July 6, 2010

Volleyball Recruiting Time Frame Question

Coach - My daughter is a senior in high school this fall. Big school U contacted my daughter Sept 1 last fall ( her junior year). Haven’t heard much since then, does that mean they are no longer interested? J

If I had a penny to wager (can only afford a penny in today's economy), then I would say that BSU (Big School U) is not interested. The BSU's of the College Volleyball world have the staffing and resources to contact many, many athletes on September 1st of each year; they cast a very large net.

September 1st is the a NCAA rules date of significance - It is the first date that colleges are allowed to e-mail/write juniors in high school. This is not only important in terms of initiating an information exchange, but with the warp speed of recruiting, it is the first chance that colleges have to initiate traditional contact (as opposed to going through the club coach to request a phone call by the PSA) with PSA's they have been watching for the entire 16's club year.

Some BSU's are well along in their commitment of the sophomore class, but any number of larger schools may still be actively recruiting and it is in this scenario that a multitude of recruits would receive that first contact. Many large programs will e-mail hundreds of prospects on September 1st, because they have marked this many during the course of attending numerous club tournaments. The BSU's can cast a wide net because they are ALWAYS out recruiting; two coaches out every weekend, coaches going to practices during the week, using the various recruiting services to obtain names/contact information - When you are staffed to the NCAA maximum (2 assistants, director of operations and graduate assistant/managers), it frees up coaches to hit the road to maximize the recruiting database.

But, as your daughter discovered, receiving an e-mail or two and being actively recruited are two vastly different things. The recruiting process has evolved into a situation where the PSA's are expected to be actively engaged in the recruiting process (returning information, updating coaches, calling coaches, visiting campuses, etc) and if a PSA is not engaged, many college programs will just move on to the next player on their recruiting list which is engaged.

This evolution comes from the fact that there are many, many good players. There are a handful of truly great players and these are the ones who get offered very early, very often and really don't have to put forth any once of return effort because of their talent level; but, it is the good players which must work harder to secure the wished for scholarship/roster spot because there are so many of them, so many volleyball fish in the sea! In a very real sense, how do you stand out when a coach is recruiting 50 of you?

A few suggestions:

1. Have your daughter call BSU and ask if they are still recruiting her class and if so, is she still a candidate?

2. Do not wait for schools to recruit you, your daughter needs to recruit them. Start contacting and updating each of the schools which have sent your daughter e-mails or letters.

3. Read through my Recruiting Plan (labels on the left side bar) focus on the Senior Year directions. Unless your daughter is comfortable with her many options for a future school (and by comfortable, I mean having constant interaction with the college coaches, visited/visiting campuses and either having scholarship offers or knowing where she stands on a recruiting list of a school), she needs to be actively reaching out to schools.

The most important thing your daughter (and you) can do is not to wait, but to actively get involved in the recruiting process - Just being a good player is not a guarantee that a PSA will have the opportunity she wants - Create that opportunity by being the best player possible and an active participant in the recruiting process.

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