January 16, 2014

Club Team and College Volleyball Recruiting

Dear Coach,

I'm a volleymom of a 17u libero/DS.  I just went through a tough 36+ hours of waiting for 2014 club decisions to come out.  Fortunately for my daughter, she made the 17-1s team at the club she's been playing for the past couple years.  

One of her teammates from last year did not get the same offer.  She was offered a position on the 2's team instead.  This player (and her family) has decided she would rather sit out altogether than play on a 2's team and there's slim chance of getting on a competitive team elsewhere because most makeup dates have come and passed.  

My advice to them has been to sleep on it and then seriously consider pros and cons.  I cant imagine skipping club season is a good idea...  But what do I know?  

Thought I'd ask an expert!  It's sad to see a player's disappointment about what club team she made lead to her giving up volleyball altogether.

My questions to you are twofold:

1) If this player's dream is to play in college and she sits out her Junior year, how much damage will it do to her chances of getting recruited?

2) how big of an impact does playing on a 1's vs 2's team have on recruiting outcomes?  I believe she's interested in playing as a DS/L at mid to low level D1s, possibly D2.

Thank you for answering these questions!


As I have written about in Inside College Volleyball, the junior year of club volleyball tends to be the prime year for recruiting, and it is tough to support taking this year off.  

The libero/ds position tends to be the last one scholarship'ed/roster'ed and many times will occur in the senior year.  The junior year is important because the comprehensive evaluations by collegiate coaches are taking place, and they are establishing their recruiting protocols.  Taking this year off is not a deal killer, but it certainly impacts the potential number of opportunities and stress level as a senior.

Playing on a 2's team, versus a 1's team, for a libero has very little impact.  College coaches understand teams won't carry 4 or 5 liberos like they do hitters; we know that 2's and 3's club teams will have talented liberos/ds's available.  We judge talent, not the team number.  

Families have to remember that it all shakes out in terms of playing at the appropriate level in college - If you have elite DI talent and reach out to these schools, then you will play elite DI volleyball.  If you have D2 talent, and reach out to D2 schools, then you will play D2 volleyball.  It is rare you see a D2 college player and think, "she should really be playing at an elite D1 school".

Unfortunately, families will internalize volleyball evaluations and turn them into personal or family evaluations.  If she made the 2nd team, there was probably a reason related to talent level/physical ability and the family should realize that if they want her at a 1st level team, she should work to get better.  

College coaches don't have a 2nd team to place kids on in the don't perform; the coach just cuts the player. This is when the hard truth often hits families.


  1. Would the family have her accepted on 1s team and ride the bench the whole season or take 2s team offer and play. As you say coach, she would have kept getting touches and possibly gotten even better a player because of it. Pride does get in the way, but looking at it from another perspective the club did the player a favor. And never put all your eggs in one basket...in hindsight family sees she might have gone to more than one tryout. This can be said too of not reaching out to as many colleges as you can, even the ones you have low interest in. Just never know.

  2. If you love volleyball you play wherever/whenever/however you get the opportunity! And you miss it very much when you don't get to play. Doesn't sound like the girl really loves volleyball as much as she loves the status of playing for a 1s team or pleasing her parents. My daughter had the choice this year to play on a 1s team and probably ride the bench or be in the starting rotation of a lesser competitive team. It was tough because all her friends were on the 1s team, but she decided she wanted to play and went to the other team.

  3. At some clubs the 2s team is just an extension of the 1s team...this was the case my daughter's 17s year. Just AS MANY college coaches made it to her games as did the 1s team...the 2s played the same tournaments, same divisions. She is now the happy freshman S/DS for a great-fit Div II college. But you and family need to initiate the outreach - any other coaches who may just stop by and see you play are a bonus.


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