November 24, 2014

Setter or Hitter in Club Volleyball?

My 13 year old daughter has played one year of club volleyball and 7th grade Junior high. Her strongest position is setter and has received compliments from other coaches about her setting skills. Her weakest position is hitter. She recently was accepted into a more elite club and has been practicing for a few weeks. I guess this is the time when the coaches evaluate and make their teams. 

The coaches told her that she would not be setter but a hitter. My daughter is frustrated and confused by this decision. Do you have any idea why they wouldn't put her on a team as a setter?

Thanks, P.B.

Without seeing your daughter's skills first hand, and those of her team mates, I cannot accurately speak to the decision made by the club coaches.

But, experience has taught me a few things about youth players and teams:

- As your daughter is only in 7th grade and has just one year of club, the difference between her "strongest position" of setting and "weakest position" of hitting may not be as large as you feel.

-  Being new to the club, the coaches may not have yet seen her complete ability as a setter and the coming months can bring a positional change.

- Coaches assemble their teams like putting together the pieces of the puzzle to make the best possible picture.  They have to look at the strength and weaknesses of each player, and determine what position to place that player so the team can achieve the highest level of success.  

-  To this end, the coaches must feel that your daughter can better impact the success of the team by being a hitter rather than a setter.  

This is a positive development because it will increase her all around abilities and at a young age, this is a very good thing.  As she continues to play, and wishes to focus on setting on older age group teams, her experience being a hitter will only enhance her setting abilities.

In closing, please remember that she is just in 7th grade, and has years of volleyball ahead of her - The most important focus at this age is developing skill sets; who knows exactly what her high school (and maybe collegiate position) will be.  By developing all around skills, and gaining valuable experience playing different positions, your daughter will be well suited to excel as she matures!

Coach Sonnichsen

November 20, 2014

Club Volleyball Playing Position and College Volleyball Recruiting


My daughter is a sophomore this year and is having trouble picking her position to play this year in club. She has always been a middle blocker but was moved to right side in the middle of the season based on needs of the team. She is very good and has equivalent skills in each position. 

The only problem is that she is just 6 foot and we think it will be hard for her to get a college scholarship in the middle position, even though she can jump very high and lead her team in blocking at the middle position; not that she doesn't block well at the right side as well. 

We would really like to hear your opinion on this.

Thank you for your time, S.C.

The challenge is not choosing the position but rather defining the "college scholarship" - For DI, the right side players are just about as tall and as the MB, so saying that a 6 foot middle moving to the right will yield more scholarship opportunities is not really accurate within the DI ranks.

A recent phenomenon in college recruiting, is that many mid to lower DI programs, and almost all DII and other catagories, have real difficulty finding truly talented middle blockers as a result of so many players moving to RS/OH in club because they think that they are too short at 5'11"+ to get a scholarship as a middle.

The advice I would give you is to stay as an MB this year, because it is easy to move from MB to RS at a later date, and many college coaches will recruit an MB with the thought that they can always move her to the RS if need be.  

As a Junior, if she is faced with this same decision, she should play the position she most enjoys because if she does that, then whatever college she chooses to attend, she will have a good experience!

Coach Sonnichsen