May 29, 2013

College Volleyball Recruiting and 2 sport athletes

Hi Coach,
We are curious as to whether daughter being a two sport athlete in high school, one of which is volleyball, of course, would make her standout come recruiting time.  Yes, she plays club volleyball, but currently on a team that is not going to qualify for the Open Division.  So she is probably not going to get a look from any/many college coaches (to include on their wait and see list) in Dallas this year, even though she is a standout player on the team.  We will probably be playing in the afternoon on some outer boundary court. (sigh).
She is currently a freshman, and has a varsity letter for both sports.  She is considering not pursuing the second sport as it occurs during the same season as club volleyball, thus requiring focused time management skills to accomplish both and academics, not to mentioned she is getting fatigued.  Being a freshman she is still growing not just in stature but also musculature, so sleep is crucial.
We think she should put off the 2nd sport for sophmore year, then pick it back up junior and/or senior year, but only if it will make her seem more recruitable, and viewed by the AD at the colleges as getting more bang for their buck.  Plus we believe the other sport will increase her abilities in volleyball.   She is a pretty good athlete.  She exhibits speed and strength in both sports, even now.  In fact, in a recent tournament, a coach from an opposing team after their loss complimented DD on her abilities.  (Sorry, this parental unit is so proud of her.....feel free to eliminate the previous sentence.)
Though a good athlete, high school volleyball program is up and coming but not quiet there yet, so may not get any/many accolades (like all American, First Conference, etc, etc.) by the time she graduates.   In the 2nd sport, the likelihood increases for awards.  She enjoys the 2nd sport, but wants to play volleyball in college.
Thanks again for your website, and the time you spend educating us. 
Volleyball Parents

Thank you for the compliments on and I hope you have also grabbed the world's best book on college volleyball, Inside College Volleyball!

Your thinking is Old School, and while I love Old School (the movie and general athletic philosophy), 2 sport athletes are a thing of the past.  I understand your rationales, and in theory, they do make sense, but let me explain why they no longer apply:

1.  If she wants to play volleyball in college, then she needs to focus on becoming a better volleyball player which is a result of club volleyball.  Not only the higher level of competition, but the thousands of extra touches on the ball.

2.  She cannot achieve her potential by playing another sport, and thus missing practices or matches, and even if she does balance them, her body will wear down quickly, thus defeating the whole purpose.

3.  College coaches DO NOT want athletes playing two sports in high school; too many injuries occur for our comfort level.  When I coached, I point blank told parents that their daughter had to stop playing basketball/softball - I had promised them a full scholarship, and I wanted to make sure that my investment was protected.  Maybe I would let a recruit play golf, but that is about it!

4.  2 sport athletes in colleges are rare - a PSA does not get double the money or packaged separate with each sport; this is against the rules.  College coaches don't want 2 sport athletes, because they want to focus on developing the talent of their players, and that is hard to do when their player is playing another sport (and not too mention injury).  

5.  High school (and even club) awards mean nothing to college recruiters (if a coach says they do, they are just being courteous); we only want what our eyes show us.  You could be the MVP of a garbage league or not even get a vote for all conference; the only important is what can you show me when you play.

Unfortunately, the new world of elite level athletics (in just about all sports) means that players must specialize earlier in one sport as to maximize their skill sets in that one sport.  

Think about if from a competitive recruiting perspective (as in your daughter competing against another player for a college scholarship or roster spot) - If your daughter gets 100 touches in volleyball because she is playing a 2nd sport, but another recruit is getting 1000 touches because they are focused on volleyball only (with high school and club), who is going to develop into a better player?

Hope my answers have helped!

Coach Matt

Hi Coach,

Your insight invaluable, and spot on.   Second sport is track and field, speciality is 400 and hurdles.  Last night she competed in league finals, and can move on to Section Semifinals.   Thought it would help her with volleyball, but she is really tired, and said she will not pursue track further, would rather play volleyball every day.

Curious how you say awards mean nothing to college coaches, yet what I read on prepvolleyball and volleytalk about POY, senior aces, all conference, etc. go hand and hand with the elite players.   DD is very good but will likely get edged out to play level 1 on a national team because so many in her class year have been on the team longer who are very good too.   Hence the move to lower level team to get playing time.
Every year I see more and more's a wonder college coaches can pick even one and sticking with that one, when the next shiny player comes on the scene.   Many girls moving away from basketball to volleyball.....
Thanks again.

Glad to help.

Backing away from 2nd sport will allow her to physically stay healthy while enhancing her volleyball ability.

As for awards, they will be garnered by talented players and they should be pridefully promoted by the families in the process, but college coaches don't put weight on these awards in the recruiting process.  

If player A has a ton of awards, and player B has none, but player B displays more talent, then college coaches will recruit player B.  Awards are icing; coaches want the cake first.

It is because of the increasing depth of talent that you reference,  which allows college coaches to One and Done players - Always another really good player waiting to step in via club/jc/transfer/international!

Good luck!

Coach Matt


  1. AnonymousMay 30, 2013

    Coach, your comments are geared toward D1 and maybe D2 recruiting only right? When talking to NAIA & D3 coaches, several have told me they are fine with two-sport athletes, especially if their school has no / minimal spring VB season. Could this issue be given an *asterisk for D3 / NAIA teams? I also believe that in NAIA, athletes CAN get more money for a 2nd sport . .can you comment?

  2. Mainly DI and some D2. D3 probably has the highest percentage of 2 sport athletes, but remember that D3 gives no athletic scholarships, so coaches have less 'control' over the players. I am the least familiar with NAIA programs and the financial rules - My only hesitation with saying NAIA coaches will let players do two sports is just in the mentality of a college coach; we tend to like to control everything we can control, and that means making sure a top VB player does not get injured or worn out playing another sport.


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