September 8, 2020 – By NJP
Our NJP website has been updated this past week with a new theme, which brings some new functionality. We wanted to take the time to summarize the many features of the website as many members of volleyball community may not be familiar with all of our content.
Before we start, we wanted to give a big shout out to the many members of the NJ Volleyball Community that have helped us in our mission to promote the game of volleyball in New Jersey. We have reached out to hundreds of players, coaches, fans, and officials over this past two years and have received such an amazingly positive response. For the most part, our experience with players has been top notch. We continue to have respectful and knowledgeable communications through email, Instagram messages, Twitter messages & comments, and Facebook messenger. For many, these might be short and sweet questions and answers. For others, we have gotten into some great counseling sessions, middle of the night photo shop interactions, “Why are you still awake” questions, debates and discussions with Coaches, and hopefully very positive and encouraging interactions across the board.
We are also so appreciative of the college coaches we have had the chance to talk to for both men’s and woman’s programs at D1 through D3 levels. We have a dual mission to help guide them to recruit some of New Jersey’s best players as well as support all players in NJ to get visibility to those that are recruiting. There are so many great high school level players that have unlimited potential to succeed in college as student athletes. Our job is to inform, communicate, and provide information that can support students, players, and their families to make excellent decisions to achieve their goals, both academically and athletically.
NJP has two very different sides. We have an intense focus on analytics, providing data that is just not available on other websites. We like to do deep dives into statistics for high school players and teams, and present the results in a readable and concise format. We also approach statistics in a global way. So instead of presenting a top 20 ranking, we give you every team in the state. Instead of showing the players in the top 10, we show you every players stats and even attempt to supply apples to apples comparisons by presenting stats per set as many teams play 20 matches during the season and others play 50.
The other side of NJP does not involve math. It’s about the human side. We try to understand our players and coaches in our interviews and present them to the volleyball community in a real way. Hopefully, when you read our interviews, you can feel a players passion about volleyball, their family, their goals, and their stories that help define them as human beings. Its far beyond the mathematical equations and algorithms. And we also want to have fun along the way. We attempt to do this on our social media accounts. And we know our sense of humor is not for everyone, but hopefully we can get a laugh or chuckle at least some of the time.
Many of you have asked about how we got started and about our team. NJP originated in 2008. We loved the idea of bringing a new level of statistics to high school sports along with some positive, inspirational and motivating messages to a community that was drenched in negativity from high school forums that existed at the time where anonymous contributors would bash student athletes like they were professionals. We wanted to change that and started with our focus on high school hockey. We added numerous features over 8 years and reached 1M page views per year despite such a limited focus. Our roots and transition over time can be seen on the Wayback Machine link here: Click a date to see the website at that point in time. https://web.archive.org/web/20150401000000*/njpowerranking.com
Our new “theme” allows some extra functionality, especially on the homepage. Our last three posts are rotated by feature image so you can always see the latest content. Our posts are now organized into categories and contain tags to allow for easier searching in the areas that you care about. The most popular tags are listed horizontally near the top of the section for easy access. The latest posts are also scroll horizontally in a moving feed. Feature images will rotate for the latest articles and you can also view tabs which reflect the latest, most popular, and trending posts.
There are now also sidebar and footer categories that are worth exploring to ease navigation of the site and also provide access to some new features. Our new theme has allowed us to add this as well as other functionality that we hope you will helpful to ease navigation and facilitate your enjoyment of the site content.
In the right sidebar, there is now an NJP Site Search feature. This will facilitate access to items and ease the pain of finding specific items. You can enter a club name or high school name and see all the content that pertains to your request. It’s quick and easy…
Also in the right sidebar is an easy way to enter your email and get automatic updates when new content is released. No need to miss any new posts or articles as they will appear in your email automatically.
All of our posts are now categorized to better organize all of blog content. You can now choose a category of interest and see all of the posts that fall under that category. Our categories are currently High School, College, Club, Beach Volleyball, and Pro. We have sub-categories for girls/woman and boys/men making it easy for you to drill down into the content that interests you.
