May 25, 2015

USA Volleyball High Performance Team question….

My daughter attended a USAV High Performance try-out at one of the recent National Qualifying Tournaments.  She tried out as an O/S hitter (even though she is only 5'8") and received back notification that she was an alternate for the Women's Jr. National A1 Training Team.  Last night we received official invitation that a spot had opened up for her, making  her one of 33 girls (born in 96-97)  attending  this camp and championship tournament.   How likely is it that a player with this type of talent/recognition winds up with a college scholarship?   She has terrific overall skills and is great defensively, but we have always assumed her too short to be a player that could wind up with a scholarship.  What are your thoughts?  Are there any statistics that show USAV HP Pipeline players scholarships?  
Thank you for any insight you might have.  My daughter is honored (and slightly astonished!) to have been offered this camp.  With an 11/97 birthday, she was competing with some girls almost two full years older than her.   
Thank you for any help you can give this proud Mom of a short girl with "mad hops".


Congratulations on your daughter's selection to the USA Volleyball's A1 Training Team.  

It is important to distinguish the national development teams from college volleyball and recruiting.  The various USA Volleyball programs are specific to determining the 12 athletes which will ultimately represent the USA in the world competitions, with the Olympic being the most recognized.

College volleyball recruiting is a different environment - Of course, a majority of the A1 training team will receive a college volleyball scholarship but this is not the result of being named to the team.  The A1 athletes have an elite level of ability and the training team will empower them to develop their skill sets to an even high level during the course of the program.

A college scholarship is not determined or directly influenced by the A1 team.  A number of athletes may very well have committed to their future college even before being named to this team.  Those that are still evaluating their options will likely have any number of colleges/universities evaluating them before their selection.

I strongly caution you against making the leap from A1 to automatic scholarship simply because an athlete's ability to receive a scholarship is determined by talent and outreach.  If a player has college volleyball potential and they market/promote themselves to the appropriate level, then they will have the opportunity to play and receive some level of scholarship.  The key to a successful recruiting effort is matching the outreach efforts to the appropriate colleges/universities based upon the particulars of the athlete.

Use the A1 training experience to supplement your outreach effort.  That is great your daughter was selected but the reality is there are 1000's of players just as good who did not try out and/or passed on the invite.  Remember that college volleyball recruiting is a completive situation because the number of quality players vastly exceeds the number of roster and scholarship openings.

Separate USA Volleyball from college volleyball and recruiting; these are two different animals.


May 21, 2015

Outside Hitter or Middle Attacker….the Volleyball Position Decision

My daughter is a 5'11" freshman who was a starter on JV and has a strong chance of making varsity in the fall.
The question is what position she should try out for.  The varsity coach sees her ultimately as an outside hitter (in her upper classman years), but she would likely be a 2nd string player at that position next year.  However, there is not a clear 2nd middle blocker on her team.  If she were to focus on that position over the summer, she would likely be the best option at that position in the rotation (being the second best middle).
What are your thoughts on what she should do?  1.  Stay at outside and either sit the bench on varsity or stay at JV, or 2.  Go for middle, and likely have significant playing time on varsity?  Even though she is more comfortable and truly a better outside hitter than middle blocker.
Would a season at middle set her back in her development as an outside hitter? 
FYI, the reason she wouldn't play middle her junior year is that there is a 6'0" seventh grader making her way up who people are projecting would play middle in two years.

Thank you for your email and reading the world's best blog on anything to do with whatever I want to write about volleyball…..

From reading through the question and your background information, the positional choice is obvious to me…..outside hitter.

Take the ego boost or prestige of "varsity" out of the equation and it is not even a decision….outside hitter.

The coach sees her as an OH, she is a better at the OH position and she is more comfortable as an OH.  

Yes, a season in the middle position would hinder her development as an OH.  The outside hitter position is the most important playing spot in today's volleyball game.  The OH that can pass and attack and terminate, is Golden like KK.  Playing the MB position is a completely different set of skills, which do not translate into the OH position well.

With regards to sitting on Varsity or playing on JV….always better to play than sit!  A year on JV will allow her to concentrate on improving her skill sets and develop leadership ability without the pressure of "varsity".  She can make mistakes, she can try new shots, she can learn when to bang and when to roll, she can play outside of herself and lift up a team mate, etc.

In conclusion….Outside Hitter should be her position moving forward from right now!!!