April 17, 2014

Recruited Walk On Position


Hi Coach - Hi back to you!  I will answer your very good question in CAPS below!  Apologies for YELLING back the answers!

Thank you again for the insight your website provides!

I have a question regarding recruited walk-ons and the DS/Libero postion.

My daughter is a junior and has visited about 8 small to mid-size D1 programs as well as a handful of D3 programs.  GOOD - HOPEFULLY YOU WENT ON A FEW OR ALL OF THESE VISITS?

All the school are very highly ranked scholastically and that has been her focus in targeting schools.  GOOD TO USE VOLLEYBALL AS THE VEHICLE TO ACHIEVE ACADEMIC GOALS!

From what we learned from our visits at the D1 programs it seems to be the norm that for the DS/L position they are initially offering a walk on spot with merit money, with potential to earn athletic scholarship money as an upper classman.  They use examples of their current DS players who followed the same path and received 2 years of athletic money, but no guarantee of course.  From your experience is that offer the normal trend as DS/L players are less valued due to supply and demand?

YES - SUPPLY AND DEMAND IS THE KEY TO COACHES BEING ABLE TO FIND VERY GOOD WALK ONS AND NOT HAVE TO IMMEDIATELY OR ALWAYS USE A SCHOLARSHIP.  2 YEARS IS A BIT STEEP, BUT NOT UNCOMMON.  MANY SCHOOLS HAVE A RECRUITED PLAYER WALK ON FOR 1 YEAR, WHILE MANY SCHOOLS SAY NO GUARANTEE AT ALL OF A SCHOLARSHIP EVER!


Regarding merit money, I'm sure this is different by school, but do you have any sense of how/if is that typically renewed year to year?  And should the program be able to define that amount before the player commits to the walk on spot, or is merit money not defined until the player receives the school's acceptance letter?

NON ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT SCHOLARSHIPS (ACADEMIC/MERIT/NEED BASED) HAVE RENEWAL DEPENDENT PER THE DICTATES OF THE SCHOLARSHIP SOURCE AND ATHLETICS IS POINTEDLY REMOVED FROM THE PROCESS.  SOME PROGRAMS CAN PAINT A GENERAL PICTURE OF ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, BUT IT IS BEST TO DEAL DIRECTLY WITH ADMISSIONS/FINANCIAL AID - THESE ARE THE OFFICES THAT CAN INFORM YOU WHAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE BASED UPON YOUR PARTICULARS.

One of the D1 schools that my daughter visited has become above and beyond her first choice for first volleyball and academics in the pool of the dozen colleges we have seen.  I know in your other posts you suggest that a player should not normally accept a recruited walk on position until the spring of their senior year to leave scholarship options open.  But for her DS/L position would she likely find herself with the same offer elsewhere? And based on supply and demand regarding her favorite school, is there likely another DS in the wings who would snatch up the recruited walk on opportunity if she doesn't? 

NOT NECESSARILY WITH REGARDS TO THE SAME OFFER/POSITION ELSEWHERE AS A SENIOR.  THINGS CAN CHANGE DURING A PLAYER'S SENIOR YEAR WITH COLLEGE - COACHING CHANGES, PLAYER'S GETTING CUT, PLAYER'S QUITTING, ETC., WHICH CAN OFTEN TIMES RESULT IN AN ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY.  

BUT, YOUR DAUGHTER (AND FAMILY) HAS A DIFFERENT MENTALITY THAN YOUR AVERAGE LIBERO; YOU KNOW THAT VOLLEYBALL IS THE AVENUE TOWARDS THE ACADEMIC GOAL AND IF SHE HAS FOUND THE ACADEMIC FIT SHE WANTS (AND WOULD WANT TO BE AT THAT SCHOOL IF VOLLEYBALL VANISHED), THEN I WOULD MOVE FORWARD WITH SECURING THE RECRUITED WALK ON OFFER, WHILE PURSUING NON ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS.

Thank you so much for your help. 

ABSOLUTELY AND GOOD LUCK! 

 - T

April 14, 2014

PSA's Calling a College Coach

Coach - After a combine, college coaches asked some of our club players to call them.  The players are all shy and scared to call.  Any thoughts on how they approach those calls?  What do they ask about?  What should they not talk about?    

Any thoughts you have are appreciated and I will pass on to our club families.

Aloha!


L.A.



And Aloha back to you!

This is one of the negatives of the accelerated recruiting process; placing 15 and 16 year olds in the position of having to call and talk with adults!

My thoughts:

1.  They should only call a program/coach, in which they are sincerely interested in.  Further, if they are a Freshman, they should not call at all.  If they are a Junior, then they should only call the coaches who have been consistent in sending emails; it is lazy of the coach to send one email and then say 'call me' - I think the coach has to do their job and 'recruit' by developing a rapport over the emails first.  The sophomore year is a bit tricky because of communication rules.

2.  The first call should be an established time; this can be done via email.  Even the sophomores can write and say, I will call you tuesday at 9 p.m.  The juniors can easily email and determine a good time to call.

3.  The first call should also be a family call - It should be on speaker phone with the Dad/Mom also on the call.  I suggest the parent start talking first; make the call, say hello, chit chat a bit and then 'hand it' over to the player.  This will provide some comfort for the player, and keep the parents involved in the recruiting communication.

4.  Have a short list of questions; How is the spring training going for your team?  What does the team usually do in the off season for volleyball? Have you determined what spring tournaments you will play in?  Give them a quick update on how the club season is going?  Let them know when the next trip to the mainland will occur.

5.  I would not dive too deep into the academics/program philosophies/meaning of life on that first call.  It is more just a soft touch, meet and greet, chit chat to get a feel for the coach and how they communicated.  On the second call, or unofficial visit, that is when you want to get serious about the serious stuff.

Hopefully this gives a starting point in the verbal communication part of the recruiting process.

Coach Sonnichsen