For many Potential Student Athletes (PSA), the biggest challenge of the recruiting process is to get his/her name out to colleges and universities. A valid concern because not every family has the financial ability or residential location to compete with a top flight junior volleyball club team.
To help with presenting PSA's to colleges, there exist a number of Recruiting Services or Companies available to families. As you might expect, they range from expensive to free, and from comprehensive to a waste of paper.
Let's start with Free! Yes, there are a number of recruiting services that are free to PSA's - these services are paid for by the colleges and universities that subscribe to that specific company. One service was Bill Feldman's American Volleyball Scouting Report, which focused on the greater mid west, but also had a few national updates. Bill's service was/is probably the most well known and enjoys large subscriber numbers, but Bill is going to shift his report to an international focus with his personal desire to live in Europe. A new recruiting company has come forward, modeled upon the same lines, College Volleyball Recruiting Services by Scott Carter. Another service based in Southern California and focusing on California athletes is run by the Lantange's, a long time member of the sport. I can't remember the exact name of the service, as I have never subscribed to it, but I have seen the materials, via other programs, and believe it is similar to the ones listed above. This is not a comprehensive list, as I have heard of others that are regionally focused, but I can't recall specific names.
There are a few positives with the recruiting services that are paid for by the colleges; the programs will definitely review information on players submitted by the service; if a player is listed on the service, then they are pre-qualified (to borrow a banking term) for college volleyball, the player information presented by these agencies is very comprehensive and the PSA's do not pay anything to be listed.
If an individual contacts you about obtaining information for a recruiting service, the first thing you should ask is if this recruiting service is paid for by the colleges or by the players. If it is paid for by the colleges, I strongly encourage you to submit the information as quickly and completely as possible. Because the service has contacted you, they have already decided that you will be attractive to those colleges that subscribe to their service and they are just needing to complete your profile. But, if they don't have your contact information, your academic information or college preferences, then they may have to delay putting your name into a current mailing to colleges.
The second type of a recruiting service are those that the PSA pays for. There are too many of these type of companies to list. If you do a simple computer search for 'volleyball recruiting', you will have any number of listings pop up. These companies can range from comprehensive to just a poor use of a tree. A few suggestions; 1) determine if the company is volleyball specific or supports all sports, 2) does the company use e-mail, postal mail or FAX, 3) can the company attach a skills video clip to an e-mail or does it have a quick link to a skills video on a host website, 4) does the company address the e-mail/mailing specifically to the coach by name, or is it just a 'Dear Coach' introduction.
In general, you want to consider those companies that are volleyball specific and combine e-mail-postal mail introductions of you, along with having a skills video clip available. NCAA volleyball programs receive a large number of PSA paid recruiting service e-mails-postal mails per week, with some of the well known Division I programs getting 10 to 20 a day. Since almost all the better focused and funded Division I teams subscribe to some type of recruiting service, there is not a big motivation to seriously review these PSA paid for recruiting services. Because of this, having a service that can link your video quickly is important. The odds are much better that someone will take a quick look at your video, if it is readily available, rather than contact you to request a video or make arrangements to see you play in person, based on a sheet of paper.
The services that I strongly suggest you stay away from, are those that just FAX out information to a mass list of contacts with no link to a video. The ones that I receive are of poor physical quality, they tend to not be complete in the information provided (no updated academic information, the club information is blank, there is no listing for an approach or block touch, etc.) and they just look like they were thrown together to make money for the service. These FAX services quickly find their way into the recycling bin of a majority of college programs.
If you feel you need assistance presenting yourself to potential college volleyball programs, then a recruiting service may be in your best interest. Maybe you will be fortunate enough to be listed on a service that charges the colleges, but if not, be very selective about what service you pay for to present your abilities.