July 2, 2018

Volleyball Recruiting Timeline...

Hi, Matt,

I met you at the AVCA combine in Grand Rapids last June and wrote you one other time.  My daughter, Olivia Barr, is a 6’ 2” sophomore/2020 MH (may be used as RH this fall) from this area.  We took your advice of reaching out to 100 colleges with her highlight video, and we have gotten dozens of responses from schools big and small, so thank you.

My question now is how to help her “build her resume” and move up the food chain of recruiting interest.  How important is it that we get her name on some watch lists (Max Preps, VolleyPrep, AVCA Phenom, PrepDig, etc.)?  Aren’t these often highly dependent on your coach?   (Some more actively nominate kids than others.)  And can’t the talent on these lists be significantly skewed by the level of play in which girls come from?  I’ve seen some underclassmen on these lists who likely wouldn’t even make the varsity at our high school.  Meanwhile, my kid can’t get recognized b/c she plays in a large school with a strong program and won’t even play varsity til her junior year!  So she obviously couldn’t have won any postseason awards as a sophomore at a much smaller high school might have, and, in some cases, that’s the criteria to get on the watch list!  Do college coaches care what watch lists you are or are not on?  Do they know it may not reflect your actual potential?

One more thing…  While I know this was a critical year for her recruiting-wise, Olivia insisted she not play club this season in order to spend more time with her mom who has advanced stage cancer.   This sounds like a great priority, but how much do you think it will hurt her chances at landing a good scholarship.  We’re trying to make a camp plan for this summer to increase her exposure.  Do you have any recommendations as to the type of camps to try and get her to?



Let me break out your questions for answers:

- Glad to hear that your reach out was succesful - Families have to understand that recruiting is competitive because of the sheer volume of talented players; only by reaching out can families put themselves into the best position.

- Watch lists do not matter to a college coach.  We are focused on the talent we see on video and/or in person.  A player could be the #5 Super Duper MB on Elite Prep Rocky Mountain Watch List and it makes no impression.

-  Don't focus on building her resume but rather building her skill sets.  Her ability will determine her opportunity.  Her being able to effectively transition from a block against the opponent's outside hitter into a slide attack with minimal footsteps and speed, is significantly more important that being on a some watchlist.

-  She still has plenty of time on the recruiting clock. An argument can be made that later in the recruiting process (Junior and Senior year), slightly tall players for their positions (scary that 6'2" MB would be considered slight tall, but it is true) can have even better opportunities.  The recruiting timeline has become fluid; there are so many late scholarship openings because of job changes, injuries, transfers, etc.  Of course, the sophomore year is important but I have just seen too many late opportunities that I always tell families to stay patient and keep working the recruiting process.

-  Of course, spending time with family is critical, especially now more than ever for your family.  In support of this general concept of family first, club families quickly realize that collegiate volleyball is so much more than club and look back upon their club days wondering why they stressed out about being all things everywhere for club volleyball.  

-  College Camps for recruiting is a very poor use of your time and money.  In effect, you are paying hundreds of dollars so one program can see you.  Also, camps are Disneyland, they are not real - Camps are not college volleyball.  Better to use that money on more video, more specialized skill development, yoga, massages, a recruiting service, etc.

I think you are in a good position - Stay focused on skill development and communicating with programs, while reaching out to new programs with video!  Your patience will be rewarded, I promise!


June 28, 2018

Switch Positions for Recruiting?

Hi coach,

My daughter is a 6'1" Freshman MH on both HS and club teams. The feedback we have received from at least one very high level D1 assistant coach is that she would project as a lower D1/High D2 Middle and have had interaction with some D1 schools at least enough to know that assessment seems accurate. It was also mentioned to us that she might project higher as a Right Side. She loves to play middle, but she has always said she would be willing to move positions in order to play in college. We live relatively rural and so 6'+ athletes are rare and so it is unlikely she would play anything but Middle in club or in school.  

My question is: In her emails and other online materials, how do we list her? I'm confused as to how it is viewed by college coaches.
Option 1 - List her as a MH since that's all she's played and let the college coach direct her toward RS?
Option 2 - List her as a MH/RS so they know she is willing to play there, even though she never has and probably won't before college?

A secondary question: Does a college coach view a difference between MH or MB? I assume these terms to be interchangeable, correct?



The terms MB/MH are interchangeable, so whatever works is good, but just be consistent with the term you select.

I advise players/families to play the position they enjoy the most, as opposed to switching positions for the college chase.  Unless it is obvious that a player is too short for their current position to move into a collegiate spot or they are obviously better in a different position, switching is like chasing the golden goose.

With your daughter getting some NCAA Division I recruiting attention​ as a Freshman is fantastic and don't overthink this good news.  Focus on skill development, so she has even more collegiate choices as she matriculates through high school.  

Keep her focused on becoming the best middle possible; college coaches will have their MB to RS glasses on when recruiting, so if they see a potential RS when watching her at a tourney, then let them bring that up.  

Stay focused on skill development and finding the best fit academically, athletically, geographically and socially as a family!