November 30, 2011

Club Selection Anxiety!


I had a few other questions that the club tryouts brought to mind. First though I would like to thank you for your advice. The club my daughter tried out for had the option of putting down your first and second choice for positions. She followed your advice and put outside as her first choice and ds as her second. The club coach offered her a position on the national team after the first day.

We think this means a lot as the first day of tryouts was the first day he had ever seen her play. The coach also has been very nice, but persistent in trying to get us to choose his team. This brings me to my actual question. When she asked the coach what position she was being offered he said that he wasn’t sure. He went on to explain that she was a utility player and he knew that he wanted her on the team, but he wasn’t sure about the position that she would have.

She went on to ask him what he thought the outlook was for her playing time. The coach replied that with her skills and her hard working attitude he would be surprised if she didn’t play. He just said again that he wasn’t sure which position. My question is what does it really mean to be a utility player?

My daughter and I both understand the general meaning, but what does it mean to other coaches and college coaches when they hear that a player is considered by her club coach that she is a utility player? When she is writing emails and filling out questionnaire forms to send to college coaches does she put “utility player”?

Also on that note would it be better if she talks to the club coach and makes it clear that she has aspirations to play in college as a ds or just let the coach do his thing and she goes with the flow? And lastly this coach said that one of the biggest reasons he wanted her on the team was because he would know she could play any position so if his setter or hitter or libero was having a bad day she could step in. We weren’t sure if that meant that she would be on the bench unless someone else messes up or he was just saying that he could count on her. Hoping you can help clear the air on this one. 

I also have on more slightly random question which has to do with game tape. She was talking to a college coach in DC after taking your advice to broaden her college search and the coach suggested that she make a you tube account. We don’t have a skills type yet nor do we have a practice tape, but we have a load of game tape. Should we put all the game tape we have on you tube or should we only put the games where she played her best in? 

Thanks again for the advice and I hope you know how much we appreciate it, a no longer frazzled VolleyMom but a nervous one.

Sorry for the delayed reply - End of the season craziness got the better of me.

Utility player is just that - A person who has the skill sets to contribute in many different areas.  Back in the day, utility players were what every coach wanted because the matches were long and the sub totals were limited, with no libero, which demanded well rounded players who could do everything.  Rally score, the Libero and large substitution numbers pushed Volleyball towards specialization.

Let me translate "coach speak" for you:

1.  He wanted her on his team because she will make them better and gives him a talented player who can fill a variety of team needs.

2.  No coach in their right mind promises playing time or locks in a position because it is the recipe for team cohesiveness disasters.

3.  As she intends to be a DS in college, the more she can work on all her Volleyball skill sets the better it is for her future DS abilities.

4.  She should list herself as a DS in her contact information, but emphasize she so talented that she is playing anywhere the club team needs her.  The DS role in college, especially for the younger players, is to be a utility player especially in practice.  The college team might need her to set the second team because the back up setter sprained her ankle, or maybe she needs to play OH because the back up left side player got in trouble for breaking curfew.  As a young player, you just want to find a way to get on the court in any capacity on either side of the net to be seen.

5.  Of course you want to communicate with the club coach about her future collegiate playing goals, but that is just to make sure that when us CCC's (crazy college coaches) are chatting with the club coach, he knows your PSA is wanting to go to the next level.  Make sure you are clear you will play wherever he wants her, and you just want to communicate future goals.

6.  Don't over think the Utility designation - She just needs to work hard and make herself the best Volleyball player possible and if she is one of the best 6 at a given time, then she will be on the court and if she has all around talent this gives her more opportunity!

7.  Youtube accounts are great because us CCC's know we can watch the video - If you can create a skills or practice tape, then you should do that.  In the meantime, just load up her best couple of games; only show her playing her best.  Also, don't load 10 games, coaches will probably just watch one or maybe two.  Remember that video is just the bait to entice us to come watch her in person.

In closing, encourage her to work on her total skill sets, to play anywhere they put her, to keep reaching out to potential schools and to be patient.  DS's are usually the last position committed, all things considered, so they must be the most patient, yet hard working.


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