November 2, 2010

More Than Volleyball in High School?

My daughter is C/O 2012 and my question is regarding playing school volleyball.
My daughter's Freshman and Sophomore year in high school, she was a full-time player and the team won the title for their area both years. My daughter received numerous all-star mentions last year and was on the all-tournament team for the championship tournament.
This year, my duaghter has lost palying time to a Freshman who is 4" taller than her and is now playing 80 - 100% of the time. The coach told my daughter that they are very close in ability (I think he told her they were "1 and 1A"), but, the playing time has nearly gone away for my daughter. Undestand that my daughter did not slip in skills and ability at all from last season to this one - in fact, she went to extra training to improve her agility and jumping as well as playing 6 months of club ball with a team that traveled to National Qualifiers and JOs.
I am not sending this to vent about the current situation, but, this is a lead in to my questions: In the eyes of a college coach, is it absolutely necessary for a player to play for her high school? If you were looking at a player that had accolades her SOPH year then nothing her JR year, would that take her off your radar at all?
She has had initial contacts with a few schools but nothing real serious as yet - we are not in a rush…We are hoping that she will be signed sometime in the next 10 months or so based upon her club exposure.
The reason I ask about the need to play school ball is that my daughter has foregone other activities at school she wanted to participate in because of the 6-day-a-week routine of school VB. She is considering participating in some of these activites in the Fall of her Senior year instead of palying for the school and training with her club then playing Spring Club that year before heading off to college.
I am very interested in your perspective as a potential recruiting coach given the scenario above. Thank you for all your great advice - it has helped my family immensely and has aided in reducing the stress of the game and has us focused on keeping it fun!!

Your question is not unusual and I seem to be getting a number of such questions with regards to a PSA playing high school.
My belief and I would think a number of other college coaches, is that not playing high school volleyball is not a huge detriment. I know when I have voiced this opinion, it has resulted in a number of comments disagreeing with me. The disagreements have focused on the totality of the experience, overcoming a challenging, not retreating from a tough situation, etc. I can easily support all those which have been kind enough to express their contrary thoughts, but I want to reaffirm, I am providing feedback based upon my perception of my profession (wow, that was a heck of long qualifier!).

You bring up a valid point about high school participation; other high school activities might be sacrificed to play on the volleyball team. I know that the athletic's mindset can really consume player's days; who all of us tend to forget are just teenagers and might like to explore other opportunities in high school. With club volleyball ever increasing in length of season, number of travel dates and number of practice requirements, it is not like the high school volleyball player can say they will just do these other high school things in the winter/spring.

I am one of those coaches, maybe a rare coach, who believes it is important to have down time away from volleyball and with the lengthy club season (November to July), it seems the only available down time is high school volleyball. I forward this philosophy for the selfish reason of having a recruit arrive to my team full of energy and excited, not burnt out from 11 months of volleyball for the last 4 years.

Communication is the key w/college coaches. They are going to focus on club volleyball because it is the next level up and they will recruit talent. Sure, a coach or two may question or disagree with your daughter's decision to not play high school, but then again, these may be the same college coaches who are 24/7 volleyball at the expense of having a complete collegiate experience. Talent is the most important aspect in the college volleyball recruiting process - This is how we keep getting a paycheck. If going off to play college volleyball is the desire, then the focus should be maximizing talent (within reason, let's not go all Rocky IV and move to Siberia to train).

As long as you communicate with coaches during the recruiting process about your daughter's desire to engage in other high school activities, but can still ramp up a great club season, I really don't see it being a problem.

I wish you and your daughter peace during this process.

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