September 5, 2013

College Volleyball Recruiting Patience

Hello Coach Matt,

My daughter is a 2014 setter.  We've come to understand that it is a very deep recruiting class.  She didn't start playing volleyball until she was a freshman.  She is 5'9", very athletic, has great hands and a great vertical.  The last year or so she has really emerged as a very good player.  As a result of starting late, most D1 programs never heard of her before finalizing their 2014 class.  We do have some local D2 and NAIA scholarship offers on the table.  Coaches, parents etc, are asking us why we would consider playing at some of these schools when she should really be playing at a higher level.  (Because that's the offers we have!)

She would love to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level possible, especially at one of our D1 schools in the South East (our home region).  My questions is this:  Because the 2014 class is deep and large schools generally go every other year for setters, can she (or should she) offer to "redshirt" in 2014? (effectively making her a 2015 setter)

How do you even present that to a program?  If she does that, does the school basically pay for 5 years of college?

We feel she has a very high ceiling and has made incredible strides in 3 years.  Although we are very grateful for the opportunities already presented to her, some of these colleges can be a "step back" from her club experience.  Barring injury, with another strong club experience and continued hard work, she will grow exponentially again.

We are at a loss as to what to do.  Coaches say "wait" or "don't settle", but we are feeling the press going into her senior year of having to take what's on the table.  I was just wondering if making an offer to redshirt can make a difference.

Thank you for your time and incredibly helpful blog.



It can be tough as a setter because a scholarship is not available at every school, every year.  The only thing worse than being a setter is a Libero!!!!

If you were to put forth the red-shirt option, what you are saying is that you will pay the 1st year of her school, and she would begin a scholarship the second year (hopefully).  

What concerns me about such walk-on to scholarship scenarios (which is essentially what you are proposing), is that today's collegiate athletics/volleyball world is very unsettled.  If there is a coaching change, then then walk-on to scholarship scenario is gone.  If an unethical coach decides they found a better setter/player, then this scenario is gone.  If there is some injury or something dictates that in the best interests of the program, your daughter's future scholarship must go to a hitter, then this scenario is gone.

Even though it will keep you up at night, I would also caution patience - If your daughter has DI talent, then DII schools will wait on the line for her (even though a couple may walk away), and this will allow your family to engage DI schools.  The next three months are when scholarships open up in DI - Many, many schools say they are done recruiting a certain class, when in fact, they have just paused in recruiting that class.

Injuries, academics, coaching changes, family, relationships, etc., all impact the scholarship recruiting of college coaches.  There have been many times I was relieved to say I was done recruiting, only to have to re-engage recruiting because of one of the above examples.  

Right now, college coaches are deciding who will be cut from this year's roster and this is because practice has started.  Coaches can see who has not recovered from injury, who flunked a class in summer school, who showed up 20 lbs heavy, who is homesick or in love.  

This is why it is important for VolleyFamilies to stay active in the recruiting process, and to continue to reach out to college programs (even reach out a couple of times to the same program) because of the ever changing nature of recruiting.

Back to your question - Sure, an offer of redshirting is great, because the college coach gets a great player for free and can always change their mind if it suits the program better.  For a family, the walk on to scholarship route is filled with lions, tigers and bears!

Coach Matt

1 comment:

  1. <>

    so true... I once had a player (D3) who skipped out on her team to go home to be with her girlfriend on more than one weekend (when we had our important conference matches)

    parents threw up a hulabaloo when she didn't play when she finally did show up for a match


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