April 14, 2010

College Volleyball Level of Commitment

My daughter is a HS senior /good player Div II or III back line mostly. She is having doubts about playing in college because of the time commitment and her ability. She is accepted to a couple Div II schools and is trying to make her choice now. There are a couple coaches that have emailed and talked to her and think she may fit in their program. I don't want to pressure her, but I feel like she should take every opportunity to play if she can. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks, Dad

I really hope this is not my father writing me, as this scenario would be a huge surprise to the rest of my family!

Doubt Means Don't. College Volleyball, at any level or classification, demands such an emotional and physical investment, that to not be fully committed is a recipe for disaster.

I agree with your belief that she should take every opportunity to play, as being young and athletic is a very, small window in our lives and I had such a tremendous collegiate playing experience. But, but, but, this is her and not us.

The fact that she is questioning her commitment and desire to play college volleyball, as opposed to the choices of programs/levels available to her should be a red flag. Per NCAA rules, it is actually better that she not start playing immediately as a freshman, rather than start and drop out. Once she starts practicing, she starts her NCAA clock and this clock will tick for 5 years.

If she is hesitant about the college volleyball life, it is better for her to choose a school with no thought to the volleyball program; just choose a school for all the other merits of that particular school and be a college student, not a college volleyball player. She can always explore joining a team, after the hunger to start playing again comes back, while in college. This option provides a bit more flexibility with the NCAA clock and the opportunity to transfer and play college volleyball.

In the end, she will need to choose the path which she is most comfortable with to create her optimal collegiate environment. I think college athletics is the optimal environment, but I have visited with a number of former players who walked away from collegiate sports during their college years and enjoyed their collegiate experience so much more than when they were in athletics.

One must remember, that no matter the level, collegiate athletics' demands can exclude many other avenues of development and experiences while a student.

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