February 19, 2015

College Volleyball and Recruiting Services

Hi Coach,

I am on my second go around with a VB student athlete. Oldest plays at DIII Franklin & Marshall where she is a sophomore. My youngest is a sophomore in high school. I know you have a relationship with NCSA but I was wondering with the proliferation of recruiting services over the last few years, is there something coaches are looking for in the way they are contacted and presented an athlete? Are do it yourself videos and direct contacts still effective? Are there recruitment services that are better than others because they charge more/specific to vb/ endorsed by USAV?

Thanks in advance, your answers have always been helpful in the past.


Anything a recruiting service does, a family can do.  It is just a question of whether or not the family has the time and technological ability to manage today's recruiting processes.  The proliferation of recruiting services is due to technology becoming manageable/accessible and the quick capture/distribution of video.  So, yes, a family can still manage the process by using youtube or vimeo for posting videos and directly contacting college volleyball coaches.

College coaches are constantly looking for talent - That is the bottom line; talent.  If the representation of these talents is delivered quickly and easily 'digestible' to the college coach then this is a better vehicle in the evaluation of a recruit. Professional or home made, the talent is what matters.

As you noted, I have a relationship with NCSA - they were the recruiting service I used when I was a NCAA DI coach.  I found them to be the best in delivering to me recruits which best fit the parameters of my recruiting needs and presenting these recruits in a manner which was easy for me to evaluate.  In my opinion, the NCSA premium service is still the best in the business because of how much effort they put into college coach relations and working with recruits/families to find that best collegiate fit!

Congratulations on your oldest's career at Franklin and Marshall and good luck with the youngest one's recruiting process!


February 16, 2015

No Scholarship Needed!

Hey Coach,

I just found your website and am so grateful – what a great resource!  Like so many of the volleyparents that find  you, I’m beginning down the path of trying to help my daughter navigate the next stage of her volleyball life.  The particulars are she’s 15,  sophomore, setter, 5’8” (might grow another inch or so – wife and I both grew late), good hops (approach jump 9’6”), started as freshman and sophomore on a championship small school team in New England, playing national 16’s club as starting setter (just won their first tournament, yea!), national coach runs a 6-2 and often keeps her in to hit and block right side, and is a 4.0 student at a competitive private school.  She’s athletic (varsity tennis as a freshman) but loves volleyball and would drop everything else in life to play more.

My situation is probably a little different in that I’ve had the very good fortune to not be focused on looking for a scholarship.  I’m hoping her volleyball might make the difference in her getting into her top choice of schools.  She definitely wants to play in college and I’m guessing walk-ons are one in a thousand type odds, so I figure the recruitment process is a must for her to get a good look.

My questions are these:

1.        As we begin reaching out to the coaches from the schools she is interested in, do we even mention that we aren’t looking for a scholarship?  I know budgets are tight, but I’m not sure discussing that up front will hurt or help? 

2.        Does anyone recruit from New England?  Looking at the roster of the Yale volleyball team, they are almost all from California!   How much of a hindrance is our geography and the perception of the level of play?  Do New England players have a higher burden of proof? She’ll get some good national exposure this year at the club level, but I would love to hear your take.

3.       How important are the summer camps?  Which ones to focus on?

Thanks for all you that you’ve offered up so far and hope to hear more!


Not needing a scholarship definitely makes the process a bit more attainable in terms of securing an academically elite school but the bottom line for the college coach, is your daughter must make their program better.  From DI to DIII, there are any number of volleyball programs which are also great schools; Stanford, Northwestern, Rice, William and Mary, Washington University, Vassar, U of Chicago, etc.  

As your daughter is a setter and a sophomore (who is not 6'2"), your recruiting process will be a bit slower than a hitter position. Right now, focus on finding her comfort zone (academics, athletics and geography) and then start reaching out based upon this comfort zone.  I would not use the Scholarship Not Needed card right now, because if she could obtain a scholarship, it actually gives her a bit more security on the team…..and you can use that money for a parent celebration vacation when she does go off to college.

The N.E. region of the country is not considered a prime recruiting area; college coaches are not annually scheduling trips to Boston to recruit, like they do to Dallas.  Your geographic area is a hindrance and you will need to be focused in your outreach efforts and use of video demonstrate that your daughter is worth their recruiting review.  If her club teams are playing in a few of the national qualifiers or JVA/AAU events, then this will help, especially of you are able to compete outside of the eastern seaboard.  The key is the pre-tournament outreach in letting college coaches know she will be at MEQ's or LoneStar or AAU's.

Summer camps should not be viewed as recruiting opportunities first (or second or third).  Summer camps are great for a volleyball vacation and can be great for improving skill sets, but for recruiting….it is a lot of money for one school to see you.  Better to use that money and attend 5 combines this spring where she can get seen by hundreds of coaches.  If she wants to spend time on a college campus, then take some unofficial visits.  Also, summer camps are not reality…it is like Disneyland for volleyball; everybody is happy, everything looks great, it is fun, everybody laughs and there is fireworks at the end of the day.