February 23, 2012

Outside Hitter and College Volleyball Recruiting

I had to answer a quick question for Dawn, which she asked me last night on my recruiting webinar about NCAA Division III off campus contact.......DIII programs may not have off campus contact until the end of the PSA's Junior year of high school.  So, Dawn, I hope that helped!


My daughter is a junior in high school and plays club volleyball.  She is a 6'2" outside and has never played anything other than outside.  She struggles with back row because no coach has ever let her play it - she has always had a DS play back row for her.  She has had many letters and emails from college coaches but is not that close to being recruited.  She has weekly emails with about 10 coaches - mainly D1 and high academic D3 programs.  

She is known in club and high school as being the hardest hitter her coaches have every had.  She is a great hitter but her court sense is not the best - I think from not playing back row.  This is not to say that she is terrible...just a little slow to react sometimes.  She works out with a personal trainer to help with her speed and agility.  

Now the problem....she got moved to right side this year in club.  She is no where near as good as a right as she is an outside.  My concern is that we feel we have laid a foundation for the last few years for her to play outside in college.  The college coaches that have contacted her (probably 45 total in the last year) have all looked at her for an outside spot.  

How will playing right in club impact her college recruiting chances?  Obviously this is a huge recruiting year and she will be playing open in big tournaments and qualifiers this year so should be seen.  She just got a camp invitation that limits the number of players that can attend (8 outsides, 8 middles, 4 right sides, etc.).  How do we handle something like that? S.W.

My comments, based upon your email information:

1. She needs to use camps and individual lessons to develop her back row, as this is something which can only enhance her recruiting 'value'.  Also, don't forget what she gets every week; club volleyball practices.  If she is not getting passing repetitions in practice, then she needs to ask the coach to be put in passing drills. As you are already paying for this court time, she should maximize it - Every touch can make a player better.

2.  Your PSA is enjoying a positive number of weekly emails, but I think you need to reach out to many, many more emails.  She is a 6'2" hard hitting OH, so I would like to see her interacting with 50+ schools per week which is only accomplished by reaching out to them with information and video.

3.  I am NOT surprised by the coach moving her to right side, as a tall strong right side who can bang is a positive situation, especially if she is coming out back row (not a traditional passing left side OH).  

4.  An Outside Hitter will always have a better attack side, so it is normal that she would be better on Left than on Right.  But, the positive is she can raise her RS ability, but I do agree she needs to keep up her LS skill sets which may need to be done with private lessons or camps.

5.  Coaches are always looking at trying to figure out the Rubik's Cube of hitter combinations, even in college.  We think if we move this hitter there, and this hitter here, then maybe we can side out better.  

6.  It will create a bit of question in college coach's minds with her moving to the RS, but not a huge question - College Coaches understand that sometimes the club teams need to switch positions around on their roster and we just evaluate what we need to.

7. I don't think her going RS will negatively impact her recruiting.  At my last job, we committed a Left Side player, who then immediately got moved to RS for whatever reason - She wanted to be LS, and we recruited her to be a LS on our team, so she just did her best as a RS and we knew she would work best for us as a LS.  

8.  The key is just to make she she keeps up her LS attack reps in practice, so when she has the opportunity to attack on the left side in matches, she is successful.  The same can be said about OH's who play left side; they need to keep up their right side attack reps in practice so they can be successful in matches.

9.  There is a of time in this recruiting season and with the big tourneys coming up, and along with her height and power, she will have a number of newly interested schools - I strongly suggest you 'prime the well' by getting information out a bunch of schools.  If you don't have the time/resources/technology to reach out to 200 schools, then you may consider looking at a Recruiting service (of course, I recommend NCSA Athletic Recruiting).

10.  I am not a big fan of college camps, as too many of them use the lure of recruiting/scholarship to bump up their camp numbers/profit.  Even with this limited camp, the school probably raises the price of the camp.  Again, not a big fan - For the cost, she would do better to use that money to take Unofficial Visits or private training with someone outside of her club (just for something different than the club techniques).  

The best thing to do is encourage your daughter to stay positive, work on improving her skill sets (in all skills - passing, defense, blocking, all attack zones, etc), keep reaching out to potential schools and making contacts, and here is the toughest part -  Stay patiently positive.

My new tag line for all VolleyFamilies managing the recruiting process - Patiently Positive.

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