March 10, 2014

California Dreaming and College Volleyball!

Dear Matt,

I have very much appreciated your advice on this blog- you are positive, straightforward, and always seem to have a very thoughtful and complete reply to any question thrown your way.  I thank you for this obvious labor of love and I have benefitted from it!

I have a 17 year old Jr. just beginning her 17N club season in Ohio.  MB/OPP, 6'1'; currently approach jump 9'8 and block jump 9'3'.  Second team all league, HM all Region.  

She is hoping and planning to attend school and play in California, division 2, NAIA or division 3.  She absolutely loves the game of VB and feels she would keep loving it and work hard at this level while at college.  This fall she contacted, went out and met a couple of coaches from schools she's interested in and they both gave her a tour and asked her to send her JO schedule and tapes of her upcoming season.  

The dilemma is - How can we bridge the gap between all the tournaments and showcases she's playing in Ohio, IN and PA with all the local D2, D3, NAIA recruitment going on in CA- how can she keep herself as a prospect and on their radar even though she's too many miles away for them to watch her play?  Is it necessary to join a recruiting site for the several schools she's interested in or should she contact each and follow-up?  

We have planned a week in California at the end of April to visit more schools and keep working the plan.  But we don't quite have a plan.  Any insight you could provide would be so appreciated.

A million thanks for sharing your expertise.


Questions:  Do we send links to complete game tapes, or should we edit when she leaves rotation? Is a skills/highlight tape link a good idea?  Thanks Matt!

Thanks for the compliments on the site and glad it has helped - Remember that Inside College Volleyball makes a great Spring Break read!!!

So your daughter is 'California Dreamin'?  I can understand, because California is a cool place and loves volleyball.  Also, it only snows in the mountains versus everywhere else in the upper midwest!!!!

Her challenge lies in the fact that California is home to plenty of talented volleyball players and for the majority of schools (even the power conference DI's), then can successfully recruit the majority of their roster (if not all of it) from their state.  This translates into to very few non-DI's going out of state for recruiting reasons.

What she does have, which we did not as athletes, is technology to assist her.  She has to use technology to bridge the distance.  You asked about a recruiting service to assist; my belief is that everything a service does, a family can do, BUT does the family have the time and technology comfort level to do it?  Your daughter has identified a small segment of the USA to play college volleyball at, but it is a hyper completive segment of the USA in which to do so.  NCSA Athletic Recruiting, for example, makes the communication, outreach and research process extraordinarily effective/easy for their client families, and for these families the fee is well worth the trade off in time/energy/technology of doing it themselves.

Whether you use a NCSA or do it yourself, you need to be very consistent with your outreach efforts and use video as your main tool - College coaches always want to see video and current video; we would rather watch tv than read a book.  When using video, you have to make it as easy for the college coaches to view as possible (when I was a college coach, I always liked getting videos from NCSA because they were click and watch, with exactly what I wanted to see).  Skills videos are the best to send first, then have game videos (with dead time edited out) ready to send also.

Since the Cali colleges you are pursuing won't be making trips out to see your PSA play, your PSA will need to go west to play in front of them.  Each division you are looking at has rules on tryouts, which is what you would be basically be doing by your PSA playing on campus.  If she is too young for a tryout at the majority of the schools she is considering, then you might need to rethink your spring trip into a summer trip to participate in camps.  As a long time reader, you know my belief that camps are not a good vehicle for recruiting, but in your case, it may be the only vehicle available.  Just be sure that you are going to a camp where the coach really wants to see her play (not just really wants to cash your camp fee check).

The last thing that I will say, is her opportunity will be a result of her skills.  While everyone in the family is focused on the recruiting efforts, she must also stay focused on developing skill sets.  There is a reason the CA schools only have to recruit from their states; the players are very good.  If the local players were not good, then he Cali schools would all travel nationally to secure better talent.  The better player your daughter becomes, the more opportunities she will have!

Good luck!

Coach Matt

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