Our main menu for the site is shown below broken into categories of interest. Most all categories have a list to choose from in each category in a pull down format. We will discuss the various content pieces for each item.
And lastly, the right sidebar also contains a countdown clock to the next major volleyball event happening. The March 1 Girls High School season is noted here.
We also have a new tool that will convert the site into different language if your native language is something other than English. NJ is a diverse melting pot of culture and ethnicity and NJP embraces supporting all of our fans, no matter what their culture.
POSTS AND PAGES
Our posts are articles, feature articles, player interviews, coach interviews, and part of our daily communication blog. Posts are not pages. Pages are fixed and appear on site main menu or various sub menus. Posts appear numerous times a week and will be summarized by category, have tags for reference and search, and meant to be daily snippets like new articles. The best analogy for us is if you go to the Sports page of your daily paper. You will see various articles on current events. Those are our posts. Who won the game last night… who got injured… what was the storyline of a playoff race… etc. They also have a section for league standings by sports or stats of players. Those are our pages.
Our main menu appears on every site page and looks like this…
Our first category is called “The Flow” and reflects various methods of communication and information flow on volleyball content. There are seven (7) menu options to choose from…
News and Posts are one of our main ways to communicate on the site. Our “Posts” will include player and coaches interviews, articles on current volleyball topics, relevant stories on club season tournaments, and inspiration messages. In our new format, you can also access these directly on the home page. This page and all sub posts account for about half of our current website traffic and are a popular section that is visited often by our fans.
Blogs and Vidcasts are third party content providers that NJP has partnered with that showcases volleyball topics that may be of interest to our fans. This is an area we want to continue to expand. On our old NJP hockey website, we had some amazing “interns” that provided excellent content while learning the ropes as they aspired to be sports journalists. The forum we provided gave them a platform to get their work out to the masses and establish a following and always looks amazing on a resume when they searched for their first job after school. If you are still in school (high school or college), and would be interested in becoming an intern, reach out to us at email@example.com. If you have graduated and have interest in becoming a contributor, please reach out as well. We will be featuring contributor Josh Wilets for the upcoming season as well as JJ Post. Our Vidcasts will have access to existing Youtube playlists or facebook live links for Vidcasts or VLogs such as AML (Always More Line) or Out of System. These videocasts talk volleyball, have special guests, and are a fun way to kill an hour. They are very addicting, especially if you can relate to the characters involves. The Worsley brothers run Out of System and AML’s team is made up of a cast of characters from New Jersey clubs and colleges including NJCU Head Coach Carlo Edra and Justin Beaumont, and Team Freedom pro’s like Ryan Kenney.
The Notebook was designed to capture minor communications that are important but not lengthy enough for a post or blog entry. It may be insights on site updates, coming soon notices, Club tournament information and results, or other NJP blog type posts. It also includes more one off analysis on specific data sets.
Our social media accounts are our main way of communicating outside of the website. We currently have a social media presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We encourage all of our fans to follow us, friend us, like us, etc… on these platforms. Some content is exclusive to these platforms. We also have website pages that will have all of our social posts in a feed. These are located on “The Flow” menu which basically denotes “Information Flow”. Instagram is our main way of communicating with players. Facebook for Coaches and Twitter for both. It is typical that posts on Instagram will automatically be posted on the other two social platforms.
This page is for the NJP Volleyball Quiz where we test our fans knowledge of NJ volleyball. Our first effort was done for boys high school volleyball but we will be expanding to include quizzes for the girls and other topics. Leaderboard are established for each quiz. Test your knowledge vs. your friends and teammates as well as other members of the NJP community.
NJP often posts polls on relevant topics to see how our fans feel about certain topics. We archive older polls after and post them here. You will see polls pop up on other pages of the site as well.
Our Professional section is geared toward following Pro Leagues (Coming Soon) and Pro advice from Team Freedom players and coaches… so many professional players have NJ roots so if you think your volleyball life is over after playing in college, think again. It is hoped that the pro leagues continue to flourish in the upcoming years ahead.
