November 2, 2011

Club Team Selection and Recruiting


To start with, we live in Utah where we had an extremely tough time in the recruiting process with my son in football. Other than the local schools, Utah is not recruited much and it ended up costing a small fortune traveling all over the west coast so coaches could meet him personally.

With that said, my daughter who is now 13 years old and has been playing volleyball at the power level in the 16yr old class and probably has more potential than my son had. This summer while still in Jr High she tried out for the High School traveling team to play in summer tournaments. She not only made the team, she started as Lt and Rt outside hitter, also rotated at setter. She has a real gift and an unbelievable desire to play at the college level. She’s an honor student and works real hard to be the best.

I don’t want her to have to go through the same issues that my son had to go through, where the coaches would not give the attention because the kid doesn’t play in Texas, California, etc. The biggest problem we faced was no matter how good my son was, the coaches had local players that they had been watching for years and wouldn’t give a kid from Utah more than a brief glance. Funny part is, when they found out he was from California and was a Utah transplant everything changed.

My questions are:

What is the best way to let programs see her and too get her on their radar early?
She wants to move back to California because she saw how horrible it was for her brother. We will not be doing that. Will major D-1 programs recruit outside of the major metro areas?

How can we overcome the lack of recruiting in this area? We have no club or High School help here like the Cal Clubs offer.

Thanks, J.W.

Thank you for your email - I am returning from a way too long play and recruit trip, so it will take me a few days before I can get you a complete answer!
Quick, quick, quick answer is that Utah enjoys high level Volleyball in Club and many college coaches will recruit these club teams aggressively.
Thanks coach, take as much time as you need. If I may ad another question to the mix.
The club my daughter played on last year folded their doors. Now we have about a half dozen or so clubs emailing wanting her on their team. They range from 14 to 18 yr old teams.
My question is, what is the best situation? Is it better to play up for the speed of the game? Is it better to play at age? What is your advice?
We're at a loss and have no idea, its all getting very confusing.
Do you have any knowledge of the clubs in Utah? If so, is there a club that you may recommend with good coaching?
Thanks again,
Sorry about the late reply.  Let me jump into your questions:

1.  Club Volleyball is the avenue for College Volleyball coaches to find talented PSAs.  Utah has a good reputation for youth Volleyball (versus a Mississippi, for example), so college coaches will be aware of exploring the state or going to see Utah teams in Junior Club tournaments.  Just make sure your PSA's club team plays in more than small regional tourneys; they should be trying to get to the larger club tournaments and a few National Qualifiers.

2.  College Coaches are everywhere and I mean everywhere.  With the influx money into the power conference programs, these fortunate Volleyball programs enjoy almost unlimited recruiting budgets and will travel nationally to see kids, which means the rest of us are trying to keep up with the Jones and results in me going to more Club events (vicious cycle!!!).  I am always amazed to see significant out of state and cross country programs routinely recruiting within my region; this is a huge change from 5-10 years ago.  College coaches will travel near and far to find talent and if you review the rosters of the elite programs, you will see they are composed of players who are no where near the zip code of the school.
3.  After you pick your club, be very aggressive about reaching out to potential schools (freshman club season and after, but not before).  Also, you may wish to consider a recruiting service which can help you overcome some of the challenges you are facing.

Lastly, I would not get too stressed about the Volleyball version of recruiting, as it is a different beast than football.  Your VolleyPSA is young, and seems to have the talent to play above her age range.  
The recruiting process for Volleyball can almost be looked at as a two part process - Sophomore year and Senior year.  The Sophomore year is when the elite level kids being recruited by the elite level programs grab every one's attention and so many VolleyFamilies get a bit freaked out by this.  They are not used to having top 10 programs floating around the courts for PSA's which don't have their driver's licence and then they hear about so and so committing to Giant State University, which makes them panic.

The Senior year (late Junior spring semester into the summer) is the more realistic part of the process where the majority of DI players will commit and lock up their collegiate future.  Still plenty of scholarship opportunities with name brand DI schools.  This is the crazy time for parents, as they are in panic mode but trust me, still lots of openings are there.

Right now, just focus on your daughter having fun, getting better and picking a Club Volleyball team which provides quality coaching and has a good tournament schedule.  College coaches will find your PSA if she has talent and is going to bigger tourneys, no matter what state she calls home.  
Second email questions:
If she plays up, I would not let her go up more than one age bracket.  Better to stand out at or near your age, then just be average way above your age.  Also, there is something to be said for developing leadership ability among your peer age group.

The key is to choose a club based on the training, facilities and travel schedule.  Developing the talent of your daughter should be the focus and Volleyball is sport in which talent is dominantly developed during training, not competition.  Try and do some research about the training styles of the club, who would be coaching your daughter, is she/he a rookie coach or has experience to draw upon?

I would not be comfortable recommending any specific club, because as important as the club name/reputation may be, the actual coach coaching your daughter is 100 times more important.  Also, the travel schedule is important.   A club can be great just playing in a regional set up and not facing out of region talent. But, this does not help expose your daughter to out of region college coaches nor to learn from the divergent playing styles of other teams.

Good luck!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.