March 2, 2008

Volleyball Recruiting Communication

Effective communication is central to the recruiting process. Not only the college coach communicating with the Prospective Student-Athlete (PSA), but also the PSA communicating with the coach. A common mistake is to have the parents shoulder the majority of the interaction with college coaches.

For better or worse, there are so many avenues of communication available for PSA's and colleges. Back in the good old days (which were actually rather good), recruits talked about having their mailboxes full of letters each day from colleges. When I first started as an assistant coach, I was responsible for a weekly mailing of over 200 letters and then almost 50 personal notes to recruits.

With the advent of cell phones, e-mail, Text and IM there is really no excuse for poor communication between a PSA and coach. I can understand the hesitancy for a high school kid to just call up a NCAA Volleyball coach, but with detached comfort zone of transmitted messages, each player should be communicating with their top college choices.

For me, and I would think other coaches, solely interacting with parents is a recruiting red flag. If a player is interested in my school, I want to hear this from the PSA, not from Mom or Dad. I have now reached the point as a coach, that if I am not communicating with the player after the initial contact, then I am done interacting at all.

I have adopted this stance because the parents are not going to play for me and this is not club volleyball. I need to talk to the PSA to get a feel for her personality, her confidence and her attitude. I get nervous just interacting with parents because I am not really learning what I need to know about a potential player. In Club Volleyball the parents write the check and are watching out for their high school daughter, thus they can manage the flow of communication. Yet, College is about growth and transition for the player, plus the check comes from the school.

Even though Mom and Dad may feel they are being a resource for their daughter or taking some of the pressure off of her by handling the interaction with coaches, they are actually hindering the process.

As I have written about in previous posts, parents should go on Unofficial and Official Visits, they should ask questions about things that their daughter may not be experienced enough to consider and they must be aware of the entire process.

But, what they cannot do is assume the task of interacting with college coaches - the PSA must do this. By e-mail, Text or telephone, recruits must be interacting with colleges. This interaction does not need to be done daily, but it should be constant with those schools that you are considering for your future. I would also suggest you take the time to update those programs that you are no longer interested in considering - it can be a short e-mail telling them you are looking at other schools and it will be appreciated by the coaches.