July 29, 2013

College Volleyball Recruiting and Club Team Selection

Dear Coach,

We've enjoyed your book and used it as a reference many times, but have a question I am hoping you can answer. My daughter is playing on a high level team (open at junior nationals) but she is not a starter. She loves everything about the club and the team, but would like to be on the court more and so she continually works very hard to improve her game. She does play some and does well when she is in, but in big tournaments (where the college coaches are) the coach will mostly only play the starting line up if they are playing well. The skill difference between the starters and nonstarters, if any, is negligible.

Her target for college would be a good academic mid to lower Division 1 school. Assuming this dynamic continues next season, for recruiting purposes, how much does it hurt her to be a non-starter on a very good team? Would she be better off to be a starter on a somewhat lesser team? A lot can happen between now and next year, but we were curious as to your thoughts.

Thanks so much!  W.C.

Thank you for your email and positive comment about Inside College Volleyball.

You have presented a tough question - Tough because your daughter is getting good training and having a positive experience, but like all players, she wants to play more.

From a recruiting perspective, it is generally better to play.  As she is going into her Junior year, she is entering the peak period of recruiting - Junior year is still dominant so it would be important to be seen, especially in SoCal as this is still considered the #1 recruiting region in the country (though Texas region players have a better reputation for being willing to play out of region).  College coaches are going to be much more comfortable in their evaluation of her, and thus their recruiting efforts for her, if they have the opportunity to watch her competing in games.

As a family, if you feel you could gain similar training and a similar positive environment, and increase playing time, then I would jump to another club.  This is all about your daughter, not the club - It is OK to be selfish when it comes to our kids, but selfish in a realistic way (too many VolleyParents are selfish in an unrealistic way with regards to playing time and talent of their child).

But, remember that the most important thing is that you are reaching out to college programs now and consistently moving forward - Don't wait for them to find you but get her digitally in front of them, so they know she is a great recruit.

Good luck!

Coach Matt


  1. AnonymousJuly 29, 2013

    We made the move last year. DD received excellent training at new team although not an Open Level team as was the previous team which she did not play. At new team she became an excellent player able to read the court while playing thus she increased her vball IQ and her skill level. She is now a very good six rotation player. We had to take a step down club wise to get this. But she got to play at Nationals. And coaches got to see her play.

    We were sorry to leave the other club but realized we had to start looking out for her interests as the club is looking out for theirs. The clock is ticking.

  2. AnonymousJuly 30, 2013

    Agreed.... coaches evaluate players on the court... they do not look at warmups... as long as she is on the court playing, she will be seen at the level at which she will be recruited....

  3. AnonymousJuly 30, 2013


    My daughter was approached by another club to play for them this upcoming season. That club ranked low last year but I know he is a very good coach and my DD will be on the court all the time. Her last club had the potential but too much and the poision pill keeps coming back. What is your thought on this?

    Thank you.

    1. If she gets good training and has a good experience, then it seems like a good decision to move to another team. Drama is bad.

  4. AnonymousJuly 30, 2013

    I guess one more thing other than switching clubs is to go down a level to the 2s team if your club sends its 2s team to national arena like AAUs, Nationals, or Phoenix Fesitival. Switching clubs once or maybe twice is okay, but I think college coaches frown on it perhaps they perceive it as a possible pattern that will follow athlete to college.

    Just do your homework. Talk to other parents (esp. those whose child does not play the same position as yours) about the clubs they have been to and are currently with. Even talk with current Director, coach of current club and ask what is it that keeps your DD from being on the court. Have them go beyond, "she just has to work harder"....ask for details. Does she need to do strength training, agility training, private coaching to refine technique, etc. If they can't give you that info, then there's your answer. Start looking at non-court dynamics like court player comes from a family that has 3 DD at the club, thus they spend more than your family, so sorry we are not going to play your DD. Maybe they didn't have enough players or enough coaches for a 2s team last year. Maybe it will change for next year. Come tryout time, you might want to go to as many different clubs as possible even ones you are not seriously considering. Why? Because they can give you a somewhat unbiased opinion of your daughter's skill level. Quick call backs to secure your daughter on the team gives you a pretty good idea of her perceived value to the club. Just like college coaches chase after the ones they want.

    Good luck!


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