I have no ties to volleyball other than I am a fan of our high school team which just won the state championships. I have read your blog with great interest. What sticks with me are your comments about the need to be a fit player, but also your concern about burn-out from playing too much volleyball year-round. I think I also remember you mentioning speed and the ability to move your feet and the ability to jump as key components to volleyball success. This leads me to wonder about high school volleyball players competing for their high school not only in volleyball but also in other sports. For example, would athletes who train for the throws, jumps, sprints and/or heptathlon in track and field make gains to aid their volleyball game? If these athletes played high school volleyball in the fall and club volleyball during the summer, which travels for showcases and tournaments, would they still be able to have a good experience getting college volleyball coaches to look at them? What are your thoughts? Skills and other playing factors being somewhat equal, do college volleyball coaches put any higher value on the multi-sport athlete over the athlete who competes only at volleyball?
Thank you for your time.
I am all for having balance in one's sporting life and I do think that cross-over training with other sports is a good thing, yet there is significant value in club volleyball. For many folks, high school volleyball has become the off-season of volleyball training.
Let's review the typical calendar for a solid high school age volleyball player - August through mid November is high school volleyball, one week after high school season finishes the club volleyball training/season commences and with the exception of a short breather at Christmas, runs anywhere from may to mid July! In that 3 to 5 week span between ending club and starting high school, there are any number of camps and clinics to attend. Unfortunately, this schedule leaves precious little time for other physical activities; and I am not including lifting, personal volleyball practices, etc.
In terms of recruiting, the early club season is much more important than the late season - initial evaluations, reviewing players from the previous club season, interaction with club coaches, meetings with eligible seniors, offers of scholarships - All of these examples are done in the early club season.
I believe it is great to have a multi talented athlete as a volleyball player, but missing the early months of the club season to participate in track or softball, would be a negative for a great many coaches. Our sport is one which you can't practice by yourself - Rather hard to play one person pepper! Our sport is very much a team sport and players must practice together and then test how well they have trained by competing. There are so many nuances and improvement opportunities which are only demonstrated by playing.
A better suggestion might be to join a club which does not play every single weekend and trains in such a manner, which allows for these other sports to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, it is the high school coaches (all too often) which shut down such dual sport participation.
My biggest push is not to do too much volleyball and related training. There is a point of diminishing returns - Too much volleyball, lifting, conditioning will lead to mental burnout and physical issues. College coaches are always afraid of having an athlete arrive to campus who is bordering on mental and physical burnout because the demands of NCAA Volleyball are much more than club. I like the restrictions which the NCAA places upon training and especially the off-season limits; this allows the opportunity to keep the student-athletes fresh and hopefully, experiences all the different aspects of collegiate life.