September 20, 2010

To Play or Not To Play High School Volleyball

Not bad when you can work Shakespeare into a title about Volleyball!

My daughter is a 6'2" hitter who plays club volleyball and plays with a great team that wins matches and plays great as a team and they are all really fun to watch. She has had recruiters filming her and sending her letters telling her they are interested and it has been wonderful as a parent to see her grow as a player and also gain confidence in her skills and herself as a leader. She then goes back to her high school varsity team and it is a small school that does not win and not many girls play club ball and the level of playing drops dramatically. She also has issues with the high school head coach who doesn't like anyone on the team who is better than her own daughter who is also on the team. While I know that it is important to keep playing to get touches on the ball and keep in condition, I am also weighing the emotional factor on my daughter who is constantly being put down and criticized and told she never does anything right. I feel like she goes backwards and want to know what college coaches would think if a club player did not play high school ball? How badly would that hurt her recruiting chances? I am also afraid if a college coach would contact her high school coach she might sabotage her in some way. The club coaches have been wonderful in letting me know who has been contacting them about her and they think she has a wonderful attitude and work ethic and is a great kid, but the high school coach has never said a word. It is hard to explain a personality conflict with a coach without having the player look bad and I keep going around in circles trying to know what to do, please help! J.K.

Wow, that is a tough situation and unfortunately, you are not the first VolleyFamily to go through this - I have had other Questions from readers on this topic and I believe I had written a previous post about your concerns.

For me and I would guess most college coaches, high school Volleyball does not really concern us - I am only worried that my PSA stay healthy and have fun. That is not to say that high school volleyball can't be a wonderful opportunity to represent something larger than oneself and to get positive touches on the ball. Many times, high school Volleyball is a wonderful experience without the recruiting pressure and over the top playing schedules so common with club Volleyball.

With regards to us crazy college coaches, how well your team performs is not that significant to us - I have had many Senior year PSA's embarrassed by how bad their high school team is or that their team was not making the play-offs, but these situations in no way preface their future with my program.

College Coaches understand that high school Volleyball can become way too political and only a few elite high school programs can actually be at a level similar to a good club team. Our number one concern with high school is academics - Making sure the correct classes are being taken to satisfy NCAA eligibility and the grade point average concurs with the SAT/ACT scores.

When we do make telephone calls to get background on a PSA it is mainly to the club coaches. We are 10,000,000% percent more concerned with club volleyball. Club Volleyball is the next level up, trains and competes in a greater stress environment and we are more comfortable interacting with coaches which we see all the time in club tourneys.

Not playing high school should have zero negative impact on her attractiveness to college volleyball coaches or her opportunities - Talent and personality matter. Just think about all those college coaches you see constantly at club tourneys - We are watching, evaluating, watching, evaluating......We see talent, we see attitude, we see how a player interacts with their team mates, how they handle a tough loss, how they respond to pressure, how they react to coaches - This is our job and many of us are very good at it.

If any of my incoming players for next year said they would not be playing high school for the reasons you described, I would support them and tell them to enjoy some off time to rest their body and mind. With the almost year round calendar of club volleyball, high school volleyball positives have really diminished - I am aware of more and more elite club players taking the high school season off so they can have some time to rest, and to enjoy just being a kid in high school.

With your feedback about the positives she is receiving via club and recruiting, then high school seems like nothing more than a negative thing. Here is a question - Why do a negative thing if you don't have too? Why invite trouble and stress and negativity into your daughter's life and your family chemistry?

Based on what you just wrote to me, I would say goodbye to high school ball and work out/rest the mind until club volleyball starts in November - It is not much more than 60 days away!

Thank you for your question, as I suspect any number of VolleyFamilies could be going through something similar!

Good luck,



  1. Thank you so much for this! Was going through the same situation! Well said!

  2. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    We are just going through this as well. Our HS coach said club volleyball doesn't mean a thing because you have no competition.
    Thank you for your remarks, very well said.

  3. AnonymousJuly 15, 2016

    My daughter has decided to take the high school season off for the same reasons. Negative coaches, mean teammates, and she feels her game deteriorates during high school season due to lack of competition and poor coaching. Our high school coaches put down club ball all the time in front of my daughter and the friends she plays with during the club season. Although I love watching her play, her happiness is far more important.

    She loves club ball and loves the higher level of competition. The team she plays on wins far more than they loose. The girls support each other and pick each other up when they are down.

    I choose club over high school, just as she has.


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