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History of Adversity VBC

About Adversity Volleyball

Background and History

Adversity Volleyball LLC operates the Adversity Volleyball Club.  Adversity is one of the leading youth volleyball clubs in the Chicagoland area and has also developed a National reputation.


Mike Hulett founded Adversity in 1999.  The club is currently based in an 8 volleyball court dedicated facility in Corporate Woods Park in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The club teaches the skills of volleyball to boys and girls from 7 to18 years old.  The instruction and ability levels range from basic/beginner to elite youth athletes going on to Division I collegiate and professional careers.  The vast majority of the athletes are focused on improving their skillset or making the team for their next school season, as well as having fun and staying active.



The club has an extraordinary track record of success:

  • Over 500 alumni have been a part of the club
  • Of the alumni, over 100 athletes have competed collegiately.  On the boy’s side, these colleges include perennial Division I powers such as UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Ohio State, Loyola, Lewis, Penn State, Ball State, IPFW, and Princeton along with Division II, III and NAIA schools.  Several have gone on to international professional careers.
  • Three top 10 National finishes in 18 Boys Open, the premier division for boys.
  • Qualified 2 boys teams in the 18 Open division for the 2017 Junior National Championships, the only club in the country to do so.
  • In only its second year of full scale girls competition in 2017-2018, the club qualified a team in the 18 Girls Open division for the Junior National Championships, even though all but one of the girls on the team is eligible as a 17s.
  • Additionally, the Girls program already has several players who have committed to play Division I volleyball in college.


The Adversity Difference

The success of the club in in part of two main differences:

  1. The coaches
    • Adversity’s coaching staff is the most educated in the Midwest.  It is the only Midwest club which has invested to make sure all of its head coaches are USAV CAP certified
    • The coaches broaden and deepen their knowledge by attending coaching clinics around the region and the country.  Our coaches are learning and growing as the game does, staying abreast of the latest developments in the techniques and science of the game
    • The current staff has a combined 300 years of coaching experience
  2. The facility
    • Adversity is the only club in the northern suburbs of Chicago with its own, dedicated volleyball facility.  As a result, the athletes get more court time and more reps during practices and lessons.  The reduced travel for the frequent “home” tournaments also maximizes time on the court versus in the car
    • The club has state-of-the-art volleyball training equipment for its athletes, including:
      • Ver-Tec vertical jump trainers
      • jump boxes
      • 12’ high setting targets
      • serving machines
      • Normatec pneumatic leg muscle recovery devices
      • an Adversity-developed video “Wall” – a 4’ x 6’ video screen on wheels enabled for real-time video playback from phones, cameras, and tablets at courtside
    • A state-of-the-art weight room equipped with extensive ROGUETM weightlifting equipment for basic strength training, power lifting, and even Olympic lifting.  The collective equipment is among the best volleyball club weightrooms in the Midwest and allows multiple full teams to train together simultaneously at any time.


Volleyball: The growth sport

Volleyball is growing in the U.S.  For girls, volleyball is the only one of the big 4 team sports (Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, Soccer) to show consistent growth in high school participation over the last 10 years, and that excludes the growth in Beach Volleyball.  For boys, volleyball was the fastest growing team sport in high school participation with 12% cumulative growth over the last 5 years.  The Adversity team believes that the inherent characteristics of the sport are driving this growth:

  • Volleyball requires and develops significant athleticism combining power and technical skills
  • Volleyball is highly team-oriented – each point requires team cooperation and no single player can stop the ball to control play or dominate the game
  • Volleyball is structurally the most social sport – players are all together in a small space, separated from their opponents, and after each point they can come together
  • Volleyball is the safest team sport with the lowest injury rate among all of the major team sports and a particularly low rate of catastrophic injuries
  • Volleyball has the lowest operating and individual participation costs among major team sports – square footage required per player is the lowest, and personal equipment cost per player is the lowest


To dive a bit deeper, on the girls’ side, nationally, volleyball is the most popular  high school team sport with 430K participants in 2015-16 and is second only to track and field in total participation. It has continued to grow at a 1-2% over the last 10 years and has over 350K youth club participants in USAV, JVA, and AAU, the three largest governing bodies for youth Volleyball in the US.  There are also 30 youth club tournaments per year in January through July with at least 500 club teams.  96% of NCAA schools have a women’s volleyball team, second only to basketball (99%).


On the boys’ side, the picture is a bit different. Nationally, volleyball had only 55K high school participants in 2015-2016, well behind football (1,083K), basketball (546K), baseball (489K), soccer (440K), and lacrosse (110K).  But the growth rate for volleyball is higher, and volleyball is picking up team sports oriented, tall power athletes from football as participation rates decline (25K down in the last year alone), and youth football declines even faster given the safety concerns.  Collegiately, there has been rapid, recent growth.  In 2017-2018, there were 169 varsity collegiate programs in Men’s Volleyball across NCAA Divisions I, II, and III as well as NAIA.  There have already been 32 new programs announced for the 18-19 and 19-20 seasons, nearly 20% growth, including the first new Division I program in 20 years.  In total, that will create 400 new collegiate Men’s Volleyball players.