October 23, 2014

Non Traditional College Volleyball Recruiting Effort


So my daughter is a 6’2 middle blocker who has already played her two years in JC and unfortunately did not get recruited her sophomore year. She’s received numerous of awards and was on first team all conference both freshman and sophomore year. However, she’s working two jobs while training and being a volunteer assistant coach at her old JC to upkeep her volleyball skills and such. 

She still wants to play at the higher level but is having trouble getting recruited for the 2015 school year especially since she legally cannot play another year of volleyball due to rules. Should she continue trying to get recruited or try to try-out as a walk-on to a college of her choice or just go off to college and focus on studies?


A Frustrated Father

Sorry to hear of your challenges - While there are many 4 year playing opportunities, college volleyball recruiting is an inexact science with many disappointments.

In situations such as these, my first question is, how comprehensive was your outreach process to 4 year schools?  

-  How many schools did your daughter (or you) directly reach out to?  If it was less than 150, then it was too little.

-  Did you expect or assume the college coach was going to market/reach out to schools for your daughter?

-  Did you match the schools your daughter was reaching out to, with her comfort zone (academic, athletic, academic)?

-  Did you match the reach out to appropriate level of collegiate play?

While it must be frustrating for the family (and especially your daughter), there are still options available for her to attain the goal of playing at a 4 year school.

1.  Restart the outreach process with 4 year schools, but be very aware of matching these schools with your daughter's specifics; academic standing, athletic ability, geographic comfort zone.

2.  Video is your best friend, and as she is still interacting with her JC, she can generate multiple videos to demonstrate her skills sets.  Don't worry about the year off; this stuff happens.

3.  Your best opportunity, because of eligbiity and transfer rules will most likely be with the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels.  Be prepared with official transcripts, test scores and a timeline which show what her playing history is.

4.  Start the heavy outreach in early November - You are competing against every senior in high school, JC transfer and 4 year transfer in the country.

5.  Be prepared to attend tryouts of schools in which your daughter is interested, and if they are reasonable to travel to (not cost prohibitive).  NAIA's and D2's can have tryouts.

6. The term Walk On only applies to Division I, which scholarship protocols dictate being on a full athletic scholarship or not.  All other 4 year divisions will package out their scholarship offers through various avenues and her abilities will influence this packaging.

It is time to become proactive and not reactive!

Good luck!

Coach Sonnichsen

October 20, 2014

Walk On to Scholarship - College Volleyball Recruiting


Our daughter has been offered a 1st year walk on and a three year scholarship for ds/libero at a Division 1 school.  Can you please explain this offer?  Club directors are saying it is a solid offer.


Because of a wealth of talented Liberos/DS's in club volleyball (natural back row players and ball control outside hitters who parents let them down by being short), DI coaches employ "walk on to scholarship" offers.  

This allows college volleyball programs to load up on passing and ball control players, while having an 'out' if a libero/ds does not perform as expected her freshman year.  Much easier to not honor a scholarship commitment, then not renew an actual scholarship.

It is a sign of today's recruiting environment, where paying for one year of college, with the promise (and that is all it is, a promise) of receiving a 3 year scholarship is a good offer.

My questions -

1.  Is your daughter a current Senior in high school?

2.  Have you been proactive in the outreach to schools which fit your daughter's comfort zone (academic, athletic, geographic)?

3.  Does she love the school?

If you can answer Yes to each question, then I would accept the scholarship offer and say your prayers that there is not a head coach change before your daughter's sophomore season.

Should Yes be an answer to #1 and #3, then I would still say accept the scholarship offer and still pray.

But, if you can't say Yes to more than one of the questions, then I would have hesitations to accept the scholarship.

Good luck!

Coach Sonnichsen