If you have questions that are not answered here, please contact us by email at info+web@steelcityvolleyball.org.

I want to join the league. What do I need to know?
Do I have to identify as LGBTQIA+ to be a part of this league?
How do games / matches run throughout the season?
Who can join?
When and What are the volleyball seasons?
Where does the SCVL play volleyball each season?
How many divisions are there? Which one do I join?
What kind of skills do I need to be a part of the league?
How much does it cost to play?
What equipment do I need?
What are my responsibilities, aside from playing?
What if I can’t commit to playing every Sunday?
What is SCVL’s cancellation policy during inclement weather conditions?

I want to join the league. What do I need to know?

There are a few main things to know to join our league:

    1. We have two seasons annually during which we register players (one late August through December, one January to May), and we have open play during the summer (Sundays for all levels of play, Tuesdays for Competitive and higher levels, at no charge).
    2. Registration opens a few weeks before play and while our rates may change in the future, currently it’s $65 to join a single division. After your first season with the league you may have the chance to play in two divisions for an additional fee (currently an extra $30). People who play in two divisions agree to mentor the players in the lower division in which they play. There is a student discount ($20) for full time students. Online registration carries a $3 processing fee.
    3. Because we have limited capacity, current players get first chance to register. After pre-registration ends, we allow new players to register on a first-come, first-served basis. Once we hit our registration cap, we allow a limited number of people to go on the waitlist. In recent history we have been able to accommodate all players on our wait list. Sign up will be published on our website as well as on our Facebook page.

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Do I have to identify as LGBTQIA+ to be a part of this league?

Our primary mission is to serve the LGBTQIA+ community, but we welcome our allies to join as well.

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How do games / matches run throughout the season?

Our new schedule will run Sundays from 3:30 – 8:30PM in the fall and spring. Matches will run for 50 minutes with 10 minute warm-ups. Your team will usually play one match each week; however teams may play in two matches or no matches at all on a given week. Schedules are provided at the beginning of the season, and are summarized for the upcoming Sunday a few days ahead of time via our weekly email.

Regular season matches consist of 3 games to 25 (each game starting 4-4) with a cap at 27, or until time expires. Cannot end in tie – if time expires, next point wins. If time does not expire, must win by 2.

During playoffs, matches consist of best 2 out of 3 games. First two games to 25 (starting 0-0) cap at 27. Third game, if needed, to 15 (starting 0-0) with no cap. Must win by 2.

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Who can join?

We welcome anyone who is at least 18 and do our best to be inclusive and supportive. From our mission statement: “Our volleyball league is open to adults regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, livelihood, culture, race, religion, or ethnicity; and without regard for volleyball ability, skill, or experience.” 

We have a legacy as a gay social organization (now articulated as LGBTQIA+) and are focused on building a culture that is supportive, encouraging, and inclusive of all people, especially if those people are invested in being welcome to others.

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When and What are the volleyball seasons?

There are two seasons of official league play; Fall & Spring. During the summer there are unofficial pickup games.

The Fall season typically runs from August/September to December. The Spring season typically runs from January to April/May.

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Where does the SCVL play volleyball each season?

New this year, our indoor seasons are moving to Grit Athletix. Grit Athletix is located at 2920 McKelvey Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15221.

During the summer we setup nets in the grass near the Schenley Park Oval.

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How do I know which division I should play in?

We have a rubric which you can access here that generally describes what we expect from players at each skill level. Use that for your best judgement, and choose the division for which you think you should try out. If you’re not sure, you probably want to try out for the lower of the two divisions you’re considering; we’ll let you know if we think you should try for something higher once we see you play. 

If you want to play in anything other than the Recreational level, you will need to come to one of our rating sessions. Absolutely no exception. NONE. Sorry. Those happen at the start of each season, prior to regular season, where we observe you play in a controlled environment to make sure you are placed in a division commensurate with your skill level. 

  • Recreational play is for beginners and lower-skill players, and you do not need to be rated to play in this division.
  • Intermediate-level play is for people who get the basics of volleyball (pass, set, hit, etc) but are still working on some of the fundamental skills and knowledge. Players may or may not have set positions such as hitter or setter. Typically use a 4-2 rotation with setting in the center or on the right.
  • Competitive play starts to use a 5-1 rotation. Players at this level have a good foundation in passing, hitting, knowledge, and ability. There are dedicated positions for setters and hitters (outside, right side, middle).
  • Power is for more consistent levels of play with dedicated positions, including libero. The pace of the game is faster. Players at this level are very consistent with skill execution and pace of play. 
  • Power Plus is our most advanced level of play. Many of these players have played in high school and/or college, and we have a few people who may have played at a D-1 school, etc. This is a fast-paced game. You are highly likely to get hurt (and maybe hurt others) if you don’t know what you’re doing. If that scares you, this is not your level of play.

