January 17, 2013

Volleyball Recruiting and Patience


My daughter is 15 and is currently playing on a 16 National club team.  She was a starting freshman on her high school volleyball team as an outside hitter and has her heart set on playing college volleyball.   We are getting ready to begin a jump program and begin some weight and nutritional training as well.  

My question is, should we be looking for a personal volleyball trainer to make sure she stays ahead of the game?
Thank you, S.M.


If she is starting as a freshman on a varsity team, and playing up one age group in club, then she would already have the physical ability to excel.  You want to avoid burn out at all costs and by going in the direction you suggested, you run the risk of physical and mental burn out when your daughter is an upper classmen.

Better to focus on the ball....focus on becoming better volleyBALL player, not a more physical volleyball player.  One reason so many international players are sought after by collegiate coaches, is they have better volleyBALL skills than USA players.  Any international player I have ever coached, is always physically weaker than their USA team mates, but they enjoy superiority in their volleyball skills.

If you are looking for additional training outside of practice, then look to ball control training, not physical training.  Heck, let her go to an open gym and play doubles for an hour; this will exponentially help her become a better player at 15 than doing a training routine at 15.

LASTLY........Sloooooooooowwwwwwww down.  Your baby girl is just a freshman; pump the brakes, set the cruise control at a low speed and enjoy the ride. Recruiting craziness and stress and anxiety and blink your eye, you're dropping your daughter off at college, is just around the corner.  PLEASE, slow down and enjoy her being a great kid, and let her be a balanced kid.

Coach Matt


  1. Coach, love you response about not over training young players physically. I have a question about the mental part. My daughter is on a 15s team, there is. "Poison pill" on the team who is diving and excluding certain girls. The coach knows about it and gave the pill a talk when the season first started. Well,nothing has changed. My daughter is a very good player and hard worker and she always feel sad because of this clique. How do I encourage her to stay positive and keep improving her skills. Thank you .

  2. You have posed the toughest question - How to handle the Poison Pill. Unfortunately the only answer is to get rid of the Poison and that is outside of your control. The worst season's I ever had as a college coach, was when a Poison Pill was on the team, and no matter how much I mentored or threatened, the problem was not fixed until the Poison was gone. Unless the club coach gets rid of the player, it will disrupt the team.

    The only advice I can give your daughter is to keep her focus on her own skill sets and development, be a good team mate, stay out of the drama and do her best to 'disconnect' mentally from the Poison Pill

  3. Hi- I am looking for advice on how to help my daughter and in turn, her help her team. They are a 12U team that are all brand new to club play. They have all played in a community league with their parents coaching. Besides trying to learn positions, rotation, base, 6-2 (or 2-6) and whatever they are doing out there, they have a coach who does little to no motivating. She is the new high school coach and I think she is about 25. She admits to being super competitive and serious. But I sure do thing she is missing out on a whole other wonderful aspect of coaching.

    I had always been my daughter's coach and the coach of half her team. I loved seeing these girls accomplish new things and push themselves. I always told them to make themselves proud, and tried my best to let them know that I knew they could "do it". If they were losing the first set miserably, I would call a time out and simply say, "We're still going to win this match. We're just going to have to do it in 3 sets instead of 2." And was notorious for repeating whatever line I had heard from the latest sports movie I had watched.

    I miss this for these girls. (I forgot to add that they have also played up (13U) in every tourney this season- so it's been tough.) They have no cheer, they get no high-fives....NOTHING from their coach. I have told my daughter that they are going to have to be their own motivators. That they will have to look towards one another for encouragement. Which they should be doing anyway, but it almost seems like they are scared to do so. They have 3 more tournaments....any suggestions that can help these girls pump themselves up on the court instead of looking so discouraged?

    Thank you!


Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.