April 16, 2013

Volleyball Camp Question


Love your book, love your website  a great resource... much appreciated!  I dont believe Ive seen this angle addressed as yet in a question in the Summer Camp category.

Our PSA is a locally respected 5-8 sophomore OH with solid all-around skills but in an area of the country that isnt Southern California, Florida or Texas J.  This question pertains to when a PSA should consider attending the summer camp at a school in which she has considerable interest in attending.  As a 5-8 OH all-around (good passer) with current 9-1 block and 9-4 approach touches, were realistic in recognizing that any D1 or upper tier D2/NAIA opportunities would likely be in the back row.  

High school match highlight film has been sent to a couple dozen schools with Club film from national qualifiers to follow, so were covering that ground PSA has considerable interest in a few NAIA/D2 programs in California and, with full acknowledgment of the financial risk in attending a summer camp, we may still be willing to burn a few bucks so that our PSA can see and experience the highly desired NAIA/D2 campus and assess current players and coaches and possibly make an impression recognizing that attitude and character play into the equation, particularly at some private schools.  We also acknowledge that our PSAs size and maybe OH, likely DS status puts her into a scenario where her primary recruiting solicitations could come in spring of senior year.

Which finally brings us to the question:  Would attending a camp between sophomore and junior years hinder our PSAs opportunity to impress because, from a relative eyeball-test standpoint, she will be playing with girls a year older/bigger/stronger/quicker at camp?  If were willing to pursue the school and camp, are we better off waiting until next summer? 

 It was obvious to me that the Open 17U courts at our recent NQ were showcasing better volleyball than the Open 16U courts.  And girls dont wear big Class of 20XX and Class of 20YY stickers on their shirts in camp to tell them apart.  So is attending a camp between sophomore and junior years a bigger waste of money than between junior and senior years, or do coaching staffs have eyes that effectively parse out the age groups at their camps

As always, we appreciate your perspective.


Thank you for your email question and the complete information; appreciate the nice compliment on my book, Inside College Volleyball.  I am heartened to read that you understand summer camps for recruiting purposes can perhaps be not the best choice of funds.

Yet, if a VolleyFamily does feel that going to a camp at a school which is of interest to them and (let me stress this point) the school has expressed strong interest in the PSA, then I am just glad it is your money and not mine!  I still reference that this camp visit becomes a very expensive unofficial visit, and one which is not reality - College coaches and programs are on their best behavior at camp because it is business.  Summer Camp is not reality; a college coach is not trying to win games at summer camp, then are just trying to cash the checks of the campers and put on a 'good show'.

All ranting over; based upon specifics of your PSA's recruiting situation, I would suggest waiting to go to camps used for recruiting, until the Junior to Senior summer.  Beyond the nature of D2/NAIA's to recruit heavier during this time frame, the odds are better that the college coach will actually be there to coach your PSA after one year, than after two years.  

There is so much turnover within the collegiate coach ranks, and coupled with the Athletic Director's general uninterested stance towards volleyball athletes, VolleyFamilies are making a poor wager that the coach they interact with as a Sophomore in high school will be there when their baby girl arrives onto campus as a Freshman in college.

As camps are smaller than mega volleyball tournament, and believing the college coach knows you are coming (hence, they have shown substantial interest in the PSA), then there is no need to walk around with the graduation year on the t-shirt.

Let me close with this; if a VolleyFamily (and I am not specifically referencing your family Mr. Volley Dad) has reached out to a coach/program (via email and with film) and this family knows the college coach came and viewed their PSA at a tournament/practice.........and the college coach has not expressed a sincere interest, and the VolleyFamily is still set on going to camp for recruiting - Well, please just take that $800.00 dollars and send it to me so I can use it for an airline ticket.  I promise you that the pictures I send back to you from Hawaii of me surfing will bring more enjoyment to your family than the t-shirt and lack of attention your PSA will bring home from the camp!

Distilled answer - Bigger waste to go to recruiting camp summer of sophomore to junior and better to wait because the junior to senior year is when majority of your better fit schools are recruiting.

Coach Matt


  1. What is the best thing for high school players to do to improve skill developments in the summer?

  2. Play volleyball - As simple as this sounds, get in the gym or on the sand or on the grass and play volleyball. International volleyball players tend to play volleyball in more organic/open play situations than USA kids. This leads to them having very good all around skills, and a bigger understanding of the game of volleyball.

    If you have been coached at all by someone competent in volleyball, then you should already know what you need to do physically/mentally to improve (broad jump, higher elbow, feet a certain way, etc) - Now, you just need to play Volleyball and focus on applying what you have already been told!

  3. Dear Coach Matt,
    As much as I love your website and answers to most questions, I must take exception to your advise to VolleyDad. I believe there is nothing wrong with having your PSA attend a summer camp between her sophomore and junior year. My PSA attended a camp at a college where there was a mutual interest and it was a positive experience in four ways. #1. She had one on one time with the coach she hopes to play for. #2 She showed that she can compete at a higher level than her grade or age. #3 She got a real feel for the campus and living and playing with her potential team members was a plus. #4 Having met the Coach at camp last year it has made the communication process very comfortable this club season.
    When it comes down to the cost, let's face it. A few more dollars for a summer camp is minor to the investment made to this point. I look at the investment in a summer camp as money well spent. Best Regards, DG


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