October 29, 2012

Club Volleyball Team and College Volleyball Recruiting


I need some help deciding which club to play for. I'm a sophomore (2015) 5'9 OH. I'm a great passer/defensive player, and a better hitter every day (25in vertical).

I have two very different routes: expensive, traveling club ball or a regional club (plays in 1 or 2 qualifiers) that's much less expensive.

Other than the cost of the travel club team, it is a great fit for me. A great coach, travel time, and teammates from my high school team. The main problem is the cost...

The other option is a local club. It's much less expensive, with no travel time to practice. The problems with it include less than stellar coaches, less competitive teams and tournaments, etc.

With club, what's the most important aspect as a sophomore? Touching the ball and getting better, or recruiting exposure?

I ask because I'd love to play in college.  But  I'm short for an OH (below 6 ft that is), so top and maybe mid-level DI's are out for me. So maybe a lower DI/DII or below is reachable?

Am I correct in saying that most coaches who attend national qualifiers are big DI/DII coaches? And are coaches at qualifiers looking at sophomores?  I don't want to waste time/money at a big club if I should just focus on getting better for my junior year.

Any help you could offer would be deeply appreciated! M.N.

Because of your age and physical characteristics, I would concentrate on skill development now.  Even with a good jump, a 5'9" ish OH is not going to garner a bunch of attention from collegiate coaches as a 16 year old player, no matter the criteria of the Club team.   

In general, a number of coaches will mark you for their database, with a note saying to keep an eye on you to see if you grow (late bloomer physically), or if they have an OH2 position open up where they could take a ball control, shorter hitter.  NCAA Division I coaches are looking at 8th graders!  So, yes, they are looking at Sophomores.  But, looking is different than recruiting.

Better to focus on skill development, so when coaches do see you, they see excellent skill sets.  The reality is, the shorter you are, the better you must be.  

As you indicated that low DI/DII programs may be the best fit, these categories of programs tend to recruit later in the cycle than the crazy D1's.  You will garner better attention, later in the process, by making your skills as sharp as possible now.  Remember that a number of lower DI's (only lower in conference affiliation) would be interested in a well rounded and athletic 5'9" ish OH later in the recruiting cycle because last minute recruiting needs pop up with DI. 

You should also keep in the back of your mind, that 5'9" with a great jump and excellent ball control is right at the cusp of mid level DI OH2.  It can come down to the preferences of each program; talent now over ability later.  Does the coach want someone who can help the first day of practice, or do they want someone which will be an impact player their junior year?  In addition, the needs/importance of recruiting change based upon the immediate situation within the collegiate program.  Injuries, academics, personality issues can all add up to a mid-level DI suddenly determining it really needs a ball control OH, who is just tall enough to not be a negative on blocking.

With all these nitty gritty little details, focus on which club will empower your skill development.  It is my opinion that you become a better volleyball player because of practice, not because of games. With rally score, players tend to stay within their safe zone of skill sets.  Pick the club based on which club team has the better training and better training coaches. 

With your parameters, I would suggest the 17's year would be the zone for 'serious' recruiting, and this zone can easily move into your 18's year.  And, that is OK - With your parameters, I think the longer you wait and the more you work the recruiting process, the better your options will be.

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

1 comment:

  1. Great question by MN, awesome advice by the coach. Thank you for focusing on skill developments. Sometimes parents and players get carried away by the ego stroking and sales pitches make by the big clubs.

    So appreciate your time and honest advice. You are amazing Coach.


Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.