April 24, 2014

Managing the Recruiting Process

Hi Coach,

My daughter is a 5'8" junior setter with great grades (over 4 GPA and 32 ACT) and test scores.  Her club team has been plagued with injuries, losing their top middle, libero, and outside hitter.  She has been struggling to keep her offense quick but with having pin hitters play middle, and many poorly passed balls,she has had to improvise.   She has had numerous coaches from low d1 to d3 regularly correspond with her over the past 9 months or so.  Before the injuries, she sent out her schedule, and now they are coming to watch.  A few d3 schools told her immediately that she is a top recruit and complimented her, another favorite school of hers said she loved the way she moved to poorly passed balls, but would like a faster offense, and a low d1 school hasn't responded to her email asking what he thought.  It has been 8 days.   Should she take this as a sign of lack of interest or just busy evaluating others before they respond to her?  She has already unofficially visited and met the team…

Also, since this injury situation is really impacting her ability to show what she can really do, what should she do?  She does have video on her profile showing her quick offense skills which originally sparked the interest of these coaches… I guess we can look at this situation as making her stronger…they do see her running all over the court to get these balls and make the most of it.??   Part of me thinks we should stop them from coming to watch, but it's kind of late for that now.  And, of course,  she wouldn't want to look like she's blaming others or making excuses by trying to explain the situation...

Thanks for your advice! M.

When it comes to recruiting setters, college coaches tend to be more deliberate in their efforts and slower in the process; at least it is not as slow as liberos (who are last), but setters do fall behind the OH's and MB's.

It makes sense all the NCAA D3's want her because of her outstanding grades (she will be admitted and receive significant scholarship supports), in addition to her setting skills.

During this time frame, the NCAA DI programs are all crazy busy with recruiting and team training (remember that every DI program runs an "off season" which starts the first day of winter semester and goes until Finals week of winter semester for volleyball training), so coaches can be slow with communicating, especially lower DI's which don't enjoy the staffing support they should (when compared to mid and upper level DI's).

Any college coach worth their smart phone can see that your daughter's team is patching holes by moving players around, and if they can't see that, then you would not want your PSA playing for them anyways.

Focus on what you can control right now - Her effort/ability and the outreach/communication to collegiate programs.  

Don't let her lose her playing focus; if she has 5 liberos on the court then she needs to find a way to make them competitive hitters because this is the job a setter.  She may not have the perfect roster, but she can still make the perfect set to the best option of her attackers.  Staying positive, working hard, being supportive of her team mates and not getting frustrated will speak volumes to observing coaches.

Expand your outreach efforts; you can never have enough college coaches coming to watch.  What about DII?  Division II is a great competitive level, and you can package out scholarships so her great academics can be combined with an athletic scholarship - I would be stunned if she would not have any number of full scholarship packages waiting for her at the DII level.  

Expand your DI list; include many low DI's, many mid DI's and a few upper DI's - The worst thing they can do is not respond, the best thing they can do is come watch and be impressed - Only good things can happen when you expand your outreach.

Good luck!

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