November 16, 2011

Club Volleyball Recruiting Questions

Dear Coach,

The information you provide keeps me sane!  I have an almost 17 year old, 6' 4" middle hitter, who has played club for two seasons and is entering her 3rd season soon.  She has been bombarded with emails after September 1st and we are working through the recruiting process. 

During this past summer, our club director/head coach and assistant coach were fired.  Before the firing it was understood that my daughter would be on the top level 18's team.  Our club has two 18's teams.  Now, entering into this next club season we are being told that she will be on the top level 17's team.  We are concerned that being placed on this team will hurt her in the recruiting process during her junior year. 

Is the new club director  using her as a "draw" for the other 17's players?  The club has an excellent 2012 graduating senior class, but the 2013  junior class is not nearly as skilled as the 2012 class (probably because this class worked under the previous director, who was excellent).  

We were looking forward to her being pushed and challenged on the 18-1's team.  The year of experience she would have gained, from the older and experienced players, would have really elevated her skill level.  Now she will be with the same group she has 'grown up with" with no growth expected.  Will being on the 17-1's team hurt her future?  Do college coaches judge players on the teams they are placed on in club? 

Things were going so smoothly and now we feel nervous.

Thank you for your time.  We appreciate all your help. 

Sincerely, Mom of PSA

Please allow me to make a few comments on your situation:

1) 6'4" - enough said.  (and every VolleyParent of a good Libero is now going for a long walk around the neighborhood!)

2)  I think playing up is actually over rated for two reasons - A number of tournaments will combine the 18 and 17 age groups in play, so younger players can play against older players.  Also, when you play up, you can limit your leadership development and I have seen it happen enough that I know it is real.  Much better to develop leadership when you are among your peers as the better/best player, than try to do this among older kids.  Leadership is a huge deal to college coaches and we value it when we can see it on the court.

3) Bombarded with emails - This means you are on in the databases and coaches will now tend to focus on her, not her situation on a team.  If she is not near her peak in development, then she will continue to improve no matter her age group. 

4)  Being on the 17's team won't hurt her recruiting process at all, and if anything, it will help because college coaches have become so fixated on the younger players/teams, they can often pass over the older teams which may have a younger player.  

5)  It sounds like the new director is just 'balancing' the ages, as the 18's are stacked - Also, there may be some political/parental pressure from an 18's VolleyFamily who may not be enjoying the recruiting response afforded your daughter. It is hard to get recruited if you are on the bench, and if your daughter plays her age, then another 18 year old who is trying to get some recruiting love can be seen.

All and all, I think this is no big deal, and since she has established herself into the recruiting databases of college teams, she just needs to focus on skill and leadership development and not worry about anything else right now!

Hope that helped.


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