January 24, 2008

Volleyball Camp Question

A question from one of our readers concerning volleyball camps.

Are there any college camps that have many different college coaches running them? For instance, my son played baseball and State U. ran a camp that had many different coaches that he was exposed to. She is the type of player that I believe needs to be seen over a couple of days, to showcase her various talents. Her and I both know that she could not be a top notch DIV I setter, but we do not know where she could play - Jayne

This question is actually a few questions that revolve around college volleyball camps. I will do my best to answer these questions - At a later date, I will provide some general camps guidelines and philosophies when it comes to college volleyball camps.

With regards to a multi-coach college volleyball camp, like referenced in the baseball example above, is rare. By and large, college volleyball camps are staffed by the host institution with its own coaches and players; there may be a few instances of a Junior College coach or outside assistant coach with previous ties to the host institution being on the staff.

The reason for this is simply that camps have become recruiting tools - Nebraska is not going to have Penn State's volleyball coaches at their camps.

There are a number of recruiting combines/showcases being run by USA Volleyball or regional volleyball entities, where college coaches may be involved in the running of the camp 0r are there to purely watch players in a more controlled setting than a club or high school tournament.

What Jayne and her daughter need to determine is the focus of the camp - Is the camp for skill development or recruiting. If Jayne's daughter is just getting into high school, then it should be for skill development. If she is at her Junior/Senior year, then it should be for recruiting.

In considering Recruiting, it is very expensive to use summer camps as a means to promote your abilities - a few hundred dollars just for one school to see you, who may or may not even need your position is a tough financial proposition.

During the summers of the Sophomore/Junior year and Junior/Senior year, I strongly suggest that you only attend schools that you are interested in and make sure those schools are interested in you. How do you find out - you ask them point blank, via e-mail or a telephone call (remember the NCAA rules on call backs by coaches). Use the camp as an opportunity to evaluate the school, get a feel for the coaching style of the staff and interact with current players. In a very real sense, it is an extended Unofficial Visit.

If you play Club Volleyball on a team that travels, you will get noticed - I also recommend that you follow the guidelines in my Recruiting Plan.

As for the level that you can play at - Ask your club coach, ask your high school coach and then understand the feedback you are getting from the club tournaments. For instance, if you are receiving letters from mid-level DI schools, but no Top 50 programs, then you are probably a mid-level type of player. I don't want to discourage you from reaching for the top, but I also want you to not ignore those schools that are interested in you!

A very good question by Jayne and please don't hesitate to e-mail me if anyone has another question.