Team Freedom and NJP teamed up last year to tap into the knowledge base of the elite players on their squad. Many players have offered up their advise and tips that range from specific advice by position to mental preparation to technical skills. We also have the profiles of the players who have contributed so you can the depth of their experience. Totally recommended for high school players to check it out.
Pro Leagues are emerging for both men and woman. We will links to all Pro league websites that will include standings and statistics with special highlights of NJ players. We will also have links to video of games and highlights so you can tune in and root for your favorites. Watching the Pro’s is a great learning tool and is highly recommended for all youth players to raise your volleyball IQ.
Sharing the great news about boys high school players committing to play volleyball in college is always a pleasure. Most of this information is coming straight from players currently. We would like to develop a cadence where high school and club coaches share this information as well. We always include information on the player (high school attended, their club, grad year) as well as information on the college program (division, location, link to school volleyball page, team record, division of play, and what NJ players are on the roster for that college).
Being able to accumulate a list of the abundance of girls high school players committing to play volleyball in college is an honor. Most of this information is coming straight from players currently. We would like to develop a cadence where high school and club coaches share this information as well. We always include information on the player (high school attended, their club, grad year) as well as information on the college program (division, location, link to school volleyball page, team record, and division of play).
COLLEGE INFO, RANKING & ENROLLMENT INFORMATION
This page has links to college rankings for both men and woman programs for each Division. If you are thinking about playing college volleyball, we also provide many link to help you assess your fit. We provide data and links to each colleges volleyball page as well as let you know the enrollment requirements and tuition fees. This will be a often visited page by high school juniors and their families as they map out their college application and visit plans.
NJP has recently started covering beach volleyball in New Jersey. We have sifted out all of the NJ players in each of the rankings by division to establish a NJ rank for beach players. There are also some additional links regarding beach volleyball that players will find helpful. Our college commitment page also includes beach volleyball college commits from high school players in case you were wondering.
NJ CLUB DIRECTORIES
There are many options when it comes to picking the right club to join. Many factors will need to be taken into consideration including cost, location, level of play, coaches, and programs. For first timers, it will always make sense to visit the location and meet the staff and coaches. Ask questions so you understand as much as possible about the experience. Need help? Use this question list as a head start. Understanding expectations from coaches is always an important question to stay on the same page and get the most out of the experience. NJP provides information on all NJ Boys Clubs and all NJ Girls Clubs. Just click on the links for club name, website, and contact email.
NJP strives to maintain club rosters that are easily available for viewing for both boys and girls programs between U15 and U18. We focus on these ages because they are high school level players. Some Clubs publish this information. Others do not. It is a HUGE project to collect this information in our database as we also collect the high school’s attended by each club player, which is almost never available on the club websites. As part of pre-season team assessments and rankings, we evaluate how many club players are on each roster as well as the level of play for each club player. As you review the club rosters for both boy and girl players, you will be able to see how many club players are on each high school roster. This will be factored in to our pre-season rating. We reach out to many players directly to find out this information and so appreciate their involvement and contributions. It’s tedious and time consuming but it gives us the opportunity to form relationships with players that can last far past high school. We still talk with hockey players from NJ from our old website that are now in the pros. Boys Club Rosters 2019-20 *** Girls Club Rosters 2019-20
BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
Our Boys High School pages were the first to launch on Volleyball site in 2018. With the rise of Boys volleyball in popularity, we dusted off our hockey skates and traded them in for a new set of volleyball shoes for the 2019 boys season. We took all of the proprietary algorithms from the hockey site and brought them over to NJ HS Boys volleyball while keeping our fingers crossed that the system would still be as accurate. Our claim to fame on the hockey site was that our rating system applied to all of teams in the state could produce a 85% win ratio in head to head match-ups. “The Predictor” was born as we took the nightly schedule, matched up the ratings for the two teams playing, and would “predict” the score and winning team. The validity of our rating system was put to the test and proved to be a sound mathematical foundation. When you consider all of the factors involved in predicting winners at the high school level, we felt very satisfied that our math worked. Who is sick, who gets benched, who wants to go out with their girlfriend instead of going to the game, who was injured, who went to the prom instead of the game, who upset the coach and got less playing time, and numerous other factors make it a sea of uncertainty that math can not anticipate. But the big deal for us was looking at the stats and rankings of all teams playing. Not just the top 20. Rating 150 teams for the boys over over 300 for the girls is a bit more of a challenge. But a challenge we take head on.
