November 12, 2012

College Club Volleyball

I have a few questions about College Club Volleyball. I don't know much about it competitive? Is it a good option for a player that wants a big conference college experience, but may not have the skill set to play at that level? Does College Club Volleyball mirror Juniors Club volleyball (tryouts, length of season, etc.)? Do all big conference schools offer club volleyball?
Thanks for your time,
Yet another VolleyMom :)

Thanks for your very good question.  I am not as knowledgeable about college club volleyball as I am about intercollegiate volleyball.  

My Instinct is that college club is the college version of adult USA Volleyball and would be more 'competitive' based upon the region of the country.  It cannot be compared to intercollegiate volleyball because they would not be funded, or train, or compete at the same level as a NCAA Division I program.

The region of the country will have a certain influence; the west coast and upper midwest will have stronger college club teams than the upper east coast or southeast (my best guess).  

I could not tell you if there are complete leagues, like the Big 10 club league? Maybe?  I would have to differ to the feedback of a VolleyFamily.

But, I would hesitate to say that College Club Volleyball is a substitute for the big college volleyball experience.  I think the best way to look at collegiate club, is the opportunity to play on an organized team, that plays matches against other colleges or adult teams, but you don't have to train every day or have the crazy pressure/travel of NCAA Division I athletics.

Not much of a help, but hopefully a bit of info.  I would ask any of the VolleyReaders who have experience with College Club Volleyball, please share your experiences with us via the Comments section!

Coach Matt Sonnichsen

1 comment:

  1. I played DI-AA Men’s club and graduated in 2004. I was very happy with my experience playing club volleyball, but I really didn’t have a different choice – as the closest varsity program was 2 states away from me (and my state does not have high school boys volleyball). Some things to keep in mind when making your choice:

    On the women’s side I would choose varsity over club due to varsity (at all levels) having better funding, coaching, and number of teams.

    On the men’s side almost all sizable colleges in the US have a men’s club team (or had one at some point) where as there are only a handful of varsity men’s teams in the US (<100?). If you are lucky enough to have a varsity team at your college then try that route, otherwise club will be your only option.

    With club funding is much less. Varsity programs might have 200K+ to work with while a club program might have a 2K budget (varies by school). It’s very difficult to find a coach who will volunteer, so most club teams will not have a coach. Without coaching you lose structure and recruiting so you see that club teams might be very good one year and very poor the next (as players graduate and no replacements are brought in). You might even see teams sit out a few years until someone comes along to organize the club. Club teams often have a problem getting resources like gym time – we practiced 3x a week from 10PM to midnight. Also, balls and uniform costs might be charged to the player or a fundraiser might be needed. Travel costs would be another thing to consider (and who pays them). Some of the D1 teams travel often. The big 10 club league, for example, would put some miles on. Obviously, the university isn’t going to pay medical bills if you are injured playing club.

    Is club a good substitute for a player who wants a big conference varsity experience? Absolutely not. Compare Penn State men’s club vs. Penn State varsity and you’ll see they are not even in the same ball park (they don’t even practice against each other). The club team is top notch, but the varsity team is…varsity.

    If you are choosing a college specifically to play volleyball (over any other reason) then pick a varsity program (D1, 2, 3 or NAIA). If varsity is not an option, but volleyball is still your #1 reason for picking a college, then look at the last few years of NCVF standings and pick a DI school that continually finishes at the top. Some of these clubs have found a way to increase their budgets (corporate donations) to a point where they can build solid programs. If you already have some schools picked, cross check them against the NCVF club list to see if they have programs. You should be able to find a contact person (captain) to email. Ask about budget, travel, time commitment, coaching, practice times, and age of the players (you don’t want the team to graduate and dry up on you).

    Club volleyball is a great opportunity and I would highly recommend it. However, if volleyball is what you are going to college for – play varsity.

    - Trevor


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