July 25, 2016

Outside Hitter or Defensive Specialist for College Volleyball Recruiting

Hi Coach,

Thank you for your wonderful book and website.  Both are absolute gems in guiding us through the Byzantine world of volleyball recruiting.

My soon-to-be junior daughter is faced with the choice to again play for the 1s team at her club as a DS (but not L), with a limited opportunity to hit.  She's a heavy-armed 5'10" hitter who mostly played DS this season, but played 6-rotations at Nationals. Prepvolleyball.com named her one of their Shining Stars.  Her first love is defense though and she passes nails.  She's played on 1s teams her entire career.

Next year, the club is bringing in a new outside, so she'll have two 6'-2" girls in front of her.  She's been told she can compete for a hitting posisition, but that seems unlikely. Her other option is to be a 6-rotation outside for the 2s that, according to the club director, needs power and defense.

The talent level between the two teams was wide this season. My daughter's team won the National division championship, while the 2s team was 31st in the USA division.  We're being told it will narrow next season.

She's smart enough to realize that she's not going to hit big-time DI.  She has Ivy League level academics (don't they all!) and wants to be a chemical engineer.  She knows DIII and smaller DI are very much in her future as those are some of the top engineering schools in the country

As I mentioned, she loves defense. She's spoken to a couple DI coaches (A10 and Big East) and both have told her they are slotting her for Libero.  She's also been invited to a some elite camps.

We've been hearing lately that many schools are looking at the undersized outsides who are athletic to turn them into Liberos and that coaches are starting to like bigger, stronger girls for the position.  On the other hand, Her size and skill set seem to make her  to make her a natural for outside/6-rotation at smaller schools.

We're getting conflicting information about how college coaches view 1s team players and 2s team players.  Both squads will go to the same tourneys next season - two national qualifiers, a big time President's day tourney, and Bluegrass.  We've heard it's easy to explain why she's playing down - because she wanted to hit and be on the court all the time. We've also heard it's easy to explain to college coaches why she's not hitting (two 6'2"s in front of her).  Then again, one coach told her they want to see her play defense against the best competition and didn't care at all if she hit.

What are you thoughts on this dilemma?

Granted, it's a high-class problem to have, but...help!!!!

Confused Dad

Quick Answer - Have her play 6 rotation OH on the 2nd team.  Have a nice day.

Bullet Point Explanation of Quick Answer:
  • Played 6 rotation OH at USA Volleyball Championships and they won the National division.
  • She is 5'10", passes "nails" and has a heavy arm.
  • Chemical Engineer majors have a tough tough tough academic situation trying to play mid-major and elite DI volleyball simply because of the massive volleyball time commitment with training and travel.
  • If for academic sanity and success, she is focusing outside of the crazy level of DI volleyball, then playing on team super duper for 3 rotations is not as valuable as playing 6 rotations for team solid duper in club. 
  • College coaches will recruit a great passing/defending OH who might not break into the starting lineup and move them into a back row position, and this protocol has been happening for many years.  The thought process is the college coaches knows the recruit can at least play DS, but also the positive of maybe becoming a valuable attacker.
  • Each coach will have their own wonderful view of all things volleyball recruiting - Some like this and some like that and some like both or none at all.....Ignore all of that and have your daughter do what is best for her and her goals.
From what you have expressed, there really should not be any hesitation to move onto the 2nd team, and actively manage the recruiting process to obtain the best academic and volleyball combination specific to your daughter's desires.

Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and this website; "...the Byzantine world of volleyball recruiting" is only getting more confusing and I am glad that I can help families make their best choice.


July 21, 2016

Rising Senior Volleyball Recruiting Question

Hi Coach

You have helped me in the past with my older daughter who is now the starting setter at a NCAA DIII school.  Now my younger daughter, rising high school senior and also a setter, is being recruited by some of the same DIII schools that we looked at 4 years ago. 

There is one DI, Big East Conference school that is local to us that has continually viewed her profile and video on her recruiting page. The school is very local to us and she has attended some clinics and camps there over the past couple of years and may go back for one more this year. 

They have not officially reached out to her but have viewed her page more than a dozen times this past year. Can she ask the coach about the interest? If she attends a clinic this summer can she discuss recruitment and her continued review of her film etc? Are we reading too much into this?

Thanks in advance for your reply.



Glad to have helped with Daughter Number One and hope that she is enjoying her college volleyball experience.

With regards to Daughter Number Two, never hesitate to request clarity from the college coaches.  By all means, have your daughter shoot them an email asking if they are recruiting a setter for her grad year?  And if so, is she one of their top 3 prospects?

I would not attend their camp/clinic for recruiting unless they express a clear interest in her (and not the, "yes, we like you and you should come to our camp" interest).  If your daughter enjoys the setting training and the overall experience, then that is a different slant on their camp.  

If they are interested, then that interest should be enforced with an invite for an Unofficial Visit - Camps are not unofficial visits.  An Unofficial Visit provides a much better opportunity for the recruit and family to evaluate the program, school and campus than the unrealistic camp atmosphere.

Assistant volleyball coaches will do a lot of back up work, as part of the recruiting process.  If they don't get the commitment that the head coach wants from Recruit #1, then they need to have Recruit #2-#5 ready to be queued up for a serious press.

I would be concerned that this DI has not reached out, as your baby girl is a rising senior and DI's are not shy about making contact with a 'just in case' recruit; that is why I suggest your daughter email them.

If they don't respond or give her the non-answer answer, then drop that school.  If that DI does express a sincere interest, then keep up the communication and immediately reach out to similar preference DI's.  The local DI is giving you valuable feedback on her collegiate evaluation and potential - Use this information to contact similar DI's, so you can have the luxury of choice that may well come with a Full Athletic Scholarship.