October 13, 2010

College Volleyball Recruiting - Everything's gonna be alright.


Before I start, let me say this website is as entertaining as it is informative! My husband and I are laughing while we are saying "didn't know that or we need to remember that". Thanks for all your insight and expertise.

Our daughter is a junior at a Texas 3A High School. We live in a rural area, 120 miles outside of Dallas. She is 5'11" , athletic, loves the game etc. As a freshman she started on varsity as a middle, she won newcomer of the year award in the district. As a sophomore she won mvp middle hitter/blocker for the district. Last year was her first year to play club in the Dallas area. She played for a newer club, but the coach was awesome! She played "up" in the 17's as an outside and some middle. This really elevated her level of play.

During the last 4 summers she has attended various volleyball camps for various reasons. After her freshman year an assistant coach talked to me about possible interest in their college (a smaller D1 school). During the club season the coaches came to a tournament to watch and talked to the club coach and sent various e-mails to him as well. After her junior year they invited her to the camp. Once we signed her up the assistant coach e-mailed me to say she would be staying with the verbal commitments and other possible recruits. The camp went well but my daughter was not excited about the head coach or the school. She enjoyed the team and the verbal commitments but has decided against this school.

A month later she went to another DFW area D1 school with a good friend who was being recruited. This school has a great blocking coach and my daughter wanted to work with her. The camp went well, my daughter loved the campus and enjoyed the team and the coaches. She played on the 1st court but never really talked the any of the coaches. Two weeks later her high school volleyball coach receives an e-mail (before Sept. 1st) stating that they would like to contact my daughter on Sept. 1st and come watch a tournament in the area. The coaches were there and they followed the rules exactly. My daughter has received e-mails and letters from this school since Sept. 1st. She has responded and would like to go for an unofficial visit but she has not really had a chance to ask some of the questions about the program. (We feel like she is not the first choice and totally understand.) She would love to go to this school and it has all the things academically she is looking for in a college. This is one of her "dream" schools.

My husband and I think she is not a D1 player. We are afraid this may be a waste of time and could be a heartbreaker for her. This college has not contacted her in a week, is this a sign they are no longer interested? Several DII schools have had interest and she really likes two of them. She has always enjoyed being on a team and would love to continue this in the right setting. What do we do as parents? How would you steer her?

Thanks - New member of the Volley Family

A Bob Marley reference in the title; you gotta love that! I would venture that this is maybe the first Rasta reference in any internationally known volleyball site (I think collegevolleyballcoach.com is internationally known since I have received emails from VolleyFolks outside of the USA!).

Thanks for your compliments and Welcome to the VolleyFamily! My feedback:

1. 5'11" MB's are not upper level DI, and maybe not M1 MB's in mid level DI, but I would hesitate to say that she is not DI (as you indicate you and your husband feel). There are many very good MB's that just happen to be under 6' and play DI. I would not slot her into a certain category of NCAA play, especially since she is still a Junior and has not even started the club season. I would be more focused on how a school feels to your daughter as she goes through the recruiting process.

2. Sounds like she could be a secondary focus for the "dream" school, but that is not necessarily a bad thing - College programs shoot high for our recruits and don't get all of them. We always have a very good second level of prospects which we move with as soon as we know the top kid may not go our way. It can be a "heartbreaker" when the top player takes the offer - I know I have had to contact a 'secondary' player and I knew I was going to break her heart by not offering; it was/is tough because these are good kids but this is the nature of the beast (believe me, I have had my own share of disappointments when we do everything right with a recruit and know we are a great fit for them, but we are not the program that gets the "yes".)

3. Not getting a contact for a week should not be of huge concern - All programs are finishing out the pre-season tourneys and ramping up for conference play; there are also Official Visits going on (committed kids taking their free vacation to campus) and the never ending Unofficial Visits. Let's not forget video break down, video exchange, getting court time now that basketball is wanting more time, confirming team travel, etc. All this can create a slow time for sending out letters/emails.

4. Nothing wrong at all with DII schools and in fact, I think there is a lot right with DII volleyball. I get concerned when VolleyFamilies are so focused on the title of Division I because, while there are many well funded DI programs, there are also many poorly supported DI programs. These poorly supported DI programs will not offer the type of positive experience for a student athlete, that a well supported DII program will.

5. As parents, you need to be calm and supportive; there is LOTS of time left in the Junior class recruiting cycle (let me say that again, THERE IS LOTS OF TIME LEFT!!!). Her Junior year of club is coming up and if she plays on a Dallas area club team again, she will receive more attention from the logo wearing professionals. If she is getting some recruiting love from DI/DII schools after one year with a newer Dallas club, then come the spring, she will probably get a bunch more (depending on the schedule the Club plays). At the end of each college season, coaches reevaluate their rosters and players reevaluate their priorities. This always leads to more scholarship/roster opportunities coming available in the spring.

6. I would ABSOLUTELY remove parental pressure and tell her to just relax and enjoy her high school season. The DII schools are not going anywhere and know that they have to be patient while the DI's get their recruits. Right now she should just be focused on becoming the best volleyball player she can be, put together a great Junior season in high school and prepare for her club season. Guide her by focusing on volleyball, not recruiting.

By my reading of your e-mail, you are doing everything correctly and I strongly encourage you to keep things calm - there is no reason to panic; she has interest from DI schools, she has interest from DII schools AND, AND, AND she still has her Junior year of club volleyball coming up. I understand everyone hears about Awesome Alice committing to TAMU and Mighty Mary getting an offer from UT, but these are the elite exceptions. Last year, into March, there were players still accepting DI offers in the spring of their Senior year.

Just enjoy the ride - It ONLY happens once.


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