March 7, 2011

College Volleyball Camps

Hi Coach,
My daughter is in 7th grade, played for school and is playing 13U for her club right now. Do you think it is too early for her to go to a NCAA summer camp? A very die-hard volleyball parent approached me and asked me to join her PSA to go to a top NCAA summer camp. It is 3 hours away and they will stay there for 3 days. After the Regionals I plan to give my daughter a break from volleyball so this NCAA camp sounds like a burn out to me already. As a volleyball parent, I get pressure everyday from these crazy volleyball parents who does so much with their 12 year olds. From 3 days of club practice, then private lessons and elite summer camps. I know they love their daughters and want the best for them, but, could all these extra training harming these 12/13 year olds? I do not want to turn this into a job for my child, she already has very sound fundamental skills and we do plan to do some local camps with reputable clubs.
Coach, I would like your opinion about this situation. I do plan to send my daughter to some NCAA camps in the future but just not know.
Thanks so much for your time. J.K.

You pretty much answered your own question - No.

I agree with your observations about the over the top of Volleyball training with the young age groups. I would only have your daughter go to a NCAA Volleyball camp, or any camp for that matter, if she wants to go. Sounds almost too straight forward, but VolleyParents need to communicate effectively with their children about what they want for the summer. Club Volleyball now runs into July, and what used to be the slow month of May, is now just a couple of weeks of lighter training before it is time to get into the pre-nationals tournaments to get ready for the big season ending tournaments in mid to late June/early July.

Too many players, even the young ones, only get three or so weeks in July to just be teenage kids, then it is into Junior High or High School Volleyball. In these three off weeks, there are the 'volunteer' high school camps and/or open gyms, along with the options of attending Club Volleyball camps (I can't help but think there is some passive aggressive pressure for the next club season by these camps) and then the super duper para trouper College Volleyball Camps.

I don't know how many of our NCAA Volleyball camps are really elite or big time training situations. My feeling is that college camps tend to me more social interaction with good (hopefully) Volleyball touches thrown in, within a great environment. I went to the big time college camps as a PSA, and in hindsight, the training was not all that phenomenal; it was solid and I learned some stuff and I got better (I think....), but it was not like I was training with the Brazilian National team.

Just follow your instinct because it is not wrong. If your daughter wants to go to a certain camp, then great! Just make sure it is her making the decision, not anyone else making the decision for her.

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