March 31, 2010

North to the Future - Volleyball Question

I stumbled upon this page (and your blog) quite by accident, but I'm glad I did! In this comment about scholarships, you've answered questions I've had for a year or so and was never able to get an answer to.

My high school daughter is very interested in playing vb at the college level, and as a father I'm interested in helping her achieve her goals, both academically and athletically. Unfortunately, here in Alaska we only have two universities with vb programs (both DII), so the chance to approach coaches is limited. My daughter has played club vb the past two years, which included trips Outside--to Arizona and Florida.

Do you have any recommendations for a situation such as ours? That is, how can we showcase her talents to coaches at schools which are in most cases thousands of miles away?

Perhaps you've addressed such a situation in previous pages on your blog, which I'll search, and bookmark.

Regardless, thank you for the answer (above) to questions I/we have long had about scholarships. Denny

Your situation is not a common one with being so physically removed from traditional College Volleyball regions, but many Prospective Student Athletes might feel the same way coming from states in which women's volleyball in high school is non existent. Unfortunately, there are still so many areas of the country where women's volleyball for junior high and high school females is no where to be found and when suggested, is looked upon as some weird thing that other places engage upon.

The good news is that your daughter plays in a time where technology can reduce the miles between PSA and college coach. In the not too long ago, getting a skills video tape made, copied and sent was a long process. Now, you can do everything in a couple of hours.

My suggestion is simple, use technology to its maximum positive advantage and don't be shy. Since you are not in a prime recruiting area, you need to get your daughter in front of those programs for which she is best suited. Reach out to your club coaches, high school coaches and adult level players (with a college background of volleyball, if possible) to ascertain what level of volleyball your daughter should be targeting. Remember that you have NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and JC - There are a bunch of spots available, but only if you are looking at the right level.

Once you get the right evaluation, then start sending out contact information with an attached/linked video for your daughter and keep updating the video footage. It is amazing how much improvement a player can make during a club season - I see it all the time, how a player will look average in January and then just be blowing the doors off come May. Don't be shy about sending out updates on new footage, about informing coaches when you might be coming down into their area for a big tourney. When you venture south, make sure that every school you have been interacting with is aware of your schedule - Better to over inform that take the chance they did not get the update.

Finally, should your location preclude your daughter from reaching her desired level and college ideal, don't hesitate to jump in with a Junior College for a season or two (depending on her NCAA eligibility status). More and more NCAA college coaches are going into the JC's to recruit today. In the past, JC's for volleyball were looked upon as the destination for bad volleyball players or volleyball players will really poor academics.

While the JC's still offer a viable alternative for PSA's to improve their academic standing, more and more athletes are taking the JC route because it allows them to compete at a high level, refine their skills and continue their recruiting efforts for a NCAA school which they are more comfortable with. For your daughter, the JC route would allow her to be seen by more 4 year programs, while she improves her abilities.

My last bit of advice is patience. Because of your location, this might be the thing you need to focus upon the most. Even today, talented seniors in volleyball areas are still securing their future colleges and having to be patient.

Good luck!

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