August 29, 2013

High School Volleyball and College Volleyball Recruiting

Hey Coach,
I really enjoy reading your blogs on your website. 
My daughter is in a challenging situation with her high school coach and wanted to get some of your advice.  My PSA is a solid all around player, just completed summer of club on a top level national 15`s team and entering her 10th grade year of high school.   I know it`s early but she was seen by a couple of colleges during club and is being recruited by some upper D2 schools right now as a hitter/setter.  She also attended Sports Performance Setter Academy this summer.  Now the challenge..........  Her HS coach does not coach club and I would describe him as a control freak who likes to promote the underdog players some of which do not even play club ball.  The HS team plays in a weak conference and usually makes the state tourney despite how the coach plays it.  My PSA is one of the 2 strongest hitters on her high school team.  In her HS coaches eyes she is ONLY a hitter and he does not view her as a setter or a back row player.  While at SP Setter Academy, they were in disbelief when they heard from my PSA  that she does not set in high school.  My concern is my PSA could potentially go 3-4 months during high school season without getting the reps that she needs for her continued development as a setter and defender.  The HS coach almost resents stonger club players and really has no interest in helping to develop them for the future.  My PSA has been able to stay focused and continues to work hard but is very discouraged.  She has even talked about changing schools (not impossible but would be difficult) or not playing HS ball (would this be frowned upon by college coaches)?  Based on our situation, please give us some of your feedback on how to best handle/address?

Volley Mom

College Volleyball coaches understand that high school volleyball can be a strange beast at times.  We routinely have our recruits and incoming committed/signed players playing out of position in high school.  It does not detract from the 'attractiveness' of a recruit, it is just something which we understand happens.

All and all, I think this is a situation where it may seem a big deal, but in reality it is not, and in fact, it may turn out to be a positive.  Before you throw your iPad across the room in disbelief, read on:

1.  Again, college coaches understand high school volleyball is unique, so don't sweat that hurting her recruiting.  Just let college coaches know, that because she is one of the top hitters on her high school team, she has to hit.  But, once club starts, she will be back setting full time.  Again, again, this is something college coaches are used to hearing.

2.  She will be getting setting touches in practice, just not as a 'setter' - As long as she is touching a ball, she is staying sharp.  If the team has a bunch of marginal hitters, then she will not really get better as a 'setter' anyways.

3.  For specific setting improvement, it would be better for her to go get private lessons to keep her technique correct and work on weaknesses.  Especially so, if her HS coach is not that talented of a coach!

4.  You won't change the mind of the hs coach, much less his personality.  Best thing to do, is just put that out of your mind and focus on what you can control, which is setting lessons and continuing with the outreach/management of college coaches.  

5.  Don't transfer high schools; that is cutting off a limb instead of putting a band aid on a cut.  It is only a few months, and before you know it, the play offs will be here and presto, club season is starting.

6.  Here is the positive - My belief is the best setters are or were hitters.  The reason I say this, is because setters who have been hitting understand the small things of hitting and having a hittable ball, and it is through these small things that great setters are created.  The Penn State setter is crazy good, and she was a hitter in club/high school, and only moved into full time setting very late (like when she arrived at PSU).

7.  Hitting is FUN!!! It is fun to crank the ball and celebrate with the team, and yell through the net and strut around.  She might as well enjoy it now, because in club and in college, she won't have this luxury, as setters need to be more cerebral than hitters.

In closing, it is not a bad thing, easily managed, and could make her a better setter as she gets older!

Coach Matt


  1. Are you talking about Kristen Carpenter or that Hancock girl?

  2. Great advice! Sometimes the parents can't see very clearly!


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