Dear Volleyball Coach,
I'd like your advise about our daughter. She is in the 8th grade this year and plays volleyball, school and club (U14). She is now 6'1" and comes from a VERY tall family and is continuing to grow. Her club team the last two years has finished runner up at Nationals in the gold division. Hopefully this continues because she loves the game. My question is, should we as parents begin contact with colleges about her should her team goes again to Nationals as a way of helping her with giving her exposure to colleges or is it too early? Thank you for any help that you might be able to give.
Joe and Kim
No - Too early.
OK - Now I will give you the long, drawn out, gotta fill up some Blogger google bytes!
It really, really, really is way, way, way too early to even worry, consider, pursue anything having to do with us crazy, over worked, under paid, self important, short sleeve logo shirt underneath a dark sweater/jacket wearing, chit chatty, hair gel'ed/sprayed, smile at everyone oh so sincerely college volleyball coaches.
Your daughter is in 8th grade, that is awesome! Your daughter is already taller than 100% of Division I Liberos and 50% of the Outside Hitters - this is even more awesome! Your daughter is on a club team that is good on a national level - super duper awesome! Your daughter loves the game of volleyball.....wait for it....., awesome cubed!!!
Seriously, don't worry about contacting college coaches until Christmas of her sophomore year of high school. Please just enjoy her playing volleyball and having fun for the next 2+ years before shooting out one e-mail. If your daughter continues to grow (tall family genes) and continues to participate with a team that is nationally rated (which lends itself towards playing in a number of the larger tourneys), then you probably won't have to worry about sending out anything at all.
I also caution you from jumping on the 'let's contact colleges' treadmill for two reasons:
1. Once you hop on the treadmill you won't get off it and will be on it for the next 5 years. I guarantee you that by your daughter's Junior year, you will be tired of the whole process. You have to remember that there are three of you (Mom, Dad, Daughter) and there are THOUSANDS of us - we have the better odds to outlast the families with focus! Once you start contacting coaches, even though there are NCAA rules with recruiting, you are inviting the vampire into your house!!
2. Your daughter is just in 8th grade; who knows what her collegiate desires will be when she is a Junior? To do anything this early, even though it is just making contact, is really like throwing darts in the dark.
If you have not done it yet, read the Recruiting Plan posts I have written (left side by - broken down by year). I wrote these based upon practical experience from my recruiting efforts at many different schools, from friend's daughters going through the process and from feedback about the recruiting experience my college players went through.
The best thing you can do as parents at this age is to keep if fun and keep it slow. When I say 'slow', don't get wrapped up in extra practices or cardio/physical training or worrying about if she is on the top team of the top club with extra shiny hair clips. Keep it fun, keep it light and keep her fresh. If she is talented to enough to go to college to play volleyball, she is looking at 9 years of every increasing volleyball intensity, not to mention just being a kid in college.
I want you to enjoy the view, because before you know it you won't be able to see the forest for all the trees.