The benefit of the five-division structure is that it will help focus and define more qualitatively the level of play expected in each division, which will make it easier for players to develop their skills and progress upward if they choose to do so.

If you are rated as a Power Plus player, you may – for an additional $30 – play in the Power Division.
If you are rated as a Power player, you may – for an additional $30 – play in the Competitive Division.
If you are rated as a Competitive player, you may – for an additional $30 – play in the Intermediate Division.
If you are rated as an Intermediate player, you may – for an additional $30 – play in the Recreational Division.

If you elect to play in two different divisions, we ask that you are mindful of the skill set for each particular division, and remember that the primary role in playing a second division is mentorship. When playing down, you should expect a level of expertise that is not your own.  We encourage you to exercise patience and understanding.  You will be serving as a mentor to help increase the skills and knowledge of the players in that division, and your attitude should reflect the capacity of that role. We will also ask for flexibility with position you play when mentoring, as you should be helping the lower skilled players on your team develop their skills first.

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What kind of skills do I need to be a part of the league?

The league consists of players with various skill levels — from highly skilled “A” and “B” level players to players who have only played picnic volleyball.

The first few weeks of the season include some open play opportunities alongside our ratings process.

Once you join, if you are a novice, you will be given some basic training in bumping, setting, hitting, and serving during game play, with opportunities to attend skills clinics when offered. You will also learn the basic rules, principles, and strategies of volleyball.

The volleyball matches are refereed by league members following the US Volleyball Association rules. If you’ve never played volleyball “by the rules”, odds are you will be pleasantly surprised by how much fun the game can be.

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How much does it cost to play?

For players who participate in one division, the fee is $65 per person, per season. For players who wish to participate in two divisions, the fee is $95 per person, per season. We offer a student discount (with valid ID) of $20 for one division.

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What equipment do I need?

You will need athletic attire. Out of courtesy for the facility, and to keep the courts from getting dirty (and slippery as a result), street shoes are not permitted on the court. Please carry a pair of court shoes into the building and wear them after you are inside.

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What are my responsibilities, aside from playing?

When your team is not playing in a match, your team will often be required to referee matches in your division (two Referees, two Line Judges, and a Score Keeper).

The more experienced players usually take the Referee positions, but we encourage everyone to develop the skills to referee.

The Line Judges watch the court boundaries and the ball. They determine if the ball is “in” or “out” when the ball hits the floor near a court boundary. They also watch the server for foot faults during the serve.

The Score Keeper maintains an accurate score.

If you have never performed any of these tasks, don’t worry. Assistance will be provided. Your most important responsibilities are to have fun and enjoy the game.

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What if I can’t commit to playing every Sunday?

Part-time players are welcome. The cost remains the same as a full-time player. Please reference the league costs above for current rates.

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What is SCVL’s cancellation policy during inclement weather conditions?

SCVL’s decision to cancel matches will usually be made by 12:00PM on Sundays and a notice will be posted on the front page of our website, Facebook Group. Cancellation may be on shorter notice in extenuating circumstances.

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How do I get better at volleyball?

Our league is dedicated to helping players of all skill levels to improve their game. There are two primary ways we support this in the league (aside from regular volleyball play):

  1. Mentorship, in the form of players from the division above playing down to give feedback to players to help them play the game better
  2. Skill clinics, during which board members, more advanced players, and occasionally outside coaches work with people within a skill level on everything from fundamentals such as passing and court position to advanced hitting and defensive techniques. 

We have a few people in the league who coach and there are other places in the Pittsburgh region where you can get coaching, and many of our members attend an annual adult volleyball camp at Slippery Rock University. Ask a board member if you want more info.

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The mission of the Steel City Volleyball League (SCVL) is to provide LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual, other sexualities) people along with LGBTQIA+ allies an opportunity to learn, play, and grow in the organized sport of recreational and competitive volleyball. Our volleyball league is open to adults regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, livelihood, culture, race, religion, or ethnicity; and without regard for volleyball ability, skill, or experience. We are an inclusive league valuing the respect and dignity of others and, expect the same from anyone who would like to join our league.