May 26, 2010

Time, Time, Time.....Is On Your Side (Volleyball Recruiting)

Hi Coach.

First of all thank you for providing your experience in answering all of the inquiries. My dilemma is probably common, but I just want to make sure I am doing everything I can for my daughter.

SHE wishes to play in college because she loves the game, I am not one of those parents pushing her to save from paying tuition. My daughter graduates in 2011 and is 6' setter on her HS and Club teams. She is also used to play MH, OH and Blocker. She plays all around and has a great serve in addition to earning all tournament and all conference honors with her HS team. Now here is the problem, we live in the midwest and her club team does not travel to any national events or showcases. Therefore, she is not getting the exposure to draw the attention of universities. I guess she is probably going to have to walk on to a team to show her ability unless you have any advice that will help her.

Thank you again - B.

While Walking On to a college volleyball program can be a good option, I don't know if you are at the point in the recruiting cycle that this should be a predetermined route. There is still plenty of time in the 2011 recruiting class. I say this because players in the 2010 recruiting class were still accepting Division I scholarships into April of this year.

As more and more high school athletes are offered and accept scholarships as Sophomores (or younger) and early in their Junior year, it creates an inaccurate impression that scholarships are disappearing rapidly for the rest of the Juniors. While there may be many scholarships already committed, there are many, many more still out there.

What VolleyPSA's (this is my newly minted term for Prospective Student Athletes and their Parents) forget is that an entire batch of previously unknown scholarships will be available around the Holidays of their Senior seasons. This is a result of events during the college volleyball season which were unanticipated by the college coaches. College players get injured and need to take a Medical scholarship, they render themselves academically ineligible, they get homesick and bail out, the college coaches may not renew a scholarship for a poor attitude, lack of effort and/or talent, and a scholarship player may just quit. All of this adds up to a number of scholarship openings which were unanticipated just a few months before.

Here is my advice for your daughter (and you):

1. Read my Recruiting Plan posts which can be found on the left sidebar labels. I have tried to detail out what steps should be taken to coordinate an effective recruiting effort. Pay special attention to the Senior Plan, as that is what you are moving into.

2. Remember that video is key - With so many internet options and the cheap availability of recording devices, any VolleyPSA can quickly get video together to email out to college coaches. All college coaches will look at video - We may have trouble reading, but we can all click the mouse to watch volleyball!

3. Consider utilizing a recruiting service. I have noticed a vast improvement with many recruiting companies in terms of how they are presenting recruits with video and player resumes, along with access to this information.

(Advice to any recruiting service, on the off chance anyone from such a company would be reading this - Make is easy for us to review a player's information and video. College coaches having to log on to a site is not easy, as we have nine hundred usernames and passwords floating around in our gray matter which is already taxed enough. Just give us the link which takes us directly to the video and the player's resume. Complicated is not good for college coaches).

4. If she has the ability to play for a club team which does attend the larger/national tournaments, then she needs to join one of these club teams. I understand this may entail hundreds of miles each way to practice, but ultimately the college coaches want to see players in person and this is done at the larger tourneys. With today's economy and budget cuts within college volleyball, one of the areas which takes the largest hit is recruiting. This translates into not being able to attend as many club tournaments as before, so we have to get the most bang for the buck, which means attending the big tourneys.

5. For the 2011 club season, it is critical that your daughter play on a team which will be attending the Las Vegas or Omaha tournaments on President's Day, along with one of the very early National Qualifiers (which are starting earlier than ever before). It is at these early, big tournaments that college coaches will be working hard to grab commitments for their late scholarship openings. Also, make sure your daughter is listed correctly as an Unsigned Senior by whatever service is providing information to attending coaches (It usually is University Athlete, as they have cornered the market on getting tournament information into all those palm devices we walk around playing video games on!). I can't stress this enough; if your club somehow does not submit information correctly and your daughter is tagged as Signed, then you are wasting money and a precious opportunity.

6. If for some reason a NCAA Division I program does not work out (should your daughter be dead set on Division I competition), then consider going to a Junior College for a year or two. Assuming that your daughter is a NCAA Qualifier, then she does not need to graduate to transfer (only transfer enough units to be eligible at a NCAA school) to a Division I school. The JC option can provide the opportunity to train at a higher level, obtain a ton of competition experience and still hold open the option of joining a NCAA program later. More and more players are taking the Junior College option simply because it provides another avenue to obtain their NCAA Division I goals.

I wish you the best of luck as you go through this recruiting process. Just remember to keep proactive in your efforts and to stay patient - There is still a lot of time left for 2011 recruiting!

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