This is an updated post from a few year's ago, focusing on the preparation for the Recruiting Season. College Volleyball coaches usually put their recruiting efforts into a slow motion period over the Holidays because of the hangover from their completed playing season, and the NCAA Quiet/Dead periods. But, come January, the Recruiting rpm's start to crank up.
In my never ending efforts to empower VolleyFamilies, please read, recite and memorize the information/suggestions/mantras below.
The NCAA Division I Volleyball Quiet Period will come to a close on Friday the 13th of January. On the 14th of January, the Contact/Evaluation Period will begin and NCAA Division I Volleyball coaches are allowed to leave campus to evaluate players and to have face to face contact with prospects (provided they are in their Senior year and not during the course of an event).
In general terms, the 2012 recruiting year begins on Saturday, takes a few days off for the Spring Signing Date (short Dead Period) and an approximate 1 month holiday in May (a Quiet Period), before heading into summer recruiting.
I hope you have taken the time to read the Recruiting Plan posts, or the updated Recruiting Plan which is published in my book, Inside College Volleyball, or joined NCSA Athletic Recruiting (which I believe is the best Volleyball Recruiting Network); all of which can provide a game plan to handle this craziness of recruiting.
In preparation for the 2012 Recruiting Season's first serve, here are some class by class reminders-tips.
Unsigned or Uncommitted Seniors - Now is the time of the year that college coaches will try to fill the open spots on their 2012 anticipated rosters. Some NCAA Division I upper level programs may have had a scholarship open up post-season (homesick, academics, unhappy about playing time, etc.), while many DI mid/lower level programs may not have committed their available scholarships last spring/summer.
It is important that you are focused and prepared to move forward with your recruiting efforts. Now is not the time to sit back and wait for things to happen. One of the biggest changes I have seen in the last 5 years of Volleyball recruiting is the increase of talented PSA's, while there has been no increase in collegiate scholarships or roster spots; this has created a hyper competitive environment for VolleyFamilies.
* Make sure you have a recruiting flyer available at the tournaments (the coach's hospitality room, available tables at the event or to directly hand to college coaches). This flyer should list your pertinent information quickly - Name, graduation year, position played, club team, e-mail and phone number, along with height, weight, approach touch, block touch, uniform number, GPA/test scores and if possible, make sure your picture is also on the flyer.
* Your club needs to be up to speed about where you are in the recruiting process, so the Recruiting Coordinator/Coach can communicate effectively with college coaches which may ask about you. This club contact person should be aware of your academic interests, size of school you want, willingness to travel, desired NCAA division, etc. Almost all college coaches work through the club coach/director to obtain initial information about PSA's at a tournament they are attending.
* Be prepared and available to visit with colleges coaches on-site after the tournament has come to a conclusion. Again, your club coach/director needs to be aware that you are available after the tournament to visit and help arrange or discourage (if you don't want to visit with a certain school for whatever reason) meetings.
* Make sure you are focused, rested and ready to have a great tournament every weekend. If playing college volleyball is what you want, then this must take priority. Eat correctly, drink plenty of water before the event, get good sleep the night before and stay focused on volleyball during the tournament.
Uncommitted Juniors - Don't Panic!!!!! Okay, now that we have that out of the way, we can move forward with recruiting. Seriously, there is plenty of time left in the 2012 recruiting cycle. I know that Mary from Club Super Duper committed before she could even take her driving test and Nancy from Team Neoprene has 3 offers from the greatest schools ever and you are 50 times better, but this is not the all encompassing situation. A suprising number of NCAA DI (not too mention a ton of DII and DIII teams) programs are still active in the evaluations of PSA's in the Junior class, and as such, will begin to extend scholarship offers in the coming months.
1. If you are entering the game of recruiting this year (1st year in club volleyball), then you would do well to have a recruiting flyer as illustrated above. As mentioned above, the recruiting parameters have become very competitive, so it is important to have video ready to send out to interested coaches (even though they may have filmed you) or be completely up to speed with a Recruiting Service which can instantly get all your information out to potential programs.
2. Your club coach should be aware of your desires academically, type and location of school, along with what level you hope to compete at. Again, colleges coaches will make inquiries about you via the club coach.
3. DO NOT try to conquer the volleyball recruiting world of 17's club in one tournament. If you play your absolute best ever - good for you. If you play your absolute worst ever - it is not as bad as you think.
4. DO NOT be aware of who is watching or not watching you (and that means your parents also) - Just play good volleyball. It can be exciting for families when they see a bunch of coaches around a court, but the reality is most of these coaches are not really pursuing the players on the court; good match to watch, they are talking to another coach, they are letting court traffic pass by while they figure out where to walk to next, etc.
Sophomores - With the acceleration of the recruiting timeline by college coaches and paniky VolleyFamilies, the sophomore year has come more into play. We must recognize and manage this year of club more than in the past.
1. Some PSA's are physically and skill wise very developed at this age, and if tall enough, these players can garner tremendous attention and multiple offers by the start of the club season. If your VolleyPSA happens to be one of these players, the parents must be up to speed with the protocols/processes, as to guide thier 16 year old (or younger) daughter with this tremendously important decision. Always error on the side of going slower, not faster.
2. If you are a PSA who is getting offers, DO NOT acquise to the pressure and make a premature decision. Go through the process of calling the coach to chat, to arranging an unofficial visit, to seeing practice, to watching spring season matches. With all the changes which occure now with coaches, conferences and funding, what you see now can easily be completely different when you (possibly) arrive as an incoming freshman.
3. If you are a PSA who does not have offers, DO NOT freak out. It is still very early in the process, and as referenced above, with all the craziness in college athletics, it may be the best thing to have your collegiate options present themselves later in the recruiting process.
4. Most important, concentrate on getting better in volleyball, because the 16's year is still the separation year for skill and physical volleyball development. Talent will create opportunities.
5. As you receive Letters of Introduction and Questionairres, respond to them, file them in the appropriate place (file cabinet, trash can, etc) and enjoy the process as best as you can.
The only thing I am going to say to the 2015 class is that if you see college coaches scouting your court, immediately send Grandma (and grandma's are good at these things) over to the coaches to shoo them away.
Many VolleyFolks will disagree with me, but tough, I am right - These are still kids which should not be pressured/stressed/considering college when they are still trying to figure out high school! The 15's age group should be played on courts that are walled off from the upper age groups - Just play volleyball, you are a freshman in high school!
Upperclassmen need to be prepared to actively manage the recruiting process. Sophomores need to be aware but not anxious at all, and Freshman should just be having fun!