August 4, 2010

Early Volleyball Scholarship Offer Questions - Part II

Some of the schools are stating they’ll only hold offers for an allotted time frame so I can see why/how recruits rush into this HUGE decision. However, we all need to remember (mainly me…) if they are pressuring her now and she’s not ready—it’s not the right fit. Our club coaches are suggesting she have a pretty solid idea by next December, does that sound right to you?

One other question: D1 volleyball……..whether a program is ranked 278 or 3rd---is the intensity the same? Meaning, D1 will be a big step up from club regardless? Not to sound disrespectful, however I’ve seen a couple scrimmages etc where it SEEMS like many U-16 Open teams could beat the particular D1 team. I know…it always looks easier than it is!

Thank you so much for your response.

A Loyal Fan

In theory, the longer she waits the less choices she 'could' have. But, it is not like she would lose a chance to drive a Mercedes and have to take an old beat up VW bug (by the way, has anyone figured out why those crazy contraptions will run perfect for a 500 mile trip, but when you turn of the key, sometimes you had to wait a half an hour for them to decide they were going to start again? I think this may have been the motivation behind the entire Herbie the Love Bug movie series - Just some quirky VW bug that drove its owner batty!). As you said, the most important criteria is that it is the right fit. If she is not sold on a school, then she needs to keep looking and YOU dictate the time frame.

I believe that all too often, VolleyPSA's (this includes the entire family and the scruffy 'outside dog') feel that if they don't take that good looking college scholarship offer, even though it is not the most comfortable fit, nothing as good or better will come along. For instance, just because I can't fit into a Mercedes SLK does not mean that tomorrow I can't drive a Mercedes S500 (my oh my am I full of car references today!).

December does not work for me as a cut off - Club coaches SHOULD be advocating that YOU determine when to accept/reject an offer. College programs want a December decision because this allows them to make adjustments to their recruiting game plan in time for the end of the Quite/Dead period in DI recruiting. If a college/university is going to pull an offer after December of your Junior year, then were they really 'sold' on you as a player. Back in the day, Alex Klineman caused quite the stir because she did not commit when she was in the 4th grade, but rather waited quite long before making her decision (in today's recruiting world).

The main difference between #3 or #278 is the height/athleticism/gifted talent of the players on the team. Many marginal college volleyball teams will work very, very hard, but they just don't have the gifts to be very good, no matter how much effort. Penn State does not run psycho killer intense practices, but they have so much talent that the players are all feeding off of each other and pushing to always shine brighter.

I have witnessed some very bad college volleyball teams going through intense practice sessions which would put the USA National team to shame. The crazy thing is that talent, the gift of playing volleyball well will most often overwhelm hard work. Don't get me wrong, hard work can empower a marginal player into the realm of 'good' and can take a very good player and push them up to 'great' status, but the slacker player who is 6'3" and posses supreme volleyball gifts, will outperform the 5'9" player who is all effort, but drawing on a limited talent reserve.

One thing which I will point out, is that #3 team will have a veteran coach who understands their coaching strengths and weaknesses, and can draw upon successful experience to manage challenging situations. The #278 ranked team is probably coached by a young, inexperienced head coach who is still developing their abilities and still trying to figure out what works and what does not. Unfortunately, and I apologize if I have spiked this point into the reader's brains, but major athletic departments are VERY seldom going to hire young, inexperienced first time head coaches to be the head coach of the football or basketball teams, but for volleyball programs this is all to often the case.

As to club teams being as competitive as NCAA Division I teams it is a mixed bag. Yes, there is no doubt that many club teams could beat many DI teams - As I have written about, so many DI teams are DI in name only, completely token; they don't have the recruiting budget, staffing support, coach's salary, facilities to really be viewed as a DI volleyball team.

But, we have to remember that our brain assimilates volleyball information relative to what we are watching. My example is when I go watch 16 Open teams and think that they are all a bunch of studs, flying around the court and banging the ball; then, I would wander over to another part of the convention center and see a 18 Open teams play, which only made the 16's teams I was just watching look weak and slow. My eye and brain would process the speed of the play specific to the court I was watching, then when I went immediately over to another age group, I could easily witness the physical differences.

I think this same analogy can be applied to college versus club teams - The bottom line is that NCAA Division I teams have athletes which are older, have been lifting/training within the collegiate environment for 1 to 4 years and have a much more developed level of maturity - Also, NCAA Division I college volleyball programs NEVER play 2 out of 3 game matches in our season; they are always 3 out of 5. I agree that there are many elite level club teams which could spank a lower level NCAA Division team, I don't know if this occurrence would be as common as we feel while watching club volleyball tournaments because of how our mind processes the speed and talent which we see (and believe me, I have looked at some teams while at super duper constellation huge convention center tournament and thought they could whack many college teams).


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