January 2, 2011

Hi there,

My stepdaughter is very interested in trying to get a scholarship to college thru volleyball. I'd like to get some clarification on the best way for her to be recruited. I hope you don't mind...

1) Do recruiters look at high school players? If so, how are these players targeted?

2) Is it better for her to play on a travel teams or get individual lessons? Do recruiters look at travel teams?

3) What advice do you have to guide her to accomplish her goals?

Thanks so much in advance! J.A.

I am glad to help and this is a prime example of why I started this website; to provide information to VolleyFolks who are just uneducated about this process. By the reading of your email, it is apparant that you are brand new to this world of college volleyball recruiting and all the in/outs/ups/downs, etc.

Some guidance -

1. High school players are rarely recruited just by playing high school volleyball. This can be due to the fact the high school season is also when the college volleyball season occurs and college volleyball coaches can't be in two places at one time. Sure, it can happen, but it is a rare occurrence for a high school player to get a scholarship.

2. If by travel teams, you are referencing winter/spring junior club volleyball, then yes, this is supremely better than lessons. The reason being that all college volleyball programs base their recruiting on seeing club volleyball teams practice and compete in the winter/spring. Individual lessons can augment club training, but playing with a club team is the best avenue to drastically improving volleyball skill sets, team play and getting seen by college volleyball coaches.

3. Volleyball is a tough sport because you can't practice alone, you must train with a group or team and there are many, many talented high school players with the same college scholarship goals as your stepdaughter. The best advice I can give you is to do an internet search for a junior club volleyball team (you can do this by typing "USA Volleyball Region in Missouri/Texas/ New York (wherever you live) to get the regional usa volleyball page. On this page, you can search for junior girls club volleyball teams in your area and go to a tryout. These are select teams that you must try out for, be invited and then pay monthly dues (which can be expensive when combined with travel costs).

4. Within reason, she must constantly be playing volleyball in some capacity. It is not a sport you can pick up for three months, lay down for 9 months and then expect to make significant gains in ability to merit a college scholarship. Also, she must stay in good physical condition - Volleyball is very demanding on the body, and if a player is out of shape and tries to go full out, it often leads to some type of injury.

5. I have presented a yearly Recruiting Plan, which is locate under the Labels section of this site on the left side bar. This is a yearly freshman through senior plan to trying to secure a spot with a college/university and hopefully a scholarship.

6. The recruiting process can be quite overwhelming if you are trying to play catch up, so you might wish to consider utilyzing a recruiting service to assist you. In the past, I was not a big supporter of recruiting services, but as of late, many of these services have greatly improved how they are presenting information and videos to college coaches. I will say that I have no idea how much they charge or the amount of time you need to allocate to interaction with them. As I have written about before, if you are technologically sound and have the time/equipment/motivation, you can accomplish everything a recruiting service will charge you to do, but many VolleyFamilies would rather pay the fee of a service and allocate these efforts elsewhere.

7. The best advice I can give, is for your stepdaughter to become the absolute best volleyball player possible. College Volleyball coaches will find talented players, this is what we do. Don't put the cart ahead of the horse with focusing on recruiting - No matter how much marketing you do, no matter how many recruiting services you contract, no matter how many video tapes you make, if a player cannot play at the anticipated level of college volleyball, then she will not be recruited with a scholarship opportunity.

8. Please be aware that there are numerous levels/catagories of college volleyball - NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA and Junior College. I have written in previous posts about the definitions of each catagory.

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