March 25, 2011

College Volleyball Phone Calls and Questions with PSA's

Two good questions about conversations with College Volleyball coaches:

Hi Coach,

So my daughter is getting the phone calls from college volleyball coaches (head and assistants) and everyone is in communication compliance ( we can call, they can't, etc.)

The question is:  Why are these coaches asking her point blank, "so what other schools are you looking at"?  Is that particularly appropriate and and how should she answer? 

Daughter is well prepared for these phone conversations to discuss the of best fit factors regarding academics/major, location, team/coach, etc. - then this invasive question where she's put on the spot to reveal the 'competitors' (a.k.a other schools she is talking to) 

Daughter doesn't ask, 'So who are all the other PSA's you are contacting' ... but should she?  She does ask about their plan to fill certain positions, but she doesn't ask for names. 

To me, it seems like these adult coaches are taking advantage of eager, inexperienced PSA's and getting them to reveal too much. And yes, she has had that question in person, also - not just the phone call.

Thanks in advance for your guidance as to how to best handle that question from a coach in a recruiting conversation with the PSA.  

What should she say?

Mrs. K

You are correct that it is a one way street of information and puts the PSA in an awkward position, but this is just how College Volleyball coaches determine who their competition is for the PSA.  It would be better for College Volleyball coaches to ask this type of a question in an email format or to find out via the club coach/recruiting director, but sometimes coaches are not that gracious.  Unfortunately, college coaches can get very cut throat and too business like, forgetting they are interacting with a younger person.

My advice is just to be honest about this tough question (it is tough, but it is also just part of what the recruiting game has evolved into).  When a coach asks, just say "my top 3 are x,y,z" or "I have taken visits to school x,y,z" or "I am scheduling visits with the following schools. "

I would be more concerned with how the college coaches react to this information. If they are complimentary and/or use a bit of humor as a response ("those are great choices, and my number one goal in life is to show you we are the best choice...") then that is a good thing.  If the coach immediately goes into attack mode ("we are much better than State U and you should not even look at them...."), then I would not be real keen on keeping that school in the top of my list. (Keen - this is a nice word which I think we should all use more.  Is it the Australians which use this word a bunch?  I can't remember for sure, but is sounds good to my ear!)

Also, your daughter should not be afraid to ask the hard/direct questions to the coaches; how may in my position are in your top group, where do I stand, how many offers will you extend.

I just go back to the old saying that there is no shame in the truth.  By being honest and listening to a coach's response, you can learn a bunch about a program and how it will be run.

First off, your website should be required reading for anyone thinking about college volleyball....great site.

Quick question...what's the most effective way for my daughter to ask a College Coach, "where do I fit in your plans for 2012?"

Parent of a 2012 player

Thanks for the compliment - You have answered your own question.

The more direct the questions from VolleyFamilies the better.  Direct questions generate answers; both verbal and non verbal.  The simple question of "where do I fit in your plans for 2012" should have a response which exactly details what the PSA is expected to achieve initially upon her arrival and then as her career progresses to graduation.

A college coach needs to be able to respond with what they believe the initial opportunity/responsibility will be, what kind of playing opportunities will be available (for instance, if the team will have two senior MB's which have been 3 year starters and your PSA is an incoming MB, the coach will be telling a white lie to say they expect her to start right away) and what the long term goal/plan is.  College Volleyball coaches must have these answers if they are sincerely recruiting your daughter; this is what we get paid to know and if we don't know or can't clearly let you know, then this is not right school/program.

If a coach evades or gives a generic answer then this should tell you something important.  There is no downside of asking direct questions of the person who will be a key figure in your daughter's next 5 years!

Thank you.

"There is no downside of asking direct questions of the person who will be a key figure in your daughter's next 5 years!"...understood.  2012 Parent

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