October 7, 2010

College Volleyball Questions Answered Here!

I need to apologize to many VolleyFolk for falling so far behind in answering submitted questions. In an effort to catch up on some of my way late Q and A's, let's jump right into it below:

DIII Volleyball Question


I just found your site and really appreciate all the great information.

We have a 17 year old junior in high school who is only 55. She is left handed, and plays as a setter/right side hitter. She has played club for 4 years. Last year her regional club team ranked 18/155 in Ohio. But, her volleyball skills and size are not what a national level club team or a DI school is looking for. However, she loves playing volleyball and would like to play in college at a DIII school. She is very smart, and very strong academically having attended a small independent college prep school all her life. Her coaches have loved her attitude both on and off the court. She has been the captain of several teams and received local high school Division IV (the lowest level) awards.

I would appreciate any advice you could give us on helping her find a spot at a DIII school, which meets her needs academically, and has a volleyball team. Also, I saw the post you made regarding what skills to show for a libero recruiting video. If you could give us the same information for a setter, I would appreciate it.

Thank You - PS

Thanks for the compliment about the site . It is refreshing to see that VolleyFamilies are open to exploring NCAA DIII Volleyball. All too often, PSA's get caught up in the propaganda of the DI media machine and overlook some great options to go to college and play volleyball. What I like about DIII Volleyball, compared to DI, is the shorter season, less travel and a much better balance between academics and athletics (and life!!!) for the Student-Athlete.

Some Quick Answers to your Questions-

1. DIII schools which play volleyball can be found at http://web1.ncaa.org/stats/StatsSrv/ranksummary

2. DIII means no athletic scholarships and but does not mean that every DIII school is academically elite - you would need to cross reference many of academic rankings available on the internet. On average, DIII schools tend to be smaller, academics carry more weight than athletics, and the DIII schools have a much smaller operating budget vs DI/II.

3. A skills tape/video for a setter is a bit tougher, than say a MB. So much of what a good setter does, can be hard to show on a video tape. I would focus on showing the hand release when setting (don't have the camera too far away), the body position when setting the ball, movement in to setting the ball from a serve recieve position, along with a blocking start. And, show her setting all the possible set options, along with setting balls which are far off the net. Again, this is a tough position to highlight on video, so I would not stress too much about making it Oscar worthy - Focus on putting together a simple video tape that provides the motivation for the college coach to come see her in person.

You will have plenty to do with looking up DIII academic elite schools from the above link and making a master email contact list. The last thing I can suggest is to keep taking the SAT/ACT tests to raise the score as high as possible; many DIII schools, because of their academic focus, place a priority of high level test scores.

2011 Recruiting Panic


OK so our oldest and only daughter is a Senior. I thought we were playing for a great club, but now starting to wonder. We were told to start sending out letters to colleges late last year, early this year, prepping for club tournaments. We also worked to get a skills video going, etc. And we have still remained in touch with some colleges and sent out new information to colleges, telling them about our daughter. ( Actually all the data has come from my daughter, her email, etc.) What we are getting back is ‘thanks’ but we have our recruits for 2011? How is that possible? In trying to get our heads around all of this, I thought early signing was in November, but I surely did not think in September schools would have already signed players for 2011? So is it too late? I do not find our club is helping at all, even though they are one of the two top clubs in the RMR. We are now all getting depressed.

Thanks - DD

NCAA DI schools are recruiting very far ahead these days; my 2011 class was done in the summer and I was VERY LATE getting my class secured. I am two thirds of the way done with the 2012 class and getting ready to start on the 2013 class; and I am not a big time program (Just a big time Coach!!!!).

Your club may not have educated you/your daughter about the accelerated time frames of recruiting - What they have suggested should have been done going into her Junior year and that would have been after sending out contact e-mails as a sophomore.

Early Signing is completely different from an early commitment. Again, all of my 2011 and 2012 players are just a verbal commitment, but these are rarely broken in volleyball. Early Signing is the first opportunity in the Senior year of high school to sign the National Letter of Intent (NLI) and then there is the Late Signing date in the spring. While signing the NLI is a celebrated occasion, so many recruits have been committed to schools for a year or two (or more).

Please search my Recruiting Plan label and go with the Senior Year plan ASAP. Also, DO NOT PANIC - things are slow in the college volleyball recruiting world because we are in our season and focused on our team. There are plenty of DI scholarships available (along with DII) and after the season, coaches will start ramping up the recruiting efforts to get that last player or two for the fall. Just make sure they know about your daughter, make it easy to find her.

