Frequently Asked Questions

We hope to be able to answer any questions you have about our camps, we have split the questions into different sections, All Camps, Residential Camps and Non-Residential Camps

For All Athletes

While age is important to choosing a training level, it is not the principle means VbDC uses to determine which course will be of the most benefit to an athlete. Volleyball experience and athletic ability are the main determinants. Some players are more experienced and skilful than their age would suggest, while others are latecomers to the game and may be behind others of the same age.

To “grade” our camps we use the system which will be familiar to skiers and snowboarders where Beginner programmes are rated Green, Early Intermediates are rated Blue, Advanced Intermediates are rated Red and Experts are rated Black. We have produced a Chart showing how our main camps are linked together.

We want the athlete to get as much as possible out of the camp. As they progress beyond the beginner and early intermediate stages the difficult task is to place campers so that they will be challenged to improve, but not so much that they will be overwhelmed. The best way to evaluate an athletes ability and which camp will be suitable for them is to see them play, of course this is not always possible in person so a video of the athlete in action can help a lot. The videos should not be a highlight reel of individual skills, but long shots of the athlete in a team setting, allowing us to see the standard of play on the athlete’s team and how the athlete interacts with his/her teammates and the opposition.

If no videos are available, and a coaches report cannot be provided, a self-assessment of the athlete’s ability may be one way to determine the most appropriate camp. There is a self-assessment form in the VbDC brochure. Honesty and objectivity are required when doing a self-assessment. We encourage applicants and their parents to discuss the athlete’s skill level with us when in doubt.

Yes, camps are open to athletes from all nationalities and countries of residence. English is the lingua franca of the camps.

Coming to the camp in top physical condition is necessary in order to get the most out of the event. Mental commitment and the self-discipline required to take part in a sustained, high-energy training regime is just as important.

We have prepared an easy to follow training programme to help you prepare for our camps.

For those attending as day students, it is sufficient to bring only what you would pack for an ordinary training session, although for full-day events a sack lunch and snacks is also needed. A water bottle is a necessity. Do not wear jewellery of any type. If it is a performance or advanced skills camp, participants should already have all the volleyball gear they need: proper shoes, kneepads, braces, and clothing.

Remember to include braces and strapping if required as well as any medication such as Inhalers or EpiPen.

Those just starting need proper PE kit; if they decide to stick with the sport, they may want to purchase volleyball-specific footwear and accessories, which VbDC can supply. For those attending as residential athletes, the needs are different. See the residential section below.

Yes, a small range of personal equipment and supplies is offered at the camps, such as shoes, kneepads, braces, and clothing. A range of balls are also available. It is worth letting us know shoe sizes in advance or if special or unusual items are required.

This will vary according to the athlete’s status as a residential or non-residential athlete. See the relevant section below. We are strict about our supervision of campers. No athlete may leave the gym floor during sessions without coach permission.
At residential camps, there is 24-hour chaperoning by people who have undergone a DBS (child security) check.

The simplest and most convenient way to register and pay is to do so on-line via the VbDC website. For those who are unable to use this facility , or who prefer another method of payment, VbDC can work with them individually to use an alternative payment method.

VbDC takes steps to ensure the well-being and care of the participants, and many members of the coaching staff and administrators are certified in basic First Aid.

A statement of any medical conditions that could affect the athlete’s training must be completed as part of the registration process. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that VbDC is made aware of all medical conditions affecting the participant. VbDC will make every effort to ensure the medical needs of the participant are met, but accepts no responsibility for any medical care provided.

Athletes who take part in VbDC events must provide their own insurance coverage. The extent of coverage will be determined by the type of activity in which they are participating. See our recommendations in the residential and non-residential sections below.

VbDC and its employees are fully insured as a company and as individual professionals performing their coaching duties at the event, but VbDC insurance policies do not include coverage of the medical needs, emergency or otherwise, of the athletes.

Yes, some camps offer dormitory accommodation and others provide hostel or housing with a host family. VbDC currently offers room and board packages only for events of a week duration. See the residential section for further information on the accommodation packages.

We are more than happy to provide advice for athletes who wish to arrange their own accommodation.

Current COVID restrictions mean that only, athletes, coaches and other VbDC personnel are allowed into the sports centers, but under normal circumstances….

Yes, parents may observe sessions, but only for a limited period. Extended parental spectating is discouraged to prevent athletes from becoming distracted.

The head coach and his/her assistants will vary from camp to camp. Some coaches are more qualified to train elite or advanced athletes while others specialise in training beginners or intermediate level athletes, and others may have an expertise in teaching specific skillsets. VbDC assigns highly qualified, professional coaches from around the world to each event.

The head coaches devise their own theme and curriculum in partnership with VbDC staff to ensure continuity with VbDC policy and standards. VbDC believes that giving this freedom to coaches ensures the most current and relevant training methodology is offered, and the athletes benefit by experiencing a wide range of coaching styles and philosophies.

Refunds can be issued if certain criteria are met in accordance with the VbDC terms and conditions of trade. Refunds cannot be given to athletes who drop out of an event or change their attendance just prior to or during the course of an event.

Refunds will not be given to athletes who are asked to leave an event because of their disruption of proceedings or failure to follow the instructions of supervisors and chaperones. We recommend that athletes read the “fine print”.

