November 23, 2011

NCAA Volleyball - Division III Question


My high school senior daughter has been playing volleyball for 8 or 9 years. She does not have high level talent, but she is good enough to play in a DIII school. However, she wants to choose her school based on academics first and has a list of 11 D-III schools. She is a strong student, especially reflected by a 30 ACT and high SAT Math (730).

The high school season just ended for her team, and club tryouts are coming up in a couple of weeks, so we have a little window when things aren't so busy, so I'm just getting some energy to deal with this goal she has to play volleyball in college after moving across the country with my her in August of 2011. I just talked with another mom who hired a private college counselor two years ago and is having a video professionally made of her daughter and who began talking with D-III coaches over one year ago. YIKES! I feel like we are behind the curve here and in order not to make any more mess of this, I am seeking your advice.

Ari was getting emails from one of the D-III coaches and did not discover this (she was canoeing in the deep wilderness all summer) until one week before we moved away from that city. She just got another email from the assistant coach last week and that coach asked her for some more information about her test scores, etc.

My feeling is that we have some catching up to do in order to maximize her opportunities. Her best positions are Setter, RH, OH (in that order). I am proposing to her that we might do some basic things, but she is getting stressed out by all the school homework, college visits, application work, etc. and I don't know whether she is capable of taking me seriously. I really do not understand this athletic world, but I'm highly intelligent, an excellent researcher and writer and I am very capable of helping her with the development of a plan and coaching her as she puts that plan into play.

Three of these eleven D-III schools are reach schools for her and her favorite school is a lower reach / upper target school, so putting her best foot forward will be essential, imo.

BUT, I am hoping to get a reality check from you. Is my plan credible? Is it sound? Is it too much? Not enough? So tell me if this plan sound appropriate for our D-III self-recruitment plan for this October Senior Year start.

1. Create a "resume" of her academic, VB and extracurricular background with a photo and contact info.

2. Provide a YouTube Video link to one of her high school team games. (or send a DVD of same)
3. Send emails to each coach (at the eleven schools) and follow up with a phone call.
4. Visit the schools and try to meet with the coach.

Thanks for any advice you have. G.B.

I think you are on the right path and I would not stress about being "behind".  DIII is a different animal from DI/DII, with possibly the biggest difference being the necessary timing of application material to schools (many DII schools mandate a very early application/commitment process, when compared to DI/DII) - With my DI school, I have actually gotten players into school after classes have started!

As to your plan:

1.  Make sure you put in her physical stats with touch reach, block jump and attack jump.

2.  Try to make a skills video as opposed to just loading up a match video.  For College coaches, match video is the worst because it takes a very long time to see what we need to see as to evaluate players.  If you can get into the high school gym, taking video for a skills tape will not take more than 45 minutes; just make sure to capture enough of each of her skill groups (and please do not film serving, unless she has a unreal jump serve) so you can cut/edit the tape before loading.  Do the youtube route before sending out a DVD; much easier for a college coach to get the email and click the link.

3.  As this is the end of the crazy season for college coaches, I would send a couple of emails out before following up with a call.  Give the college coach time to digest the information and video which you send them.

4.  Only visit schools which have expressed an interest in your VolleyPSA.  No need to waste money/time if a school has not responded or seemed uninterested during your phone call.

My other suggestion would be to consider making the list of 11, a list of 25 and be inclusive of NCAA DII school based upon their academic rating.  Better to have too much interest than not enough. 

I will close with saying that be consistent with the communication efforts because there may be instances where the DIII (and hopefully DII) coach is not in the office over the Holidays, or has moved into coaching another sport (common in DIII), etc.   Stay focused on communicating and reaching out to potential schools, while being patient (the toughest part).

Good luck!


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