December 30, 2007

Recruiting: Self-Promotion at Club Tournaments

The Division I recruiting calendar has approximately one month until the Quiet Period comes to an end and a hoard of Division I coaches will descend. Remember that the NCAA recruiting calendar only affects Division I programs - NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA and JC programs are all allowed to be recruiting at this time.

If you are a High School Freshman, Sophomore or Junior club player, I suggest you read and follow my
Recruiting Plan located on the side bar on the lower part of this page.

As an Unsigned Senior (you have not signed a National Letter of Intent or have not made a Verbal Commitment, which means the same in college volleyball etiquette) this coming club season is your last, best opportunity to showcase your skills to college coaches. Much of finding a college to fit your desires is helping a college to find YOU! In the Recruiting Plan, linked above, there is a game plan for your Senior Year, but in this post I wish to concentrate upon how to self-promote at Club tournaments.

There are so many club players that are Unsigned Seniors and after the end of the college season, coaches that thought they were done recruiting may have to find a player to fill out the incoming recruiting class, along with those programs that never stopped recruiting the incoming class. You want to make sure that these coaches can find you at tournaments to evaluate your abilities.

A few suggestions:

1. Make sure you are registered with
University Athlete at the linked website. University Athlete has become the platform for Division I college programs to augment their recruiting needs. The registration is free and allows you to present your information in a search able manner for college coaches.

2. Confirm that your club coach or director has sent your current information and status as an Unsigned Senior for an upcoming tournament to University Athlete. All those college coaches that you see walking around tournaments and looking at their hand held devices are using the University Athlete recruiting and tournament information software. University Athlete inputs player and team data directly from the information they receive via the clubs - all the large national tournaments use the University Athlete software.

The tournament player information and website player information may be able to link together, but at a tournament when coaches are making decisions don't take a chance. Even though the handheld devices are fantastic, there are still many instances when I can't find current information about a player.

3. Generate a detailed one page flier to put in the college coach's hospitality room - this room can be accessed by your club coach or director. Information should include your picture, full name, graduation date, position played, club name and team name (Team Texas 18 Blue), e-mail address, cell/home telephone number, mailing address, grade point average, ACT/SAT scores, height, weight, block jump and approach jump. Get the specific information that any type of college volleyball coach would need.

4. Generate an 4" x 6" heavy stock (it is a type of paper) hand out to give to college coaches - Same information as the flier, but compacted. I suggest the smaller, heavy stock card because it will stand out among the many 8.5 by 11 pieces of paper that college coaches put into their bags.

5. Have a parent or other relative hand these 4 by 6 cards out to college coaches, but make it realistic who they are given to. If you are a 5'9" OH and the Florida coaches walk by your court, don't give them a card because it will just get put in the trash after a cursory look. Make sure your cards are going to schools that will have an interest in your abilities. Your relatives don't have to say much of anything, just hand the coach a card and say thanks for looking.

6. Inform your club coach and club director that your parents are available to visit with college coaches in-between games (this is allowed per NCAA rules).

7. Schedule a block of time after the conclusion of a tournament to visit with college coaches (per NCAA rules, you can meet and talk with college coaches as a Senior, once the tournament is finished) - make sure your club coach and club director know that you are able to meet with college coaches.

No matter how tired your and your parents may be after a tournament, visiting with coaches is huge because it gives you an immediate impression of who could be your future coach.

By using these suggestions, you should be in a higher profile to be seen and interact with college coaches. It may sound harsh, but there are a lot of good, solid players that are very similar to you - the player that gets the scholarship offer from a college is the player who aggressively gets her name/information out to schools.

As a Senior, if you have any questions, just drop me an e-mail.