October 21, 2011

College Volleyball Recruiting Process in the Fall - Question from a PSA

Hello Coach,

Your website has been a breath of fresh air in this crazy time for my daughter and our family.  I will get right to my question.  My daughter is a 2013 graduate and as of September first has had quite a few letters of interest in her from across the country.  She is a setter and as I have been told they tend to be recruited a little different as they are only recruited every 2 years. 

Our emails have slowed down quite a bit in the last few weeks and wondered if this is normal during this time of the year for colleges?  We definitely do not want to make a hasty decision but don’t want to miss out on the offers we currently have. A lot of the schools are quite a distance away that want us to visit but seem to not want to make the commitment to her but want us to visit. 

What is your advice on all of this?  Just a side note is that most of the schools are D1 with a few D2 scattered in.  Didn’t know if they have different styles or agendas this time of year?

Thank you in advance for your help.  P.S. 

Glad you like the site and that is of help to your family.  As to your answers:

1.  Setters are recruited on a different timeline as the position is not needed annually and every coach in the country is concerned first with getting Outside Hitters.

2.  This time of the college season, we have finished out our non-conference tourneys and getting into conference play, so the stress and to-do list piles up quite a bit.  This results in the recruiting efforts/communications slowing down, especially for those programs which don't enjoy power conference level support.  Things will pick back up as November comes to a close, and coaches are getting ready to jump back into the Recruiting Rush after the New Year.

3.  It is a mental game between a bird in the hand versus the two in the bush, when it comes to scholarship offers.  Try to keep a dual focus; keep reaching out to new programs, along with communicating with current schools, but also take an honest evaluation of your daughter's comfort zone.  If she is happy with a school (academically, location, athletics, etc) and they have offered, and she is comfortable when she says "I commit", then this is something which must be acknowledged.

4.  Unofficial Visits are quite the financial burden for many families and an unfortunate part of this accelerated recruiting process.  Make sure you are 'filtering' the invites so the school is within your daughter's preferences.  For instance, make sure the school is clearly of her academic desires, is within a certain distance from home she may have expressed, has the Volleyball criteria she desires.  After you have made that 'cut list', then it is important to communicate with the college coaches to make sure this is not a 'meet and greet' but rather a 'recruiting trip'.  If you are not comfortable asking if an offer will be extended, you should absolutely ask where exactly on list your daughter stands in their setters.  If she is outside of the top 2, then I would not take the visit.  If she is within the top 2, then a visit would be recommended because the setting position is so paramount in its relationship with the coach, that the coach may wish to interact and observe the setter before extending an offer. I have actually cut setters after a campus visit I had thought I was going to offer.

5.  DII's many times will offer before the DI's just to get that offer on the table and in front of the family, but they are also willing to wait longer because they understand that DI's enjoy more 'popularity' and can be more attractive to a VolleyFamily.  As I referenced above, the College Volleyball season will take the focus away from intense recruiting this time of year for DI's and DII's.  The tough part for mid-major to low level DI's is trying to evaluate and select which athletes they want to offer because there are so many good Volleyball players today.  It is easy for Stanford or Penn State to determine who they will offer - the best kid in the gym.  But for the middle to lower bulk of the DI's, they are trying to figure out the subtle nuances of why Mary should be offered ahead of Sarah.

My suggestion is to keep working communication with current programs, keep reaching out to new/potential programs, and encourage your daughter to listen to that little voice in her head about offers on the table.  When she knows what school, she will know, and DO NOT let her commit unless she is 100% certain without any hesitation.

Good luck and hang in there!


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