July 22, 2013

College Volleyball Recruiting Etiquette Question

Hey Coach!

I love your site.  Really.  Like... I look at it every night and I am driving my husband crazy by reading questions and answers to him while he is trying to watch Big Bang Theory.  Priorities, you know.... :)

Anyway, we came into the recruiting craziness kind of late, when my daughter was ending her Junior year - she is in the Class of 2014.  To make things even MORE fun, she is a short setter (and has played DS in club ball after we were doused with a cold water fact that short setters are ...not as popular.). She does already have some offers from small NAIA schools and has some D3 and D2's asking her to come visit (mostly in the DS position).  Her high school team won the state championship and she was All State, All Area, All County, etc.  Their record was 72-5... which was awesome and when club season was added... Well, we've been to a lot of gyms this last year (and previous years).  I have the dreaded VB Mom rear end from all the bleacher time.

Ok - here's my question.  Finally, huh?

When a coach from a school that the daughter has been emailing with comes to one of her games, does she need to approach them and thank them for coming - or does she wait and see if they approach her?  Do we, as parents, need to have any contact with the coach?  (Please keep in mind that I act totally normal in person and 'hide my crazy' except for emails like this).  We have had coaches watch her at tournaments and never say a word to her or us.  Is that normal?  (Ok, I lied - I have more than one question.).  Bottom line, we don't want to seem rude by ignoring them but we also don't want to 'bother' them either.

On a side note:  One school sent the assistant coach to watch her at a club tournament in April and that coach left without saying anything before the match was even finished so we thought they were not interested (this was not the daughter's best game either) - only to get an email from the head coach this week asking her up for a visit.  I am continually amazed at the plot twists and turns during this roller coaster ride of a recruiting saga...

Another question:  A somewhat local junior college coach who does our school's team camp every year has, for the last two years, given the daughter the 'Camp Award' which is an invitation to attend his on-site college camp free of charge.  He has not expressed any interest in recruiting her so far though and the husband and I have an ongoing debate about this.  HE thinks coach is interested because of this award thing.  I say he is not- or he would have said something by now.  Who do you side with?

Thank you and congratulations for getting all the way through my crazy email!  You are doing something that is desperately needed!  G.S.

Thank you for the compliments on collegevolleyballcoach.com and I hope you have also taken a read of Inside College Volleyball.

You have many good questions which I am sure a number of VolleyFamilies will have, so please allow me to break them out as to answer:

1.  NCAA rules are changing for college coaches, but one of the basic rules is not being able to make contact with a PSA (prospective student-athlete) on site during a competition and the definition of "during a competition" is the length of a tournament.  So, I would not have your daughter go say thank you - She can always do that via email that night.

2.  But, since she is now a senior, you are allowed to go say thank you.  This is a nice gesture, if the coach has made a special or solo trip to see your PSA.  But, keep it short and sweet, to allow the coach to get back to doing their job - If the coach wants to chat, they will make that obvious.

3.  It is normal for coaches to not talk or interact with VolleyFamilies at tournaments - This is because your PSA was a junior and any interaction by NCAA (again rules had changes for DII, so I am making a broad statement) coaches at a tournament would be a violation.

4.  I would error on the side of 'not bothering them' - A quick hello or thanks, from now on is more than enough.  Away from the gym, via phone, email or official/unofficial visits is where dialog and information is best exchanged.

5.  College coaches are adept at seeing and evaluating what they want in a short time segment and really don't want to 'recruit' a family in the gym.  It is better and more comfortable for all involved to have this recruiting process occur at the school or home of the family (a reference to the almost extinct Home Visit).  It does not surprise me that the coach watched, left and then sent an email.

6.  I would say that the junior college coach is casually interested in your daughter as a recruit -  If she is truly the best player on the team, then he is obligated to give her the award and I am sure he would be very happy to have her on the team.  But, if he has not talked to her, then he is not interested in recruiting her actively.  

Good luck and keep working through the process.  I would encourage you to take a look at  Inside College Volleyball, where I have written extensively on contact rules. Also, you may wish to get in the NCSA Athletic Recruiting network because NCSA does a great job education and with the new contact rules coming our way in August, it is valuable information.

Coach Matt


  1. AnonymousJuly 22, 2013

    Is there a place that gathers up the NEW or UPDATED rules every year regarding recruiting for all the divisions & what is NOW allowed or has changed from the prior year?
    i.e. text messages allowed & when/how frequent & other changes?

    similar to the rule comparisons for NCAA/USAV/NFHS that is updated every year?

    I wonder if the Jr College coach knows that the daughter can & will perhaps play at a higher level so is not expressing interest.. I know that I started following a freshman for a D3 school & by the next year, I knew that she was out of reach....

  2. The changing rules and per division rules for the NCAA can be tough; not too mention the variances in rules per NAIA and JC. I would suggest that you look at NCSA Athletic Recruiting as a resource, just because they have to know all the recruiting rules of each collegiate entity - I know that this information can be accessed for free on the ncsasports.org site, as they make it available for families.

  3. would suggest that you look at NCSA Athletic Recruiting as a resource, just because they have to know all the recruiting rules of each collegiate entity


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