July 9, 2012

College Volleyball Potential?

Hi Coach!

Let me just say that we purchased your book and my daughter is reading it and we are finding it a great help!  I have a question for you that may be somewhat difficult to answer, but here goes.  First of all, we are located in a VERY small rural town.  My daughter is a freshman 5'10" middle blocker who absolutely loves the sport and wants to play in college.  She had the highest number of kills and blocks on her high school team and also had the highest number of kills on her club team.  The question that I have is how do you know as a parent if your child has the talent to compete at the college level especially being from a small high school?  And what college division if any do we have a shot at from a realistic perspective.  Are there people out there that can evaluate her and give us some input on her potential?  Her coaches are great, but they do not seem very proactive in the recruiting process.  She is an amazing student and has over a 4.0 grade point average.  
Thank you for your time and for your devotion to this amazing sport! 

"Small town volleymom"

Thanks for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and glad you enjoyed it!  

The good news about your VolleyPSA's situation is you have time to figure all this out. To make a firm evaluation right now is not logical because as a freshman, she still has so much volleyball development ahead of her. 

As your daughter is developing her skill sets, it is important to compare.  Compare how she looks versus other older players, compare how she plays versus a big city club player when you see a bigger club at a tournament.  As she gets older and more developed, at a big tourney, go watch the same courts where the college coaches are hanging out recruiting and see what these players look like.  You have to take a look at what other players her age and her position look like; and not those players just in your back yard, but players out of region and out of state when you see them at tourneys.

One thing I will say, is that 5'10" will be short for a DI middle and a bit small for a DII middle; but could do well DIII or low NAIA.  Is she done growing, is she able to do all the footwork attack patterns of a middle and not just a high 2 in the middle, how is her block/attack jump, what is her hand position when she blocks?  All questions which college coaches will examine when they evaluate her. 

You need to let her develop her skill sets, and as she develops, then you start to compare her to others in her position.

As for club coaches, it is not their job to be active in the recruiting process - their job is to train and act as a positive reference during the process.  This is one of the 'myths' I explain during my NCSA Volleyball Recruiting Education Talks.

Your job is to be active; use technology to reach out to collegiate coaches as I have advised on this site and in my book.   You can overcome your small town/small club geography by using video and technology to generate interest in your daughter's ability, provided you are reaching out to the correct level; reaching out to the correct level is allowing your daughter to develop, and determining how she compares against other players.

Good luck and keep putting in the effort!

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

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