December 20, 2010

College Volleyball (et al) Questions Answered!

Is playing another sport (basketball) a negative or positive when considering a prospective athlete? Some of the clubs do not like multiple sport athletes for their teams.


Athletics is becoming increasingly specialized and in general, volleyball coaches don't want kids playing basketball, and basketball coaches don't want kids playing volleyball. Since your daughter is a junior, she will probably need to choose one or the other sport to focus upon if she wants to go to the next level. It is unfortunate, because playing different sports is fun and keeps everything fresh, but the reality is that to elevate skills to the collegiate level, kids must choose these days.

Do you mean the HS and Club coaches or the College Coaches looking for a potential recruit? You would think playing multiple sports would demonstrate that the student is an athlete and not just a VB athlete. In my daughter's case the BB team has a real shot at a state championship and I would hate to miss that experience with especially if an opportunity to play at the next level does not materialize. JS

Both sets of coaches. Your points are extremely valid, especially the state championship memories, but the reality is the 17's year is the prime year for recruiting, and players have to choose/specialize to enhance their college volleyball opportunities. It is hard to be seen/discovered by volleyball coaches if you are at a basketball game!
I think you should do two things - 1) Get some professional feedback (club director, college assistant coaches, etc) about the ability and potential of your daughter to play at the next level, 2) If a state title is a possibility, work hard to find the common ground with the volleyball club - Be specific about what dates she is locked into high school basketball, what days of the week she is available to practice, what VB tourneys she will miss, when the basketball season will be completed, etc. By being solid with communication, much can be worked out.
But, if you do continue with the basketball route, please be prepared to have less exposure and a lower evaluation with volleyball. This not because of an overt anti-basketball bias, but just rather less practice time with volleyball and fewer 'to be seen' opportunities at club volleyball tournaments.


I am an 5'9 MB (8th grader) at a very small school in Illinois. What can I do at home to improve my skills? And what is the best way to improve your vertical jump?


My suggestions:

1. If you can afford it, sign up for Club Volleyball - Do a google search for USA Volleyball Illinois Region to get the link for the Regional Home page for your area, then search for a Junior Volleyball club listing. Club volleyball is the best avenue to get maximum repetitions and hopefully, good coaching. Down side is club volleyball can be costly.

2. But, at home? This is the challenge of volleyball, you usually need a partner - There is only so many times you can set a ball in your bed, or pass it against the wall - You gotta have someone to pepper with, so go find someone. Is there another team mate close by? Is there an open gym at your school in the off season? You need to have another person and a ball.

3. There are two ways to improve your jump. 1) Jump - Yes, as simple as this sounds, just repetitive maximum jumping (say, 5 sets of 10 max jumps each day and gradually build up sets and reps) will help you jump higher. 2) Lifting - I don't really support lifting at your age, because your body is still growing and developing. If you felt compelled, then I would do just the basic lifts with limited squats, leg curls and leg extensions (on machines).

4. Most important thing you can do is touch a volleyball. Odds are you won't stay a MB, because you are young and players usually switch positions depending on height as they get into high school, but if you can "play" with all around skill sets, you will have more opportunity to get on the floor. There is usually someone at your school who also wants to play, so grab a ball and the corner of the gym and just play pepper for 20 minutes a day. Or if you can swing getting the net up, then play one on one 10' line, or one on one full court, or grab a couple of friends and play doubles - Just do everything you can to constantly touch a volleyball.

Good luck.

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