For Residential Athletes


VbDC have negotiated advantageous prices for accommodation packages which are usually lower in cost compared to what an athlete would expect to pay for hotel accommodation and restaurants near the training venue, not forgetting transport to and from the training venue, off-court activity fees, and 24/7 supervision and chaperoning.

The accommodation package will normally cover all of this.

There are three options for residential camps, which will vary depending on the camp, although all three are not necessarily always available for each camp.

The type of accommodation we have used in the past are: –

  • The most popular option has been the university dormitory housing which is approximately 1 kilometre from the training venue. Housing is in a large central campus building which is built around two quadrangles (pictured above). The building also houses administrative offices, dining facilities, a coffee shop, a chapel, classrooms, an art gallery, and the University security services headquarters. The historic building is occasionally used as a set for movies and period television television productions, and participants have been able to watch movie sets in action during their stay.
  • A second option which is occasionally used is a youth hostel. In particular, we try to find space in a hostel located in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although it is a 20-minute drive from the training venue, the hostel is a model facility built in the 1930s, the golden age of hostel movement. It is set in extensive wooded surroundings which features wildlife trails and is a short walk from several traditional local pubs, which regularly feature outdoor activities such as folk dancing and music.
  • The third option which is sometimes available is that of host family stays. These are often preferred by athletes who wish to improve their everyday English language skills. Host family stays must be arranged a minimum of three months in advance of the camp in order to ensure the completion of child security arrangements and so that all involved parties to get to know each other.

The full price of residential camps is split into two parts. The first part covers the tuition fee only. The second part is the accommodation fee, which includes room and board, transportation during residency, chaperoning and security and most evening activities. **

The only additional money needed by participants is pocket money for things like souvenirs, mementos, snacks or equipment.

** Occasionally there maybe an exceptional outing specially requested and agreed by the campers in advance of the camp; we usually poll the participants whether there is special outing they would like during their stay.

We try to plan the activities around the wishes of the participants, and on current events (every four years we get requests from the athletes to have an evening watching the World Cup as a group !)

There are several activities that have proved so popular they are offered at each residential camp. An example would be the trip to Windsor Castle which takes place the first day and enables participants to get to know each other. There is usually an icebreaker evening early in the week in which the participants go 10 pin bowling or to a similar activity so they can get their mind off the training of the first day and relax while getting to know their colleagues better before getting ready for a more rigorous training session on the second day. At some point during the week there will be a cultural outing such as a trip to the theatre, the cinema, or a museum. Another evening might involve a trip to a local activity such as an outing to a local pub where the participants might see traditional British entertainment, and at least one night will involve a return to the training facility for friendly competition with local volleyball clubs.

However, it is not unusual at all for the participants to be so tired from the training that they request a night to get to bed early – a request we are happy to oblige.

Mornings are normally relaxed, with breakfast starting at about 8 a.m., and an opportunity for participants to socialise, read, write, or call home before heading to the gym.starting at about 8 a.m., and and an opportunity for participants to to socialise, read, write, or call home before heading to the gym.

All transport is provided from point of collection at specified ports of entry until delivery to the specified port of departure. Time windows for arrival and departure are set for each event and must be agreed in advance. If this is not possible, the participant has responsibility for making their way to the venue.

Chaperoning is provided for the entire time a residential athlete is attending a VbDC event, from collection at the port of entry to departure. Normally at least one female and one male adult is present at all times in the hall of residence, and the athlete will be under supervision of a host family away from the training venue when that form of housing is taken. An athlete may leave this chaperoning, for instance to meet a member of the family who resides locally, only with the arrangement and written agreement from the athlete’s parents.

Residential students are encouraged to bring a device to maintain contact with their families. These may not be used during the training sessions.

Some halls of residence used do not permit under-18s to have internet access through the facilities in their rooms, although the internet is often accessible in coffeeshops on or near the training venue or residential campus. VbDC maintains an on-site mobile telephone and e-mail link which parents may use for urgent messages.

Residential athletes need to bring a five- or six-day supply of training kit. They also need an equivalent supply of street clothing, sleepwear, outerwear for inclement or cool weather, and a swimsuit, Personal goods, such as medicines and personal hygiene supplies must be brought.

A packing list of recommended items is provided to residential athletes a few weeks before the camp takes place. Goods should be able to fit in a single suitcase.

The simplest and most convenient way to register and pay is to do so on-line via the VbDC website.

Some camps will have an option for payment in instalments. For these camps places are reserved on receipt of the deposit and confirmed when the fee is paid in full.

Athletes who take part in VbDC events must provide their own insurance coverage. Athletes should consult their policy provider to ensure they have medical coverage while participating in sports activities. Athletes traveling long distances to an event, for example by airline or rail, are responsible for insurance coverage of their travel arrangements.

For Non-Residential Athletes

A shuttle service from and to the rail station nearest the training venue is provided for participants. Getting to the station is the responsibility of the athlete.

Day campers can be dropped off and collected only by immediate family or by someone for whom written authorisation has been provided, and these people may need to provide photo IDs.

Athletes are supervised for the entire time they are taking part in the event. Athletes may not leave the gym floor without permission and may not leave the venue for any non-emergency reason.

The most convenient way to register and pay non-residential fees is to do so on-line via the VbDC website. Bookings for the weekend camps must be paid in full to confirm a place.

Athletes who take part in VbDC events must provide their own insurance coverage. Athletes should consult their policy provider to ensure they have medical coverage while participating in sports activities.