schedule will be provided at the time an invitation to join a team is extended.

When will the practices be held?

Specific practice schedules will not be determined until later. Practices could be held any night Monday through Friday in the evenings, but will be determined prior to invitations being sent for spring.

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 work together and learning from each other consistently and often.  Important material is covered during each and every practice and new information is added frequently. We do not recommend those with conflicting schedules play Top Gun because of this extremely important factor.  Dedication to your team and the practice/tournament schedule is expected if you are going to 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 the practice/tournament schedule.  Missed practices will affect playtime.

When and where are the tournaments held?

Tournaments are generally located within a 1 – 1 ½ hour drive or less from the Howell/Brighton area and occur on Saturdays or Sundays. Tournaments are usually full day affairs, with arrival around 8:00am and finishing up sometimes as late as 6:00 or 7:00pm. Athletes are responsible for transportation to and from the tournament.  Each athlete will also be responsible for food during the tournament. Tentative tournament weekends include April 13/14, April 20/21, May 4/5, May 18/19 and June 1/2. There will be no tournaments over Spring Break, Easter Weekend or Memorial Day Weekend.

So my daughter will play every match?

There are 10-12 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 joining Top Gun is to sign up for the opportunity to learn, train and practice.  Equal playtime 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 Spring season is $800.00 for spring athletes. This covers facility rentals and custodial costs, practice and tournament instruction, administrative expenses, tournament entry fees, and necessary uniforms (two t-shirts, spandex, two jerseys and a volleyball). The cost for returning 2024 winter athletes is $700.00. No additional gear will be distributed to athletes returning from the winter season.

Athletes will also be required to have a current AAU Membership at the additional cost of $14.00.

When is this payment due?

The first payment of a minimum of 50% is due by first team practice.  The balance will be due by April 30, 2024. If an alternate payment plan is necessary, please contact Jennifer for options.

Who will the coach be for this team?

Coaches are placed with teams after the tryout phase and before commitments are requested. You will be given information on the coach at the time an invitation is extended.  Top Gun Volleyball is a competitive endeavor and our coaches are competitive individuals and although we love to win Top Gun coaches are teachers first and we place a strong emphasis on TEACHING. Our focus is on growth and process above outcome.

Questions??  Contact Jen at [email protected] or 517-548-0024.