It’s the most wonderful time of the year for volleyball players. Club season has officially begun and you are gearing up to head to your first tournament. Packing may seem like the easy part, but sometimes you’ll need more than you think for a two or three day tournament. Use this checklist to ensure nothing gets left behind and you have everything packed away in your bag that you need.
Uniforms – Speaking from experience, go ahead and pack them ALL! It's better to pack all of your uniforms rather than the ones you think you’ll wear just in case something unexpected happens. The incident of a teammate forgetting the uniform you were expected to wear, getting the memo of what uniform to wear confused, or even something getting stolen are all possible incidents you could run into.
Shoes – This one seems simple, but forgetting your shoes could easily happen to you. Over my 8 years of playing club and college volleyball I have left my shoes a handful of times. I watched a teammate I played college ball with forget her shoes when we were 6 states away from home and ended up having to wear shoes that were two sizes too small for her the entire weekend. OUCH!
Socks – Pack lots of these, your feet will begin to stink! Also nothing feels better than a fresh pair of socks after you have been playing all day.
Protective Gear – Aside from your uniform and shoes, your protective gear is something you absolutely cannot leave at home! The proper kneepads and ankle braces are the key to preventing injuries while playing competitive volleyball, so make sure to stick them in your bag before you leave. Along those same lines, make sure to double check your protective gear to make sure your kneedpads aren't ripping or your ankle braces aren't loose/cracking. If you need new gear, make sure to do your research before the tournaments begin as to which kneepads and which volleyball ankle braces are best for you.
Spandex – You can never have enough spandex packed for the weekend. If you team provides you with more than one color of spandex make sure to pack them all.
Sweat Suit – Facilities and convention centers tend to get cold at times. Having a sweatshirt and sweatpants to quickly throw on in between matches is always a plus.
Headphones – These are a great essential to take to your tournaments as facilities and convention centers tend to be very loud through the day. With all of the whistles, cheering, and bouncing balls it's nice to have something to block all the noise when those breaks between matches start to feel long.
Personal Items – Speaking of convention centers getting loud all day, it's never a bad idea to pack something that might remedy a headache or muscle soreness if you need it. Personal items such as medications, chapstick, bandaids, and extra contacts/glasses should be brought along just in case something unexpected happens.
Phone/ Phone Charger – Who can live without their phone these days? (Don’t forget the charger!)
Water Bottle – Don't forget to bring your own water bottle! Water bottles at tournaments can tend to be very expensive and seem to only last you one match or so.
Cash – If you're someone who likes to hit up the concession stand, vendor booths, or vending machines make sure to bring a few dollars in case they don't accept cards.
Deodorant – “Deo for your B.O.”… Travel size works perfectly for a quick weekend away. Long days of playing and sweating can definitely call for some quick deodorant to be applied.
Hair Accessories – These range from headbands, to hair ties, to bows. It is fun to add different hair accessories to your volleyball attire. You can even start fun traditions with your team with these.
Scented Sprays – Sprays come in handy after a long day of play when it is time to hop in the car and drive back home. This is one necessity you might forget about at the beginning of the season. I mean who ever thought you could have stinky knees?!
Snacks – You never know when hunger will strike so make sure to bring a couple snacks that will help fuel you through a long day of competition.
So, there you have it! The items above are what I always made sure to pack when travelling to club volleyball tournaments across the country – what would you add to the list? Let us know what's in your volleyball bag in the comments!