May 21, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For many a college volleyball coach, May is the most wonderful time of the year - It certainly is for me.

1. It is a NCAA Division I recruiting Quiet Period for women's volleyball. Which means no off campus recruiting, but PSA's can still come visit us. This is great because we can still recruit, but we get to stay home - The road can get very old.

2. By this time of the recruiting season, we have seen all the PSA's that we need to see and we have ranked them from 1 to infinity. Also, a healthy percentage of PSA's have made their commitments and hopefully, the each college program has secured at least a couple within their top group.

3. The college Non Traditional (spring) season is completed. I like the spring season because we don't travel as much, the matches are much more relaxed, players have club ball flashbacks with the Saturday tournament format, it is more conducive to individual skill improvement and as coaches, we can try different things without the pressure of the win-loss record.

4. The college school year has ended, the players are heading home and summer school stuff is still a few weeks away.

5. The next wave of recruiting tournaments to attend won't be for a number of weeks and there is a natural energy/excitement at the host facilities with the end of the club season championships (all 4 of them!).

6. The joy and the pain of summer volleyball camps are still in the distance. It can be quite a task to run a camp at a college because of all the documentation, internal protocols, managing the adjunct offices on campus which allocate dorm space, cafeteria access, check in, etc.

7. Opportunity to have some personal time for vacation, seeing family, home projects and not spending way too many hours in the office.

I enjoy the intensity of the traditional season, but greater May creates the necessary time out to keep our sanity as coaches. The two biggest factors in shortening the careers of college volleyball coaches is poor salaries (when high schools pay more than some DI positions it can be disheartening) and burn out. Too many times college coaches get caught up in the never ending demand of recruiting, paperwork and protocol and don't step away to decompress.

I would be in favor of the NCAA creating a longer Quiet period around the Holidays and extending the spring Quiet period into April. We really don't need 10 tournaments to evaluate a player or put together a master list of everyone who is older than 12 and does not walk with a limp. All too often in the later stages of the spring season, we are just "babysitting" PSA's - Sitting on their courts so they can see us watching them.

More May, we need more May!!!

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