October 19, 2012

International Volleyball Recruiting Advice

Hi Coach, 

I just found your amazing site and I could not be happier. This is a great tool for all athletes look to play in the NCAA. My daughter is a sophomore in high school. She has been playing volleyball since the age of 10 with great success. She is playing both sand and indoor volleyball. This past summer, she represented Canada at the 19U World Championships in Cyprus. She is a member of the youth provincial and national beach volleyball team. Also, she was successful playing against Canadian senior women this past summer. Since she started playing indoor, she has played up two age groups. We are in process of contacting NCAA coaches. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to proceed about this. 

Thanks, L.M.

Congratulations on the success of your VolleyDaughter!  I would have two immediate suggestions:

1)  On my site, I have put together a year by year plan for high school age players; you just need to click the Label "Recruiting Plan".  I also have an updated version of the "Recruiting Plan" in my book, Inside College Volleyball.

2)  You may wish to consider NCSA Athletic Recruiting - I say this because you are outside of the USA college volleyball recruiting mainstream.  Similar to what I advise good players from Puerto Rico and Hawaii, you will have to use technology to bridge the distance.  

Some families are very comfortable with the intensive outreach necessary to bridge the distance, while other families find it a better use of time/money to use a recruiting service.  I know NCSA Athletic Recruiting is the best service available; also remember that NCSA provides a 'free site' which is plentiful the education it provides - Just click the NCSA box on collegevolleyballcoach.com, to access the NCSA free site.

Whether you do it in-house or utilize a service, video is your biggest exposure tool - Remember that college coaches would rather watch tv than read a book!  

When I speak to Club Volleyball teams and to VolleyFamilies at the larger tournaments in which NCSA partners (I have added the Far Westerns NQ this club season), I inform/remind them that one of the biggest changes in the recruiting landscape is the dramatic increase in good volleyball players.  

Volleyball participation continues to grow in the USA, and the southeastern United States has boomed in its support of high school and junior high school age volleyball - Just take a look at all the new club teams which are emerging from this region as proof.  The popularity of Volleyball in Canada, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and add Europe and South America VolleyFamilies creates an over-abundance of talent.  But, there are just a few colleges each year which add the sport of volleyball.  VolleyFamilies must work hard to get in front of college coaches and must separate themselves (in a positive way) to be noticed.  

5 or so years ago, if you were a 'good' player, the college coaches would find you with not too much effort on your part and you could find a nice place to play.  In today's climate, there are many, many 'good' players who are scrambling for walk on spots in DI or taking minimal DII scholarships because that is all which they could secure.  All too often, this is a result of VolleyFamilies still operating under the old model of supply and demand - The new model is that supply has exceeded demand.  

It is a competitive environment to secure the desired collegiate destination - Because of this environment, I encourage VolleyFamilies to use all the tools at their disposal and for parents to be active in the vetting of collegiate programs.

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

1 comment:

  1. L.M.

    My DD is a successful indoor 2013 recruit using many of the ideas on this website. A couple of observations and suggestions.

    IMO, Big State U coaches go mostly to showcase tournaments and to lesser degree key power leagues. I don't know how close you are to the boarder or where you are on the boarder, but playing in key events would be good for actual in-person evaluation. My observation is that coaches prefer to go 'shopping' at a large tournament and see many kids versus going somewhere to see one kid.

    As a Canadian, I believe that your DD will be prohibited from all USAV events - qualifiers and National Championship. I would focus on key AAU or JVA events for your team. If you are east of the Rockies, events in the Chicago area sponsored by Sports Performance have been a good draw for Canadian teams as well - Presidents Day (Feb) and NJC (May).

    Recognize that Sand and Indoor are two completely different sports. Different scholarship opportunities and recruiting. While some evaluation can be done in the other sport, you really need a separate plan of attack. I am aware of player that was succcessful in Sand recruiting, and she was playing regularly in Sand events (tournament, camps and leagues) from California to Texas to Florida and would do events in the Midwest in the summer.

    So given the observations above, a couple of action steps.

    - Upload some video on Youtube. No music, nothing fancy, look for recent matches and edit down to 5 minutes. Make a second or third video as DD progresses throughout the season
    - Call, call, call coaches. Get DD to contact coaches. Get a feel for what each school needs.
    - Indoor- convince team to do a couple events in US
    - Sand- go to showcase events. (same task, but different sport, differnt events, different coaches and players)

    Hope this helps



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