August 13, 2013

Club Team Selection

First, thanks so much for the resources you provide online and in your book.  It's been extremely helpful to us.

My volleyball player is 13 and going into 8th grade.  She is tall/athletic and she is attracting a lot of attention already.   My question is related to selecting a team/club to allow her to get the necessary training and exposure as she gets into recruiting years.  She's currently on one of the top teams in the region, and looking forward to upcoming years I expect they will play USA or American in national qualifiers, but not Open.   An American bid is quite possible, a USA/National bid less likely but not out of the question.  She has an offer to play on a team (top team in region) that may get an Open bid, and most definitely USA/National.  

From a personal standpoint, we'd prefer to stick with the current team as it's significantly more convenient, she's getting great coaching, and we like it a lot.  I'm 90% sure this is the right thing to do, for now at least.  My question is how important is it from a recruiting standpoint to be on the "best" team you can be on?  How important is it to be in an Open division if you can be?  

My sense is that as long as she's at the national (qualifiers at least) tournaments, with her stats/skills, and if we do our work contacting coaches, etc, she'll get the exposure and experience she needs regardless of which division they're in.  And if for now it's fine to stay put with the current club/team, does there come a point in upcoming years where it would be better to move her to the more competitive team?  

My sense right now is that if she stays on the track she's on, she could make the move at any time.  In other words, I don't feel like she'd miss the window of opportunity to move if she doesn't do it this year.  She's getting great coaching where she is and the team is still competitive.  

Thank you very much for any guidance you can provide. 

VB Mom

Because your daughter is going into 8th grade, the most important focus right now is skill development within a comfortable/fun environment.  It sounds like this is what you already have - JO's, Qualifiers, Championships, Recruiting, none of this matters as an 8th grader, none of it.  It does not even matter as a Freshman because of how unstable the coaching profession is and conference realignment is.

In terms of moving onto the 'best' team, that is relative - Is it the 'best' because of positional talent, or the best because of the schedule it plays, or the best because of quality of instruction, etc.  

If a player is good and on a top team, playing in the open division of Qualifiers, then they will be 'seen' more by college coaches who are circling the courts.  But, there are a bunch of top teams which do not provide the best experience as a club player, so at what price do you achieve these 'looks'?  

I would argue that if she is in the gym, her team is is solid, she is having a positive experience, while receiving good skill training, and you are reaching out to collegiate programs to let them know of your daughter, then you will be right as rain.

Coach Matt

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