September 1, 2010

September 1st

Hi Coach!

As you are acutely aware, many players and parents have been waiting for this day for some time. It is here and what I was wondering was ‘what is behind the meaning of this day? To me, you (and all the other college coaches out there) are just getting started into your season and you should be probably thinking about your immediate team than recruiting, period.

My daughter who is a junior has already gotten a couple of questionnaires, but has been a little slack in getting them sent back promptly. The primary reason is that many of the questions the colleges ask can not be answered until later in the year. Examples are SAT or ACT scores, the club and its director or coach (tryouts are in November after the HS season).

Is it more important to fill them out as best as one can and send them back partially filled out? Or should one sit on them until all of the items can be filled out?

All the best in your upcoming season!!

Thanks! Ralph

Before the advent of the Internet, September 1st used to be a huge day. This is the first day, per NCAA rules, that college programs can send letters and/or the electronic version of letters (emails). Back in the day, college programs would have hundreds of letters piled into boxes and put into the a.m. mail on 9/1.

This is still true to a certain extent with e-mails for many programs, but many other programs are so far into their new junior year high school class (just became juniors), that the impact of sending emails/letters has lessened. Players will routinely call, text and email coaches during their sophomore years; coaches will routinely contact club coaches to instruct them to have Mary call them at such and such a time. The barrier of communication before 9/1 of the junior year has really been eliminated.

But, it can be a cool thing for a PSA to get a series of first time emails from interested schools - It is a positive affirmation of their abilities and hard work.

You bring up a good point about focus during this time of year and this is something in which the power programs have a distinct advantage in women's volleyball. The Super Duper teams enjoy full staffing (head coach, assistant coach, assistant coach, director of operations and secretary), the Not Super Duper programs will have a head coach and an assistant or GA as the other staff member.

When you have 5 people available, it is easier to manage a recruiting effort and keep your current players engaged with the season. This is magnified if a program is located in a region of the country which supports volleyball - No big deal to send the 2nd assistant coach out recruit/visit/watch high school matches, when your Director of Operations is taking care of all travel and administrative details, and two coaches are in practice working with players.

Now, put that NSD (see above) program into this situation - Two coaches are trying to do everything, and can't, so something has to suffer and all too often it is the sanity of the coaching staff. If you don't recruit early, then you won't improve; if you don't focus on your team, they won't get better this year and the players will not be happy (which leads to meetings with your AD); if you don't manage the administrative details, then travel and paperwork will become a nightmare. I have no doubt that the above challenges, combined with the lower pay, are the reasons for which so many talented volleyball coaches just stop being college coaches - It just is not worth the headaches and never ending hassles.

OK - Time for my usual criticism of the AVCA (American Volleyball Cash Association) - It would be VERY NICE if our professional coaching association for college volleyball coaches would be an aggressive advocate for athletic departments staffing volleyball programs at the NCAA limit. I PROMISE you that the two basketball coaches associations are keenly aware of which programs are fully staffed and they pressure those departments which are not currently at full strength. I have NEVER been at a DI school which was not FULLY staffed with assistants, DOB and secretary in the basketballs.

It is important that questionnaires be returned on the quicker side because it indicates interest. When the recruiting database is reviewed, it will note if a questionnaire has been sent and returned. Don't worry about exact details, just fill out what you have information on and send it back. If you don't have the test results or other information, just put TBA. The most important details are current address, email and telephone numbers. After that, just make sure the college programs are up to date (when you know) on what club/team/age group/color/letter/animal you will be playing come the winter.

Hope your daughter enjoys her emails from college programs - AND PLEASE MAKE SURE SHE RESPONDS, even if it is to say "thanks for your email".

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