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Early Contact

A Collaborative Effort

The Early Contact Initiative (ECI) is a collaborative effort between the OVA Youth Competitions Staff and the Indoor Volleyball Development Committee  (IVDC).  The IVDC  is made up of 11 members from an array of Indoor Clubs from across the Province;  Boys and Girls volleyball, big city, big club, small town, small club, grassroots volleyball, competition teams, etc., were all represented.

The ECI establishes OVA as a leading organization in the design of developmentally-appropriate youth competition systems.

Anchored in the principles of Long Term Development (LTD), the ECI is a set of rules geared toward assisting entry level players find the appropriate entry point along the OVA’s competition pathway. This flexibility increases developmentally-appropriate competition opportunities for younger players while providing the best experience possible for long term retention and success.

In order to achieve this success, three divisions were created to  help athletes find their fit. 

4v4 Rallyball (follows VC Rules for Tripleball): (UPDATED FOR 2023/2024)

  • Athletes born January 1st, 2011 and younger are eligible to participate in 4v4 Rallyball
  • There will be 4 regular season events for 4v4 Rallyball and the Ontario Championships.
  • Athletes in this age division are permitted to play in any division within ECI.
  • This stream will offer a male/coed division. This is due to the limited number of boys we experience within this age group. 
  • Please click the link below for more detailed information.

6v6 Rallyball (follows VC rules for Tripleball) (UPDATED FOR 2023/2024)

  • As per the Early Contact Initiative, the 6v6 Rallyball division features a 24-month age eligibility that allows athletes born January 1st, 2010 and younger to participate. 
  • There will be 4 regular season events for 6v6 Rallyball and the Ontario Championships.
  • Athletes are permitted to participate in all streams of ECI.
  • Please click the link below for more detailed information.
  • *As a Reminder* The 6v6 regular season tier structure is setup with a developmental focus. Both the boys and girls divisions will only split into 2 tiers (Trillium & Championship). If you are a very strong 6v6 team and are not finding the 6v6 Championship competition meaningful, your team should strongly consider moving to TLS. This will not only improve your teams meaningful competition but also the competitive balance for the remaining teams in 6v6. 

Traditional Limited-Specialized (TLS) (UPDATED for 2023/2024)

  • Athletes born September 1st, 2009 and younger are eligible for the TLS division. Athletes born between January 1st-August 31st, 2009 must complete an application stating their reasoning for playing in the TLS division prior to being eligible to compete (Application found here). 
  • There will be 4 regular season events for TLS and the Ontario Championships.
  • Please click the link below for more detailed information.

Birth Year and Targeted ECI Stream (UPDATED FOR 2023/2024)

Date Of Birth 4v4 Rallyball 6v6 Rallyball TLS
Sept 1st - Dec 31st 2009 = 14yo (Jan 1st-August 31th, 2009 through application) No No Yes
2010 = 14yo No Yes Yes
2011 = 13yo Yes Yes Yes
2012 = 12yo Yes Yes Yes
2013 = 11yo Yes Yes Yes**
2014 = 10yo Yes Yes** Yes**

*Please note 2013 and 2014 DOBs are permitted to participate in 6v6 Rallyball if developmentally appropriate, however, it is strongly encouraged that these athletes experience the full development spectrum as identified in ECI.

* Athletes born in 2009 are encouraged to play 15U Youth Competitions. However, athletes who are new to volleyball and born from September 1st-December 31st, 2009 have the option to play TLS if that is better suited for their skillset. Athletes born from January 1st-August 31st, 2009 are only eligible to compete in the TLS division through an application.

OVA Early Contact Initiative Explained

Click the link below to read the Early Contact Initiative Manual

General Resources

4v4 Rallyball


More information

6v6 Rallyball


More information

Traditional Limited-Specialized


More information

Early Contact Webinars

The OVA will host a series of webinars to help Clubs and coaches navigate the new ECI divisions. Please click on the links below to register for the webinars.

How to Build a Seasonal Plan for Early Contact

September 2, 2021 | 8:00 p.m.

Systems and Tactical Objectives for Early Contact Streams

September 13, 2021 | 8:00 p.m.

Planning a Practice Using the Seasonal Plan (4v4 Rallyball)

September 14, 2021 | 12:00 p.m.

Planning a Practice Using the Seasonal Plan (6v6 Rallyball)

September 21, 2021 | 12:00 p.m.

Planning a Practice Using the Seasonal Plan (TLS)

September 23, 2021 | 12:00 p.m.