October 22, 2012

College Volleyball Recruiting - 3 Q's and 3 A's

Hi Coach,
I am a junior setter in high school right now and want to play volleyball at either a division 1 or 2 university. I am a starter on my high school team and play on a good club team. Unfortunatly I don't know where to start the recruiting process. Being a coach I was wondering if you could give me advice on how to get a coaches attention and what to send them. Also when I make my game tape I was wondering if the coach looks to see if the hitter hits the ball out or gets a kill or if the just pay attetiontion to my set? What are the top qualities a coach may look at in film tape? Is there any advice you could give me to create the best recruiting process I could?
Thanks for your time,
A student athlete

Quick Answers:

1.  Click the NCSA box on my site, to be able to access the free recruiting information which NCSA provides.  If you feel you need extra help/additional support, then I suggest you consider joining the paid service of NCSA because their job is to empower your recruiting success.

2. Read the Label "Recruiting Plan" on my site; use the Labels link on the lower right side.  In my book, Inside College Volleyball, I have an updated Recruiting Plan which can provide a framework for you to move forward.

3.  I have written a number of posts on Video tapes; you should use the Search Box on the site and search for Video's, which will pull up all the posts!

Use these three points to get the ball rolling on Recruiting.  It is not rocket science, you can't make a bad move right now, just get it started!

College coaches cannot recruit you if they don't know about you!  Reach out to them so they know about you and trust that your abilities will take you to the next level.
Coach Matt Sonnichsen

Just picked up your book and have enjoyed reading.  My question is regarding club volleyball.  Your book states the 16 year old club season is the critical year for the college volleyball recruiting process.  My daughter is a freshman in high school and gets significant playing time on her school varsity team.  Her goal is to try to pursue volleyball at the college level, more than likely at the lower D1 level or D2/NAIA level.  Having said this, would you recommend her continuing to play up in club which would put here in 16s this club season? My thought process here would have here play 2 years of club at the 16s age (this club season and next year).   Or would it be better to play her a second year in 15s this club and wait until next year to play in 16s with her age?

Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the read!

I suggest you focus on her skill development not the recruiting aspect of her playing up or not playing up to 16's this year.

If she moves up to 16's and sits on the bench, then it is better to stay at 15's and play.  What about the difference in the club coaches for each team?  Would she play her primary position on the 16's or be shifted into another position because a 16 year old has priority?

What she wants to be focusing on is becoming a better volleyball player as a freshman - If her skill sets will develop faster being on the 16's team, then move her up. If her skill sets will develop better on the 15's team, then she stays.

Lastly, what team is she most comfortable on?  Which team has better Karma, better attitudes, a better work effort, more supportive, etc?

16's is a prime year for recruiting, but so much is predicated by talent. Better to be playing on a 16's team with obvious talent, than playing up to a 16's team with marginal skills.  

The new model of recruiting is 4 years - The four years of high school age club volleyball is being actively recruited by all levels of collegiate volleyball.  VolleyFolks think power conference programs don't look at seniors, but then they see when a 18's player gets a scholarship to giant state u.

Focus on skill development, because talent creates recruiting opportunities.

Coach Sonnichsen

Hey Coach,
Hope you are well!  I have two unrelated questions for you:
1.  I am a senior DS/L.  I recently emailed my top choice school academically about the possibility of walking on.  They are midlevel D1, and since I already have an offer from a midlevel school and significant interest from another I felt that this was a realistic possibility.  The assistant coach emailed me back within a few hours and seemed very interested, saying that from my highlights video it looked like I had good footwork and ball control.  She also asked for me to complete their questionnaire, send my high school schedule, and send more unedited footage.  I emailed her back that next day, and she's never responded.  It's been about three weeks.  I'm very confused, because I felt like they were interested, and I don't understand why a coach would act interested if they really weren't.  I have been emailing about once a week since and was wondering if there was anything else I can do?  I'm really interested in this school and am planning to visit next weekend. 
2.  My second question is about game strategy.  My high school team has faced three teams this year that play the same kind of game.  They are teams full of 5'0" girls with average or below average volleyball skills and then one 6'0" middle.  This middle gets every set, single blocks the entire net, and has a killer jump serve.  We just can't seem to stop her.  I should mention that my team has four girls over 6'0", and overall, we are a more balanced and talented team than these teams with one standout player.  Can you give me any strategy advice?  We can never seem to block or dig these star hitters, and even though our hitters are always up against one blocker they can't put the ball down. 
Sorry for the long questions, and thanks so much for your help! A.B.

I am well; went surfing this morning, then swimming later next to a white sand beach!  I am in Hawaii on a working vacation.

And now I have two unrelated answers for you!

1.  Word play - Assistant coach, walk on, no response for one month, you are taking a visit??????  They are not recruiting you and no matter how busy they are, if you have been weekly emailing them with nada coming back your way, they have moved on and so should you.  

2.  Double block and triple block their player, with your back row players playing defense and not watching how great the other player is.  The block forces players to hit around it, so the defenders need to be where the blockers have left open lanes.  Too many blockers only focus on their zone, and not the hitter who is getting the set - Against this hitter, they should all be close enough in the middle to hold hands before they block.

Your hitters need to force the average to poor players on the other side of the net to play the ball; if they are bad, then they will make mistakes.  They can only make mistakes if your hitters pressure them with consistent tough hits.  They can't set their stud middle if the setter is 20 feet of the net.  Don't worry that your hitter are not getting kills, just encourage them to hit so the opponents can only make bad digs.

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

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