My daughter is currently in 8th grade and has been playing volleyball since she was 9 years old. She aspires to play in college and even dreams of representing the USA as an Olympic team member. She attends a small private school that does not have any sports programs, so until she starts high school next year, she will have been able to play only during club seasons. She takes private lessons pretty much year-round and has also been working weekly with a CrossFit trainer who specializes in volleyball-relevant skills (vertical, speed, agility, injury prevention for knees and shoulders). She has played up since she was 10 and was a six rotation starter on her 14s team last year. She loves the game and wants to take advantage of every opportunity to play, learn, and develop that is available to her. Beginning two years ago, she began participating in the USAV HP program. She tried out for the first time in the Spring of 2010 and was invited to (and attended) the Future Select A3 camp that summer. After last Spring's tryout, she was invited to (and attended) the Future Select A2 camp. Last month, she received an invitation to the Select Holiday Camp in December.
I gather from reading earlier posts that you might not be a big fan of the USAV HP program, and am curious what your opinion is of the Holiday Camp option. I have read that seeing Holiday Camp on a PSA's resume is meaningful to college coaches. Do you agree with this? We realize that the odds of any individual ending up playing in the Olympics are vanishingly small, but so far (and we all realize that there is still a long road ahead and anything can happen) our daughter's development, both physical and volleyball related have supported her aspirations. In your opinion, is there any advantage to investing the family resources (time, effort, etc.) in her participation in the USAV HP program in general and the Holiday Camp in particular?
Thanks in advance for your input. Thanks also for your wonderful book -- we will use it as our blueprint as she begins the college recruiting process next year!
A volleyball mom
I was actually stunned that USA Volleyball would have the gumption/gall to promote a Select Holiday Camp! They are as bad as us college volleyball coaches with camps and demands upon volleyball players! As I know it, the Holidays are about the only down time left to high school players because of the ever expanding club schedule and high school summer commitments.
I can only speak for myself and a handful of coaches, within the DI and DII ranks, but the Select Holiday Camp would have exactly zero positivity for college coaches. We are decompressing after our season and getting ready to hit the road in January to begin on the never ending recruiting classes. Being selected for anything does not hold value because we want to see athletes with our eyes and it is only our eyes which will determine our interest in Prospective Student Athletes. By the time a SA has made or been selected to any High Performance anything, we will have seen them play in person or shortly will 'discover' them during the course of the club schedule.
The National team, like college coaches, is interested in talent. If your daughter never did anything at all with USA Volleyball, club or Select HP anything, and she was one of the top players in the country, then she would be on the USA Volleyball Women's Roster. The irony is the current development of the USA players, on the highest level is done via the international professional leagues, not USA systems. Top college players are accepting pro contracts, then coming into the USA system for the top team in international competitions.
Recognizing that your daughter does not have a school league to get her volleyball touches during the fall, I would only consider the Holiday Select Team/Camp if you believe she needs to increase her short term ability before the start of the heavier club volleyball season; which, I honestly cannot see because your daughter has been in private lessons/physical training and is only in 8th grade.
Another consideration, if you have the time/resources, is if she enjoys these types of camps because of the style of training or positive affirmation of her long term goals, then extra touches on the ball are a good thing provided they are provided a positive environment.
Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and I hope it helps!