January 13, 2014

Two Sport College Athlete Question


Stumbled across your site today, it seems great. Glanced and didn't see anything related to my 3 question... so here it goes.

My daughter plays 3 sports, has always put her focus on softball and has been playing travel ball since 5th grade, now a junior. She has played volleyball since 7th grade, and is a setter. She's quite good, and lots of people encourage her to try for a volleyball scholarship because in our geographic area there are not alot of setters for coaches to pull from. She only wants Division 1 or 2 that offers scholarships, and our question is...

1. Is it possible at either NCAA or NAIA to play two sports and get money from both? Her ultimate dream would be to be division 1 softball and also volleyball but maybe on a JV team to allow her time to make up for loss of club ball training.

2. What are your thoughts and if you answer yes, would you let the college advisor help me to contact both, or us individually contact each coach from each sport and tell or not tell them our intentions?

3. I wondered if you could tell my what type of key stats would I need for volleyball, as we are getting a late start, but wont to try. I saw something about jump heighth, etc. but what else if any does she need.

Please advice and thank you so much in advance.

Gretchen Volleyball Mom :)

Thank you for the compliments on the site and I do think it is great!

The collegiate athletics scenario you are talking about is really no longer possible; maybe 15 years ago, but not today.

Collegiate athletics demand individual sport preparation focus, especially at the high school age level through travel or club based sports.  At the NCAA Division I level, a dual sport athlete was rare and mainly happened in a fall team sport (football, volleyball) and a spring individual sport (track, softball).  It used to be more common at the NCAA DII and NAIA level, but even that has now become a rarity.  The dual sport collegiate athlete is now mostly seen at the NCAA Division III level.

Before I can address your questions, there is a bit of information you need to be aware of.

-  NCAA Division I volleyball mandates club volleyball to develop the skill sets necessary to compete at this elite level.  Not only does club volleyball represent another 8 months of touches upon the ball, it also empowers a higher level of match play.  As a DI setter, your daughter would be expected to run any offensive system demanded of her on Day 1.  

-  Club volleyball has almost become the expectation for NCAA DII and NAIA volleyball.  Most often, DII and NAIA does not equate into lessor skills sets than DI but rather lesser height.  That 6'1" DI OH who can jump high, pass nails and bang balls, is now a 5'9" DII OH that can jump high, pass nails and bang balls.  The experience and training level is often time the same, which means the majority of the players came through the club volleyball system.

-  In NCAA Division I athletics, there is a hierarchy when it comes to team participation and scholarships.  In women's sports, it is basketball, then volleyball, then softball, then other sports.  An athlete on scholarship with one sport, can only play 'down' to another.  So a volleyball scholarship athlete can play with softball, but a softball scholarship athlete cannot play volleyball.

-  I am not quite as clear with NCAA Division II scholarships and team participation, but I think it is some type of matrix in which programs can split scholarship loads.  But, most coaches don't want to split a scholarship because they don't want to split a player - DII and NAIA coaches, just like DI coaches, want their players to focus on their sport.  

OK - Now to your questions:

1.  It is only possible at the DII and NAIA level (I think, per their rules), not DI (per my example above).  In addition, DI volleyball programs don't have JV teams.  On the collegiate level, I have heard of JV volleyball teams only at the NAIA level.

2.  What you are proposing would not be received well by the vast majority of collegiate coaches (not matter the category or level).  Collegiate sports is an intense endeavor where athletes are expected to specialize in their preparation in the high school ages, as to be skilled enough to succeed when they arrive to college.  I strongly suggest that you have your daughter focus on one sport for college - She needs to be come the "master of one", as opposed to a jack of all trades.

3.  College volleyball recruiting is based upon video and watching a player compete/train in person.  You could write me a letter saying your PSA is 6'3" and touches 10'2", and my response would be "great, send me a tape".  I don't think stats carry the weight in volleyball, like they may in softball, especially a setter.  Just put together an outreach email letter which includes her height, block jump touch, approach jump touch and her experience, along with her contact letter.  AND, make sure you have a video ready to send to college coaches.

In closing, I will say, if you have not gathered this yet, that playing NCAA or NAIA volleyball without having the club volleyball training will be a big challenge.

Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Playing two sports in college isn't impossible, but it's certainly extra hard to make happen and an unbelievable commitment. I think most coaches like to see well-rounded players that play different sports during the off-season, but it's hard to be a master at more than one.


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