December 3, 2012

Volleyball Recruiting Senior Year Challenges.


My daughter is a senior in high school and is an excellent volleyball player, 6’1” and played middle hitter during the regular season and outside hitter during club volleyball. She was voted MVP of our conference the past two years in a row, and recorded her 1000th kill this past Oct. 

She wants to play college volleyball, but we didn’t start the recruiting process soon enough. She has been offered scholarships by a small local college, enough so that she would get a full ride between the academic and athletic scholarships and grants. She is an excellent student and excels in Volleyball, Basketball, and Track. Surprisingly, the coach who offered her the scholarships, told her that she is good enough to play D1 volleyball. He was her club VB coach, and he has been a very good coach to her, so he wants what is best for her.  

She is also being recruited by a D2 college with a pretty good volleyball team. They call often, but so far no scholarships have been discussed.  That school does not offer the degree that she wants, so she isn’t sure about going there.

  She has a D1 school in mind that she would like to go to because of the major that she wants to take, and they have an excellent volleyball team. They have already signed 3 this year. How many scholarships do D1 schools usually offer per year, and do you think there is any chance that she could still get one? 

We are from a very small town and she played on a good team, but not a great team, making it to the Region championship two years in a row, but not qualifying for State. Therefore, she didn’t get a lot of recognition or exposure. 

Another question, if she tried out for the team at the D1 school as a walk in and made the team, would she likely be offered a scholarship the following year if they like what they see? Or do schools usually give scholarships to new recruits? 

I know I am asking a lot of “if” questions, but I really don’t understand the recruiting process and athletic scholarships. I would appreciate any advice you could give. 

Thanks! N.S.

Thank you for the email and glad to help.  I believe any number of VolleyFamilies are going through your exact situation; talented PSA, late start to the recruiting process and trying to manage/understand all the variables.

My itemized advice and answers to your questions:

1.  You should absolutely click on the NCSA ad box on my site; the reason I say this is that the Free Site is amazing and has a ton of banked information. Because of your late start, the talent of your daughter and how confusing this process can be, the NCSA premium service could be of great assistance to you. But, at least get on the free site by accessing via the NCSA box on my website; it alone will be a huge resource.

2.  NCAA DI scholarships vary by year, but tend to average 3.  Depending on how balanced the playing roster is with per year eligibility, and how aggressive/cut throat the coach is about cutting current players, this average can swing to 6 easily.

3.  If there is an additional scholarship available at this DI program, then there is every reason to believe she could receive it.  But, how?  Is she going to hope something magically happens?  How?  Do they know about her?  Do they have film?  Do they have an introduction email from her/you/the family pet?  You can't wait for them, you have to make them aware of your PSA.

4.  NCAA Division II is a great level and I actually believe that DII is the best level for a balanced collegiate life.  Good level of volleyball, not as much pressure, the players can be involved in other extra curricular activities, the season is shorter, summers not on campus lifting/training/etc.

5.  In the recruiting process, a high school team's success or lack of success has almost nothing to do with a college volleyball program's interest; and this applies to almost the same extent with the club volleyball team's success.  Parents get worried about team results and college coaches are only worried about player results.  We are recruiting the player, not the team.

6.  Don't stress about what high school division your PSA played - Recruiting exposure comes from two avenues - 1) the outreach efforts and aggressiveness of the player, 2) club volleyball and their tournament schedule.  

7.  Walk ons are free and college coaches like free players.  The odds of her walking on and into an eventual scholarship are thin. I cringe when I get emails from VolleyFamilies saying that their PSA took a DI walk on position, over a DII scholarship because the DI coach promised they would get a scholarship.  Promises are just words, and I absolutely guarantee you that if a coach found an elite level recruit, then these words would quickly be forgotten.  Also, if the current coach leaves, the new coach will have zero interest in awarding your PSA a scholarship.

8.  The Family needs to make its own luck - You are waiting for coaches to contact you; no need to contact the coaches, you need to get the information and video out to the college coaches so they can find out about your 6'1" DI rated daughter and put her on their 'To See' list for club tournaments.

Hope my Great 8 answers helped and don't beat yourself up about being uneducated about the recruiting process; so many parents are unaware but at least you were proactive enough to reach out to start getting information!

Coach Matt

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