September 24, 2010

Plight of the Volleyball Libero

Dear Coach:

I just chanced upon your site and I've spent the last hour gleaning info from it--thanks for all the fabulous info and wisdom! Thank you for your time in providing this. Here's our situation: We live in Indiana, my daughter is one of the top DS in the state as a junior. Early into this high school season, she is starting libero and doing well. She plays for a top notch club team but has found herself behind one or two gals (at least politically speaking!) and therefore on a "2's" team. Due to this I don't feel she has received many looks from colleges that perhaps she might've had by now if she were on the "1's" team. does she go about knowing 'how good' she is and where she might fall in the college scope?
It has been her goal all along to play in college and we are in the financial position where it would be a huge blessing for her to get some type of volleyball scholarship to play in college and help fund her schooling. She hopes to study Fashion Design in college, so we also need to look for a school that offers this field of study. I am thinking that she may be Div. II material since she is 5'5" and a DS/libero. Is there some type of 'search' tool out there that aids the prospective student athlete in this search? Any advice you can offer is more than appreciated.
Thank you.

Obtaining a college roster spot and scholarship support can be huge challenge for a Libero. Just examining NCAA Division I Volleyball, schools are only allocating (in general) one scholarship to the Libero position and maybe 2 or 3 roster spots (larger exceptions here). The next toughest position would be the setter, but at least schools will scholarship two players.

Another challenge is that there are tons of good Liberos. With the FIVB creating this position and the NCAA adoption, it has provided a roster spot opportunity for a plethora of smaller players who did not posses the physical attributes to excel within the hitting or setting roles. Many VolleyFolks say this is the position for the short player and most will agree.

To 'stand out' as a Libero can be a challenge - A single tulip will stand out, but that same flower placed into a field of tulips is a different matter. Quick suggestion - College coaches do not like passive or quiet Liberos; we expect Liberos to be the DOMINANT player in the back row, not just a short player who can pass.

Answers to your Questions and Observations:

1. Knowing how good? Walk around club tournaments and watch other Liberos. Every region of the country has its Super Duper Club. Your daughter or you or both should go watch Super Duper Club Libero; is she better? Go see the No Name Club Libero; is she better? Find out about the Libero who got a DI scholarship to a Top 25 college team and go watch her play; is she better? While we are all Royalty in our egos and dreams, most players can view other players and understand how their own skills compare.

2. Division II material? Your rational for DII is misplaced because it is based upon height. For hitters, height can play a big role in what NCAA Division a player competes with, but not for Liberos. But, your feedback before the height reference is the reason to go DII. NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball can be funded at a maximum of 8 athletic scholarships, but since the NCAA has tagged DII Volleyball as an Equivalency Sport, these scholarships can be divided up and combined with academic, merit and need based moneys. All this results in a greater availability of scholarship access than in DI.

3. Fashion Design - This major is not as readily available as, for instance, History across the NCAA spectrum. To this end, research needs to be done to identify those schools which have the major, do they sponsor college volleyball and if so, in what classification (NCAA or NAIA), how far away, what is cost of attendance (private or public), etc.

4. Search Tool - If you read my last post, I reference VolleyServices. Depending upon what type of VolleyService, they may have a database of information to search. Most Academic Majors will have some type of national association or accreditation and this would be a resource for determining what schools provide the major of Fashion Design.

Because of your daughter's position, desired college major and hoped for scholarship support, you/her need to work very hard and smart (even if you go with a VolleyService) to obtain her/your goals (financial assistance).

Again, there are thousands of your daughter out there and the Liberos that achieve their college attendance goals are the ones who put in the extra work. This means contacting schools, providing videos, updating information, providing more videos, getting information out before club events, etc.

Good Luck!

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