Our team rating and rankings will typically come out weekly. Our key to success and the most important feature of our ratings algorithm is schedule strength of opponents as well as margin of victory against those opponents. Those factors drive over 70% of the rating formula. As we started with boys volleyball, our results yielded a 90% win rate calculation early in the year, which was 5 points better than high school hockey. We finished at 88% which almost 9 of ten winners selected. In the words of Adam Sandler…”Not too shabby!” Most of the NJP content is geared toward high school players.
The NJP high school sections have numerous pages of data and analysis. We have our Ranking page which for the upcoming season will accumulate during the year so you can refer to older rankings as well. The ranking page will have an abundance of analytic data on the team, show the points scored and against, margin of victory, record, win percentage, and other details such as division, conference, and section. The nightly Predictor is a big part of the boys coverage. And NJP also prepared detailed pre-season reports for almost 75 teams in preparation for the 2020 season (which as you know was cancelled due to COVID).
We also will have an abundance of “Posts” on a daily basis on boys or girls high school volleyball. These are all in addition to our more fixed coverage on the menus. Various articles and player interviews are included in posts that can be searched by category or tag.
GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
Our Girls high school volleyball coverage started this season as we went back in time to create information for 2019 and brought that forward in our pre-season analysis for 2020. We introduced a “Drop Knowledge” page for the girls where we post an abundance of data and looks at individual players stats, player rankings, stats/set, team pre-season data and analysis, and pre-season rating, rankings, and much, much more. We are always looking new ways to drop some knowledge on our volleyball community and welcome ideas for new looks on the stats.
Articles and player interviews are in addition to the fixed content on pages. Our fixed content includes standings, game schedules and scores, game predictions, team rankings (off all teams in the state) and a new feature coming soon called “Spikes”. Spikes are nightly acknowledgements of great performances by members of the volleyball community. It could be of a setter who gets 30 assists or Coach who gets their 300th win. It might be an outside who tallies 20 kills or a middle who puts up 10 blocks in a game. These snipets will highlights the performances of the night and will commence with the girls high school on March 1.
NJP provides other valuable volleyball resources on the website.
Our resource links page provides quick access to numerous external resources including volleyball rules, guidelines, rankings, archive and history of volleyball in NJ and much more. Items will continue to be added and updated as new resources become available. Suggestions always welcome from our fans.
VOLLEYBALL TERMS AND VOCABULARY
New to the game? Need a refresher on what all the terms and vocabulary mean? We continue to add to this voluminous list of phrases, slang, and expressions heard around the court or on the beach. And we have had some fun here as well as you will see as read through over 300 descriptions. Have fun!
NJP has produced two game day videos, one for the boys and one for the girls, to help get players blood pumping before games or practices. The boys version is a journey of dreams of what “can be” for the upcoming season and showcases many former or current players. The girls version is a metal blast-off that joins pictures and videos of NJ players combined with some video and images from across the country to fire up your soul and lift up your energy level. Some great pics and videos compiled for your enjoyment. Check them out at these links… BOYS GAME DAY *** GIRLS GAME DAY
What is NJP TV? Well, we save you all the time of searching through volleyball videos on the web and have curated playlists of great videos in the following topics… volleyball training, NJ high school player recruitment videos, NJ high school game videos, motivational videos, coaches resource videos, and college highlight and match videos. Great stuff and always changing.
Curious on how NJ ranks against other states in volleyball participation in high school? Want to know how volleyball in NJ ranks against other sports by gender? NJP take a deep-dive look into historical and current participation levels in a fascinating download of stats and facts. Worth the time to read for info junkies…