My first email to you was during K's 8th grade club season (U-14's). After reading and following your recruiting plan (and, buying the book) we're happy to report the NLI is signed, sealed and delivered!
The last two posters prompted me to email again. As K was one of the kids being contacted by recruiters early on (8th grade) we felt it would be beneficial to have a few "unofficial visits" earlier rather than later. This gave us the freedom later on to casually look at schools in each area the club was traveling to. Not only did it broaden the scope of what K wanted in a school….it also confirmed there were going to be MANY, many options around the country (anything to reduce stress thru the recruiting process is necessary).
After 14 unofficial visits...K said (within a couple hours of being on campus) "THIS is it. I'm done….I want to go to this school". To which I calmly retorted "ABSOLUTELY NOT. You're only 15 and it's CRAZY to commit this early"…………….three days later (we stayed for a long weekend) I said to my husband "really, what school would be a better fit for her??" Needless to say, she verbally committed later in the weekend. Being present w/ the coach and players made it a special moment we'll never forget as a family.
What I'm most proud about K's thought process is she was picking the best school for her---it was/is not a top 25 program (as a 6'1 oh/mh, K has been ranked top 100 in the country by Prepvolleyball.com, All American and rec'd offers in the top 30) however she does believe the coach and future teammates can help elevate the program. Ultimately, we have no regrets.
Playing up: if a player can play up AND be a starter then, I think there is a big payoff. However, having a 14 year (junior high) hang out w/ high school girls can be an entirely new set of concerns. Also, thinking ahead---if the core group of girls stick together for 3-5 years, she will be the last man standing.
Does the club always have the best interest w/ your daughter? 5 years ago…I'd say yes! Now, I'd say…it's a business and everyone needs to treat it that way. Listen to your daughter….get unbiased feedback. If you have a 5'11+ 14 year old…often the club will put her in the MB position. If so, make certain she'll have defensive training or she could become pigeonholed.
Most important advise I gained from this site: Have FUN and relax.
My advise: Don't become a crazy parent---they really do get in the way of their dd's recruiting (very sad). Let the coaches coach and parents parent…Your daughter needs to learn how to communicate her thoughts to the coach, and coaches will respect this so much more than coming from you. As soon as I learned to say "wow, that was so fun watching you and your team play!" every car ride home was forever changed.
I have 7 months of club volleyball ahead of me and will soak up every second. Time really does fly by!
~A BIG fan
I meant to add:
K never attended one HP camp or any other USA feeder camp. She was still recruited. We saved money and had incredible family vacations together.
VolletFamilies, I wanted to share this email because this specific VolleyFamily has just completed the recruiting process (but has not yet begun the transition process which is becoming more stressful than every).
Even though "K" may not have been a typical Prospective Student Athlete, having been contacted so early, blessed with skill sets to garner national recognition and committing on the early side, they provide some relevant feedback which can help all VolleyFamilies.
A few key items I wish to emphasize:
1. If your VolleyPSA is being hounded, I mean recruited early, it can be beneficial to take unofficial visits early as to reduce stress later.
2. They also tried to combine Club travel with unofficial visits to reduce costs.
3. They took a bunch of visits and when K knew, she knew and the perspective gained on so many visits allowed her to know.
4. Playing up can make sense when you PLAY. And recognizing the social development differences in the age groups is significant.
5. Interesting comment about the potential change in philosophy of Club Volleyball.
6. Fun, it still should be fun and an opportunity to spend quality time together.
7. While the USA Volleyball High Performance teams/camps may be great, this VolleyFamily decided not to go down this path.