It is an interesting email, with a link to a cnn.com article which speaks about the crazy cost of sports; both in terms of time and money.
Here is an article that reiterates the cons of 'going a little extreme' in our kids athletic lives. We're willing to spend 10-50K on a specialty sport………what about academics?
What I'd love for you to emphasize to the parents that can't/won't do this is………is THEY DON'T HAVE to!! Our daughter started club volleyball in 8th grade (4-5 years later than most of her team mates). Clearly, college coaches look for raw athletic talent (not trainable) as our daughter was one of three players out of 3 strong club teams offered a full-ride scholly her sophomore year.
Recently returning from a small-rural MLK tourney I watched many panicked parents (I'm sure I'd be one too…) nervously looking to see which asst.college coach was watching their daughter(s)---while all the HC's were at Speakeasy etc. I pulled up Richkern.com on my Ipad to show these parents how many 2011 kids are still being recruited/signed at this very moment---trying and successfully helping them relax.
BOTTOM LINE: all of our girls will find a volleyball home---if that's what THEY truly want to do.
In regards to your last blog post: I agree 100%...I witnessed so many kids playing while looking miserable!! What has happened to them? Is it the stressed out parents, have they been pressured/pushed too much? I hope this current trend has a pendulum swing---soon!
A couple of key points which A Fan brought up; 1) You don't have to necessarily spend a ton of money on private lessons, specialty camps, etc., 2) There is more time in the senior recruiting class than a VolleyFamily believes.
I cringe when I receive emails with information about a PSA playing club, engaging in a few hours of additional private instruction, doing a separate jump training program, lining up camps with the club, the high school, USA Volleyball and colleges; the next thing will be to schedule time with a therapist (both mental and physical)! This is overkill to the 10th degree. By the time a PSA has reached their late junior to senior year of Volleyball, they are at the margin of diminishing returns. All the time/effort put in at this junction will not be anything approaching an equal return. The result is a very real physical and mental burnout, during the exact time in which a player needs to appear fresh, energized and focused for potential College Volleyball programs. The next jump in Volleyball ability won't happen until college because it is here that the player will now be the young one, and will raise her game up to match the upperclassmen.
A PSA's talent will find the appropriate level of College Volleyball. The key in the recruiting scenario this late, is to keep an open mind towards location and category of College Volleyball. If a PSA does not want to leave their state or does not want to consider anything but NCAA Division I, then they are setting themselves up for disappointment.
The accerlerated time frame of today's recruiting climate has provided the false impression that NCAA Division I scholarships are all gone come the Senior year of club. Yes, there are a significant number of scholarships which have been awarded to the current Senior class, but there are a significant number of scholarships which will be available into the spring months of the senior club season. I was truly surprised by the number of NCAA DI Volleyball programs which were actively recruiting the 2011 class at the President's Day tournaments (in Las Vegas, Omaha, Kansas City, etc.); it was not a couple of schools, it was many, many schools from all the different levels of Division I. This happens because not every school is able to commit their available scholarships during the 16's to 17's year, like a Penn State or Stanford can. Many schools will come in second place with their top PSA's and because of this, they have to regroup after the College Volleyball season to find that needed Middle Blocker for the Fall. Also, stuff happens during the College Volleyball season which will result in a number of scholarships coming open - SA's get homesick, flunk out, get kicked off the team for partying, quit because the team is psycho, don't like the dorm food, allergic to pine trees, blew out a knee for the second time in a year, too much snow for a southern girl, too hot for a northern girl, too humid for a western girl, too flat for a mountain girl.
My advice, via way too many years of being hyper intelligent and coaching Volleyball (quite the contradiction!), is to keep the Volleyball skills sharp without over training/scheduling to avoid burnout, keep working your end of the recruiting equation, and to have an open mind to the many different possibilities which encompass College Volleyball.