March 2, 2009

Volleyball Recruiting Exposure Question

Dear Coach,

My daughter is a junior. She plays for a 17 National club team. Last years team qualified for JO Nationals in Dallas. She has been very proactive as far as introducing herself to and communicating with coaches from universities that she is interested in. Most of them are Mid-major D1's and some D11's. The list of coaches that have maintained communication has narrowed itself down to about 20. I
realize that it is still very early in the game as far as recruiting goes for the class of 2010. She is registered with the NCAA clearinghouse and with University Athlete. She is also listed on a couple of other "free" recruiting sites. My question is this; by having her profile listed on these other sites, does this in any way diminish her standing with the D1 programs that are currently talking to her? There doesn't seem to be any "high profile" or big time recruits listed on these 2 sites. I guess we are kind of torn between the idea of - if she is good enough they will find her and getting her name and skills out there in front of the right coaches.

This is an interesting question and one which I would not have considered until being asked. In general, I feel college coaches do not judge athletes by the recruiting services/websites, but rather we judge the recruiting service. I believe we understand that prospective student athletes (psa's) are trying to find a means to present their qualifications to coaches who are looking for players.

The high profile players have probably been receiving Introductory Recruiting Letters from programs since they were freshman or sophomores in high school, so the motivation to list their credentials on any service is not there.

By the information you have provided, I feel your daughter has successfully engaged a representative field of prospective schools for her future. Since you are from the Dallas area (a nationally recognized volleyball region) and she has played Junior Olympics, the college programs which have kept in contact with her are probably schools which saw her in live action.

I really would not worry about the status or attractiveness of your daughter as a psa because of the type of recruiting service she may be listed on. Free or paid, college coaches won't preface an evaluation because of the service.

A question which I have always wondered is how many college program use these services (those we, the college programs, don't pay for)? My guess would be an average number for Division I, more Division II programs and a lot more Division III programs - which I could attribute to recruiting budget and physical location of the school.

For instance, if you are a Division II school in southern California, within a one hour drive in any direction is a wealth of talent. If you are a DII school in New Mexico, then you may be more inclined to pay attention to these recruiting services. But, then again, I could be completely wrong!

I will always look at a video link from a recruiting service if it is the position and year of a recruiting need, but this is just the first cut of an athlete. I will use this video to determine if I want to see the player in a tournament, never to make a final or serious evaluation.

Back to your daughter, if she is in routine communications with 20 schools which she feels comfortable considering and which you/her/the club coach believes is appropriate for her talent level, then you are in a perfect position. Once again, since she is on a 17 national team in Dallas, she will be showcasing her talents better than any recruiting service could ever hope.

You are doing well, now just try to enjoy the process and enjoy her playing volleyball!