November 19, 2012

Volleyball Camps and Approach Touch Question

Hey Coach!

Just want to say I love your website and all the help you've given me! My question today is about camps. I have a 2014 setter friend who went to a D1 camp over the summer and they gave her a full ride after it was over! It was her top choice too! I am a small outside (5'7") and have gone to many college games this season and have found a few D1 schools I believe I could realistically hit for. Do you believe it would help if I went to my top 2 choices camps the summer before my junior year? Also a quick sort of related question, these teams are ranked around 290-315 in the NCAA rankings and so what do you think I would need to get my approach touch up to? Thank you so much! Your website is the bomb!

~An Outside Who Needs Advice

Glad to hear that the website has been of assistance in your Volleyball life.

As for camps, I have written many times that dollar for dollar they may be the worst money you can spend for recruiting.  I only suggest camps in these 3 situations; 1)  It is a volleyball vacation; spend a few days at an attractive school and play volleyball, 2) It is a great training camp, and the PSA gets better, 3) The only recruiting situation is that the PSA has already made a couple of trips, and is using the camp as the final evaluation of the school/program.

I would bet a couple of Wilsons that your friend was a well recruited PSA by this summer camp school, and they used the camp opportunity to present the scholarship offer in person.  I would not interpret the camp as the reason the scholarship was awarded, but rather the camp was the venue.  Had she not gone to camp, she still would have received a scholarship offer, it was just a better tactical decision by the college coach to present the offer while the PSA was on campus. Hopefully she also used the camp as a de facto Unofficial Visit to confirm her positive impression of the program/school.

Because of your size and your DI goals, you will be a later recruit; statistically speaking, you would probably be a senior year commitment.  The lower DI schools will naturally be getting their recruits committed later than the upper DI's, which translates into Senior year.  Even though your friend got the offer at camp, setters and outside hitters have different parameters in the recruiting process.  I believe you would do much better to spend that camp money generating more video tapes, consider using a recruiting service to give yourself the extra marketing/promotional push to separate beyond the other smaller OH's or allocate those funds to make a few more unofficial visit trips to your potential future schools.

As for your attack jump, I would think you should be up near the 9'5' range to be successful at the lower DI range.  Even the lower DI range has taller players, they just may not be as athletic as mid-range DI players.  I would make two suggestions beyond your attack jump to focus upon; attacking ability, and ball control.

Being a successful outside hitter means being able to have a variety of attacks - You have to hit with power, to change speeds, to hit all angles, to use the block down the line, to blast high hands, etc.  This is a function of having very good approach and armswing technique.  

As a smaller OH, you must have outstanding ball control - You have to make sure that your ball control skills are elite, to offset your lack of height.  You can't afford to be a short, average ball control OH.  

I compliment you for chasing your dream, but I will throw out one more bit of advice - Don't fall completely in love with DI.  By your examples of the DI's you would be pursuing, I can promise you that any number of DII programs will have better support for their volleyball program, which would translate into a better experience for you as a player.  

Many times there is a reason Volleyball programs are consistently lower ranked in DI; the athletic department does not provide the funding, the staffing and the marketing/promotional efforts to help the team improve.  Better to be at an upper DII program which support the Volleyball team by having a great home court environment, by hiring good coaches and paying them well enough they stay long term.

By the way, first time I have received "the bomb" compliment on the site!!  Thanks!

Coach Matt

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