April 25, 2013

Collegiate Sand Volleyball


First off, thank you for providing so much info. that is honest and free. I have found it very difficult in any aspect of youth sports that achieves those two elements in the same context. 

My question is concerning the addition, or 'emergence,' of sand volleyball within the club and NCAA ranks. I have a PSA who has had success and is interested in sand colleges. I have seen that there are numerous clubs popping up, mostly in the same areas of the colleges, and understand that the NCAA is getting close or near the 40 team limit. In some of your posts you have provided great insight into the setbacks and hurdles Midwest or non-fair weather communities have in relation to the addition of sand volleyball.  Besides contacting schools personally, do you recommend approaching recruiting in the same manner as indoor, i.e. make a skills tape, provide video, list accomplishments of sand, ect.? Also, do you personally think adding information of one's indoor success would have any value? 

Lastly, and respectfully, I do feel the Midwest schools will eventually 'have to' jump in to compete with recruiting top Indoor players from areas such as Cal, Florida, Texas.  Although weather may be a factor, baseball and softball have seemed to make it work. This year there are over 10 teams in the top 30 which are not exactly, fair-weather schools? Why would weather be such an issue with Sand Volleyball? 

Thank you for all you do, it is much appreciated, as I speak for a number of parents who are familiar with your site!!


Sand Volleyball is still a bit of a puzzle.  There are a few colleges/universities which have given dedicated support to sand volleyball with specific coaches and scholarships, but there are many other schools which have just assigned the sport to the assistant volleyball coach and informed a select number of indoor players that they will also play on the sand.  

Because of this inconsistency with the importance of sand volleyball within each athletic department, putting together a specific or effective recruiting effort focused just on sand volleyball is an inaccurate science.  From what I know, indoor volleyball still has more scholarship support and larger awards for the the players, than beach.  

I would hesitate to recommend only focusing on sand volleyball; again, not too many schools are solely dedicated to sand.  It may be more effective to put an 'emphasis' on sand, while promoting the PSA's value to the volleyball program in total.  I would continue to use the same outreach with video, visits and interaction, while touching both sand and indoor.  If the past few years of collegiate athletics has shown us anything, it is change is now constant and what is supported today, may be down graded or bumped up to First Class tomorrow. 

If you look at baseball and softball, the traditional powerhouse programs tend to be from warm weather states; Arizona, UCLA, Florida State, etc.  Every now and then an upper midwest team may sneak into the World Series, but it is a rarity.  But, softball and baseball are long standing sports which are not a hybrid of another sport - sand Volleyball is a hybrid of indoor volleyball.

Players like to play in warmer weather; it is not fun taking batting practice in 35 degree weather in early March.  Now, imagine that scenario in a bikini, or tights, sweats out in the cold sand.  In April, I shoveled 8 inches of snow out of my driveway and I am not in the 'upper' midwest.  Not even counting snow, I can tell you from personal experience that playing beach in 78 degrees versus 58 degrees is a huge difference.  Any sport which is outdoor based will put northern schools at a disadvantage, especially the spring sports like golf, tennis, etc.  These sports, and baseball/softball all have cold weather gear - What is the cold weather gear for sand volleyball? 

Midwest schools will probably jump into sand volleyball because it is a no-brainer equity move, but sponsoring and supporting sand volleyball are not the same things.  As a point of illustration, these same midwest programs sponsor indoor volleyball but when you see tv matches in power conference programs and the stands only have Thurston Howell and Lovie in them, they do not support the volleyball program.

Volleyball players who are truly interested and talented in sand Volleyball will want to play in warm weather states - If you have talent, would you rather play sand volleyball at the University of Miami or the University of Iowa?  It is because of these geographic preferences that the warm-weather power conference programs will grow to dominate the game.  

Sure, a midwest athletic department can put together a team and build an sand volleyball court (indoor courts are not sand volleyball; weather plays a huge role in the game), but they cannot control the weather.  Weather can easily create a negative impact upon the ability of a program to be good.

Few college volleyball programs are excited or happy about adding sand volleyball - it creates more work for their staff, more stress on the players and there may be zero personal/professional financial benefit for all this increased responsibility for the majority of programs. Within the coaching ranks, sand volleyball is something programs 'have' to deal with as opposed to want to deal with.  Nobody likes being 'volunteered' for anything, and a bunch of college volleyball coaches had their program volunteered to create a sand program.

Back to recruiting, if you focus just on the sand volleyball programs you are severely limiting your PSA's opportunities for educational options and scholarship support.  But, if that is what your baby girl wants, then work just as hard as any indoor player with video and outreach to target those schools which do sponsor a sand volleyball teach.

Good luck!

Coach Matt

1 comment:

  1. Bottom line is this...if your daughter wants to play sand volleyball in college then devote all effort into obtaining that goal! Our daughter played indoor club volleyball for many years and decided at the age of 15 to play sand volleyball only because she simply loved it. At the time, sand volleyball at the collegiate level was only being talked about. The following year colleges started offering scholarships and this is when our daughter put the focus in high gear and started to participate in camps and tourneys across the country. The efforts paid off as she was offered a sand scholarship at Georgia State! And yes, with hard work and determination and having a true love of the sport it can be done. Here's why we say this with such confidence...we live in Minnesota!


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