February 28, 2011

Too Early for College Volleyball Recruiting

Is it too early to start the process? My daughter is in her 8th grade year, she is playing on a good club in North TX and wants to play college vball. She is 5'8", 14 years old and very talented. She plays right side and all around most of the time. She wants to play for a DIV I if possible. How can I get started and not just wait for possible coach visits at weekend tournaments?

Thanks, CB

Since she is only in 8th grade right now, I would not even worry/consider/ponder/stress/think about anything to do with recruiting now. In fact, I would not even worry about it one iota when your daughter is a freshman. The absolute best thing you can do for your daughter to empower her College Volleyball playing goals is to keep Volleyball fun and to keep the focus on just getting better.

Talent is what will make her goals come to fruition, everything else is just extraneous. From your information, I think you are in a good position - good club in a prime Volleyball recruiting region, solid height and talented. Just let her play and continue do develop her Volleyball skills with no other concern.

While you may see some random coaches coming by courts this year, the college crowd won't start to really sneak peeks at club kids until their freshman year and for many of us, that is even too soon. The 16's/sophomore year is when the craziness will come home to roost and last for up to 3 seasons!

When we (the almighty College Volleyball coaches) get a letter or email from an 8th grader, it is not going to make much of an impact (if at all). That is just too far away in the process, and we have miles and miles and miles to go before we could even consider an athlete in the 2015 class! Even those programs known for scholarship'ing 3rd graders would not be grabbed by a 5'8" eighth grader - Maybe a 6'2" eighth grader whose older sister played on a Top 10 team, maybe.

Here is my to the point advice - How tall is your daughter going to become? You indicate she wants to play DI Volleyball. NCAA DI Volleyball is height driven, even at a lower rated conference level. If she is 5'8" now and looks to top out at 5'10" (how tall is your family, how tall is mom's family?), then you should be focused on developing skill sets to the exclusion of everything else for the next 3 years. 5'10" outside hitters are the Toyota Corolla's of the Volleyball recruiting world and if your daughter wants to stand out and attract attention of someone like me, she must develop her skill sets to a superior level. Don't waste time on mailing letters/sending emails and stressing over recruiting; invest this energy into continuously developing Volleyball ability while being aware of the amount of hours spent in Volleyball so she does not approach burn out.

I STRONGLY encourage you to not get into the recruiting mindset - enjoy the time now with no pressure and just Volleyball.

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