Again, now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to update video, send out email introductions, resend out email introductions, to physically and mentally prepare for an important club volleyball season, to keep an open mind to all possibilities, send out the club schedule, focus on being ready for early season club volleyball tourneys where college coaches will be scrambling to fill open scholarships and to stay positive.

Club Pre-Season Practice Pressure:

Good morning Coach,

My 12 year old daughter is a setter for her 7th grade A team who practices 2 hours a day four days a week. I think that is plenty of volleyball for a 7th grader. With club season approching and her club is having pre-tryout clinics all over the place. This will be her 3rd season with the same club. My question is I don't want her to go to pre-tryout after school because she has already had a long day.

I don't want to burn her out and going into the club season all worn out. What do you think coach? My daughter doesn't want to go during school season also. Everyone is doing so much I feel like the odd man out. By the way, she did out all summer training with her club during off season. She trained with them 6 hours a week. We will go to setter boot camp in Dec during Christmas break, we go every year. Thanks for your time.

Regards, Jackie

I would view your question along the lines of skill training. You indicate your daughter is practicing 2 hours a day with her Junior high team, but is it a good 2 hours or is it just serve and giggle for 2 hours?

Since she is only in 7th grade, it is not as if the club program training during the non-club season is going to vault her into an elite NCAA Division I recruit or magically get her on the USA Olympic 7th grade team. What concerns me is the club seems to be using the fear of not being selected to the "top" team as a means to generate income via these club season prep clinics.

Take an objective look at your daughter's skill sets (hard to do for parents) - if she is getting quality training in her Jr. high practices, is improving in her skill sets, and is considered among the better players of her age group, then I would suggest that the club clinics are not the best time/money investment.

But, if the Jr. High practices are not very good, she is not getting quality touches and her skill sets are starting to lag behind others of her age group, then possibly the club clinics could assist her in improving as a player - BUT, BUT, BUT that is under the belief that the club clinics are focused, quality training sessions and just not pay and play situations.

You have expressed a 'burn out' concern, which is extremely valid and should over ride all other considerations at this age - it is not good to put in all this time, effort and money just to have your daughter become so sick of volleyball she stops in high school. Keep it fresh, keep it fun and allow her to be a junior high athlete.

Follow your instincts, they are usually correct.
Contact Letter Question
Hi Coach!
My daughter is in the middle of HS season in her junior year. She has already put into place a skills tape and volleyball resume. So she is ready to send out introduction letters again. Club tryouts are not until early November. It has been suggested to her to go ahead and send out introduction letters again. She sent out many in her sophomore year with just a little feedback. She plans to send out letters to these schools again, but this time with links to her skills tape and a resume attached.
Do you have any recommendations on what the content of this letter should contain since club tryouts have not occured and she already sent out introduction letters once with a schedule attached to many of the schools?
Thanks - Ralph
Since she is in the middle of her club season, I suggest a quick hit e-mail contact using the following:
1. Mass email or individually addressed out to all schools she is interested in, even if she already contacted them. BUT, she needs to contact additional schools, not just the ones she already emailed as a sophomore - More lines in the water catch more fish!
2. Quick reminder in the email of who she is, "This is Mary Smith, 6'0" Outside Hitter from Miami Beach, Florida".
3. Quick update on her high school season, and I mean quick - "we are in 1st place after the first round of league play, and I mad all tourment in each of our pre-season tourneys".
4. A working link (this is important!) to her most current video. Even if it just a couple of minutes of highlights from recent high school matches or her putting together a quick skills video after practice with you filming. I am getting more and more youtube videos, so this seems to be a popular route.
5. Close with saying that she will contact the coaches once she gets her club team and schedule arranged in late November. MAKE SURE that all her contact information is included in her signature.
Remember that most college coaches are running around with our hair on fire (kinda like the little girl with braces in the dentist's office in Finding Nemo!) with pre-season tourneys over but not the paperwork, Offiical Visits are being arranged, Unofficial Visits are being confirmed, league play is going full tilt and we go off on these crazy long road trips because so many NCAA conferences can be as spread out as the Aleutian Islands.
In essence, you just want a quick hit of current video and a reminder of who she is to keep her in our recruiting thoughts. I don't think I would worry about the full resume, just make sure the contact information is included in the signature.

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