May 31, 2012

Walk on?

HI Coach,
I have 2 questions as my daughter is approaching her Sr. year & we wanting backup plans if the right offer doesn't come along.
My 1st question is about redshirting.  My daughter has had a well known D-1 school watching her the past few years, she is currently finishing up her Jr. year.   We have spoken directly to the head coach who has told us that they are interested, however, she is a setter & they are technically not needing a setter her graduation year, but if they felt she'd make their program better, they would recruit a setter out of year.   Recently they added a walk-on as well as a signed setter for the year ahead of her.  They have come back & told us they would likely not recruit a setter her year.  So I'm wondering if this school is a good fit for her, redshirting seems like a reasonable option on our end.  Is this something we could bring up to the coach.   We would be able to pay for her first year if she had the opportunity to earn a scholarship.  She has 2 other D-1 schools which also are not recruiting a setter for her year, but seem to be interested in her walking on.  How should we approach these schools. Obviously we'd like to get an offer, but are open minded to walking on.
2nd Question is about attending summer camps.   Again, looking at walking on if necessary.   We are wanting to send our daughter to summer camps at schools where we think not only volleyball, but the school will be a good fit for her for 4 years.  Where she can enjoy the experience of being a college student & a college athlete.   I know you've mentioned you feel like college camps can be expensive, etc. but we feel it would give her a good idea of what the coach & campus are like & would give the coach the opportunity to further evaluate her to see if she is a realistic walk-on for their program & can possibly have a future there.   If the coach does not see her as a fit, it seems we can just cross that school off her list & try to continue narrowing her choices down with limited time available because she will be a senior in the fall.   Our 1st choice would be to get a scholarship at a school which is a good fit, 2nd choice would be to have her walk-on & earn her way knowing we would pay for it, but that the overall school was a good fit.   Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.  U.A.

So, you must have a college savings account which is well funded?

In reading your information, I am reading that your daughter will be a  walk on for at least 3 years, if not her entire career at the schools she is looking at, especially your first DI listed.  

The DI coach has basically said we are not recruiting your daughter.  Even if the school is a good fit, there is a scholarship setter and walk on setter in the year ahead of her, so the odds of her even making the team (if she was allowed to walk on) is thin - Coaches are not going to carry 4 setters (believing there is 2 setters on $ and 1 walk on).

Before you use camps as a vehicle for a walk on opportunity, I would step back and take a evaluation break.  A few points I want you to consider:

1. What are the current collegiate academic and athletic desires of your PSA? Everyone needs to get together for some conversation;  she needs to clarify her academic goals/interests, volleyball desires, geographic location, type of campus, competition preference, need to play versus just practice, etc.  

2.  I suggest you are focusing just on DI and not only just DI, but allowing yourselves to be accepting of a no promises walk on position (hopefully) - All things being equal, that is an awfully low bar to set.

3.  Time....there is still a lot of time left on the recruiting clock, especially for setters.  To accept a walk on position, at this time, is not the best choice UNLESS it is the PERFECT school and you can afford full cost of attendance.  The next club season will bring new opportunities just because of injuries, transfers, quitting, etc.

4.  Re-start, or re-energize the outreach process and expand the category and geography.  Too often VolleyPSA's get locked into ONLY DI and ONLY a certain geographic area.  Your PSA can always say NO to a school after interacting and in fact, you want her to say NO many times because she only wants to say YES once.

I know this response was probably not what you were expecting, but I strongly encourage you to keep reaching out to potential schools, open up the parameters of your contact, open up the possibilities in your PSA's mind and don't get in too deep with the walk on opportunities unless it is the perfect place for your PSA.


Thank you, actually it was probably just what I needed to hear.   Your response makes alot of sense & she does have time so we will follow your advice take a step back, re-evalute  & see what the next high school & club season brings.  Thank you so much for your time & help, it is great to get an educated unbiased perspective on things.  Much appreciated!!

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