January 2, 2012

VolleyFamily Commitment Feedback

Some pertinent feedback from VolleyFamilies which have gone through the College Volleyball recruiting process which so many readers are managing right now!

Hi Coach,

I don't have a question, but a comment. My daughter is a freshman playing college volleyball. I just had something to add that may benefit others.

My daughter was one of those late-bloomers and so in her junior year started getting recruited. Until then, we hadn't even pursued college volleyball, until she started getting pursued. Then, realizing she had college potential, we went to work. Navigating the recruiting process truly does become a part-time job for a parent and child. It involves a lot of research and communication. There are those top players who will be "found," but I'd say the huge majority will not be found unless you get her name out there. Too many parents of great players sit back and wait for the coaches to call, while the parents of less talented players actively pursue (and often get) scholarships. Don't underestimate how much this part-time job of marketing your daughter can pay off!

But the reason I'm writing and my major advice is this. While it is very important to have a lot of respect for the coaching staff, PLEASE do not make the mistake we did and pick a school "because she LOVES the coach." There were definitely better schools for our daughter, but she formed a really close bond with the assistant coach (who would be her hitting coach) and said there was no one else she would play for. MANY volleyball friends/coaches/etc commented that she was basing her choice too much on one person and cautioned her that coaches leave, especially assistant coaches. Since her coach was new to the program, he informed us he had no plans of leaving anytime soon. So she turned down offers to better programs and schools that were a better fit to play for one coach.

A month before she started school, the coach left the school. It was something that no one could have predicted. A last minute opportunity came up for him to coach at a top school in his hometown, and he made the decision knowing it would make his wife and children very happy. He was devastated to tell us the news, and my dd was devastated to hear it. She had already signed her NLI and so went to the school where she committed. It hasn't been a bad experience, but certainly not as good as the experience she may have had if she had picked a school for the right reasons, and not based almost solely on the coach.

So please caution the many recruits who read your site about this...COACHES DO LEAVE!!! And make sure they would still commit to the school if their favorite coach left.

Thanks so much for all your info -- I only found your site recently but love hearing your thoughts on the game. M.R.

Hey coach

You were a helpful resource when we went through recruiting a few years back and you spoke highly of D2 programs. Our oldest DD was a top 50 recruit who played in a power conference a few years earlier. I wanted to let you know that DD #2 is having such a positive experience in D2 ball. It is truly 'just right" for her. Quality competition at a level she can contribute, quality coaches who demand hard work & excellence, but also respect the players as people (and not just "cogs" in the wheel of the coach's own success), "big picture" teammates who build each other up & don't focus on "your playing time is taking away from my playing time", program emphasis on academics & keeping up with homework, supportive administration (saw the AD helping take down the net after a big NCAA win at home) and great support from the student body. From a 9th grader who could not see herself playing college ball (this while watching the presure & stress of her her sister's D1 life), DD #2 now cannot imagine NOT experiencing college as an athlete.

I remember your advice 4 years ago as we attempted to sort things out in recruiting. Like many parents, I suppose, I have kept track of the other programs on her list that she said "no" to, and am truly thankful that she is exactly where she is. Just want to say "thanks" for your part in that.

Happy VB parent

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