January 6, 2011

Club Volleyball - Travel Team or Not to Travel Team


First, thanks for a fantastic website! Still waiting for a book that compiles it all together.

My 13-year-old daughter, currently in 8th grade, enjoys volleyball SOOOO much that SHE is the one talking about wanting to play college volleyball someday. (I know, I know, you say we shouldn't discuss stuff like that at this age but I can't help it - it is ALL her. She just LOVES everything about volleyball, even though she fortunately has other interests as well.) Our question is this: she is goal setter and a hard worker and straight A student and we want to know if it is necessary for her to play club on a traveling power team when she gets to high school as opposed to just a power team that plays locally since she has NO intention of going to college out of state?

In fact, she is 99% sure that she wants to attend a local private university (I attended there, plus she's already VERY familiar with everything that university offers as far as volleyball, academics, lifestyle, type of room and board, campus culture, you name it, etc.) She has even said that if she couldn't get a volleyball scholarship there (it is Division 1) she would still want to attend there even though she would be sad not to be playing college ball. Now, I realize she is still young and she might change her mind about that part but I know she would still only accept a volleyball scholarship if it was one of three other local colleges she kind of likes.

So, hope that gives you an idea of where she is on this. We all would be happy if she could forgo the travel team with its added expenses and just play power league locally and let the local college coaches know where and when she would be playing, when it comes to that. What do you think?

By the way, she is only 5'6" so far but she has two uncles on my husband's side who are over 6' and two older teenage sisters who are 5'8". I am 5'6 1/2" and dad is 5'9". She has always made it onto the top team of any volleyball program she has tried out for. She is in her second year of club and recently was on the top team of her high school's 9th grade program (remember, she is in 8th grade.) She's any coaches dream of a the well rounded player - enthusiastic, cheers on her team no matter what the score, humble, does really well in school, is organized, has a positive attitude but still appropriately disappointed when her team loses, takes direction very well, never criticizes her fellow players, is open to playing any position as long as she is playing, has great skills in serving, passing, setting, hitting, and digging.

Hope you can help us on this question of whether a local non-traveling club would work (when she is in high school) considering her current plans for college.

Thank you - H.M.

Thanks for your e-mail and compliments. I have actually started to look how to put my website into book form, as I understand there are a few companies which do this sort of thing. I guess I need to spend more time on it, or have a well educated reader take me by the hand and walk my through it!

Now to your question. It is early to consider, but it is also fun to project the future with college volleyball - I know I had the same goals at her age. I believe the answer to your question is Skill Development - What club situation is going to help her reach the maximum of her abilities per her age? Club volleyball is expensive and travel only seems to becoming even more costly, but if she does want to play college volleyball, even if it is just at one select school, she needs to constantly improve her abilities (especially being Division I).

I understand the desire to minimize travel costs associated with a club team that goes out of region, but it is these club teams which tend to play with and against better, and more diverse competition. One thing you must remember, as you enter into the crazy world called college volleyball recruiting is that many times colleges don't have a scholarship or even a roster spot for players, who we think are good players.

Your daughter could easily be consumed with volleyball and come her senior year, if the Fab Fave DI does not have a scholarship or roster spot (or there was a coaching change and the new coach is nutz, or she meets the team and they are just psycho), and by bad luck the other three back-ups are also in the same position, what then? I don't see your daughter just deflating the Wilson and calling it a career; she is going to want to play somewhere.

This answer is just magnified because it does not look as if your daughter is going to shoot up to be 6'3" and height seems to be the bright light that all college coaches are drawn too (remember the scene in Finding Nemo when Marlin and Dory were just mesmerized and acting loopy when they viewed the bright shining light in the dark of the deep ocean? Kinda like college coaches with the 6'3" passing OH PSA!).

Since she will be in the 5'8" range, she will need to maximize her ball control (either Setter, Libero, or passing Outside Hitter) - This means that the better club team she can train with (which is dependent upon her coach, the club training philosophy and the abilities of her fellow club players) and the better the competition to play against, the better she is going to become.

Focus on developing her abilities because even as dead set as she is on her academic/volleyball choice now, things have a habit of changing between now and graduation from high school. Should this NCAA DI be Neo (The One), then as a 5'8 (we hope.....maybe marrying a middle blocker instead of libero husband could have worked better....) player, she has to greatly focus on ball control. Talent provides choices and pick the club that will maximize her talent.

Thanks! I forgot to mention that she is left-handed - does that make any difference whatsoever? H.M.

This is good for her setting potential, but no so much for an outside hitter. Volleyball is geared for right handed people and the MASS majority of OH's are right handed. You will find that most left handed outside hitters play on the right front part of the net because the geometry of attacking is easier on the right side of the net for a left handed hitter (ball does not need to need to travel across the shoulders to be attacked comfortably). In addition, coaches like the RS hitter to be taller in stature because they will be blocking against the opposing teams best outside hitters.

Left handed setters are valuable because it is the left hand that is used to dump or attack the second ball. Since a left handed setter's dominant shoulder is away from the net, it allows them to generate quick power, on a short swing to attack the second ball. Also, with the left hand being dominant, the setter can manage or direct the ball better when in a dump or joust situation at the net.

For Liberos this does not matter - They just need to pass nails and grind it out, and bring me some Gatorade!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.