April 11, 2011

College Volleyball Recruiting, and Recruiting and.....wait for it.....Recruiting Questions!


We have a girl who will be a senior next year and has been getting a lot of recruiting pressure for volleyball. Is it normal for a college coach to ask a girl not to play another high school sport in the off season and just concentrate on volleyball. She is a great basketball player as well! 


Yes, but only after they commit and/or sign the National Letter of Intent.  The era of the two sport athlete is just about gone as a result of Club Volleyball and college expectations.  Michigan, if still playing basketball in the Fall and Volleyball in Winter, is in a slightly different situation.
I consider myself accommodating, in comparison to the majority of college coaches, but i would not be comfortable with one of my incoming players playing basketball or softball....maybe golf?  The simple reason is that I have invested significant time and money into securing her as a future player and should she get hurt, it could have huge ramifications on the next season, recruiting plans, job security, etc.
As she goes into her senior year, she should really just play one sport. Playing a college sport demands great preparation and skill development; splitting her time among two sports while a senior could easily result in her freshman year being a catch up year as opposed to a move forward year.
I am not saying it is right or wrong, but this is just where youth athletics has developed.

Dear Coach,

I am in my second year coaching at the 17s year club level and find myself struggling to give them specific guidance at times, since I never went through the recruiting process on the boys side when I played not that long ago.  If a player sees a school that seems to be a strong fit (academics, skill level, location, etc...) I know to encourage they initiate contact, but find myself not confident in giving specific direction to get the ball rolling.  What would you recommend for that first contact when reaching out to a program of interest?

Thanks, MS

First of all, I would suggest a read of my Recruiting Plan and to focus on the Junior Year (you can access the plan on the Labels section). 

The easiest way is to just shoot an email to the program with a PSA's contact information, club information and a SKILLS/VIDEO link or attachment.  It is putting the cart ahead of the horse to make a call to a coach/program, before they have background information on you.

The goal, with an initial contact, is to get the PSA on the 'to-see' list of the college program.  When this desired school is at a tournament, they will have the PSA on their list to evaluate because of this initial contact effort.

Don't hesitate to double down on your initial contact effort by sending a letter; yes, an old school, US Postal Service paper letter!!!  Sometimes going low tech is going to be the best avenue to be 'seen' by a program.  College coaches will get hundreds, if not thousands, of emails a week; not all of these emails are from recruits because of the never ending university/college employee updates, but the sheer volume of them in our inbox can easily lead to your email getting passed over or not reviewed immediately.

Over the years, I have noticed a big drop off in the number of letters each week.  This drop off allows your letter a better chance of being read/seen by college coaches just because we don't have to wade through the hundreds we used to 5 or so years ago.  It can be hard to open a video by double tapping with our finger a typewritten link on the paper.....but, even a Neanderthal of a college coach can type your video link into a computer's address bar!!!

Hi Coach,
My daughter is a high school junior. One of the assistant coaches that has been talking to her for 9 months since seeing her play at Nationals last year has left her job at a lower level D1 school. The head coach left 1 month ago and she was hopeful she would stay on and continue recruiting for the new head coach. We now see as the new coach is taking over she is gone and is an assistant at another D1 school, possibly a higher level. My question is who keeps the recruiting contact info. Do the video links and e-mails stay at the old school or does the coach take them with, or both
Thanks,  Parent of a 2012 player
Most likely both.  Departing coaches usually will make copies of all recruiting information to take with them, but because of professional courtesy, the original information stays with the institution.

I suggest you contact the old assistant coach at her new school, and the new head coach at the original school, should you have an interest in both institutions/programs in light of the changes. Don't assume all the taken and left recruiting information will be processed anytime soon.  Better to contact to stay in front of these coaches just to be safe.

With any coaching change affecting the head or 1st assistant, it is best to consider these schools as initial contact opportunities.  Having taken over a number of programs, I understand the hesitancy of a new coach to even consider those PSA's assembled by the departed coach.  With a number of 1st assistants in charge of a program's recruiting efforts, a change can easily lead to an upheaval in the recruiting database.
By re-contacting these college programs after the new staff has settled you can start fresh with each staff member. This will allow them to consider you 'their' recruit, as you directly reached out to contact them, as opposed to a PSA who was currently in the database.  Call it human nature or unrivaled selfishness, but college coaches like to think we are the supreme recruiting beings and found/signed/trained a great player all by our outstanding abilities alone.

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