April 7, 2014

Slow Down and Enjoy Volleyball


I found your website a few days ago and was glad that I did. I had a few questions that I was wondering if you could provide me guidance or tips of what I can do to help out my daughter. I am relatively new to the sport of volleyball and want to make sure that I provide solid decisions for my daughter.

My daughter has really fallen in love with the sport and I am trying to help her growth by making the right decisions so that she can grow and play in college.

My daughter now is going into her second year of playing volleyball. She most likely will not be a very tall volleyball player just due to genetics, I am only 5’ 9” and her birth mom is only 5’ 2”. She as of right now is 11 years old and is in the 5th grade, she started playing club volleyball last year. She also played for her school team. 

We now are playing volleyball about 10-11 months out of the year. Going into this year we were told by some of the club coaches that they felt my daughter should for sure make the 12U elite team so we tried out for the 12U age group with full knowledge that she could easily play with the 11’s. My daughter made one of the 12 regional teams. She is the youngest player on the team and also the shortest. My daughter’s coach has asked my daughter to play libero for the team. In talking with the coach, and before she had ever told my daughter what position she was going to play, the coach had informed me that libero was her favorite position and that she wanted my daughter to play it as she is really good as passing and moving on the court. Which leads to my first question of, is it too young for my daughter to become a specialized player?

We both have full plans to after the indoor season is over to move outside to play beach volleyball. This will be this club’s first year offering beach volleyball but from my understanding the more touches I can get her the better off she will be. My daughter is the type of player that thrives on being challenged is why we decided to play up one age group and also to play sand volleyball. Is it too early to play sand volleyball?

My daughter has also mentioned that she wants to go to some of the college volleyball camps. Is it too early for her to start going to these camps to make an impact with the coaches for future college scholarships? Essentially I want to help her get on the coach’s radar but just do not know when do they actually start taking note of the players. Some of the college’s clinics my daughter wants to visit are 12 + hours away from home, which I do not mind, as long as it would help her out in the future.

At the age and grade that my daughter is in, what do we need to focus on right now?
I look forward to hearing back from you and I really do appreciate your time.


Thank you for your email and I am glad you found collegevolleyballcoach.com also!!!

My biggest impression from your email is that you are passionate about your daughter and her Volleyball development/success.  My second biggest impression is this is WAY too early to worry about anything other than getting touches on the ball.

1.  Club volleyball is specialized at birth, so the coaches are going to do what the coaches are going to do - The focus here is to have fun and improve, even though the coaches are specializing (side note, this is a big weakness in USA youth Volleyball when compared to other countries).

2.  Never too early to play beach/sand volleyball - I played at a very early age with my parents and loved it; great way to balance the specialization of the indoor game is by the all around sand game.

3.  At her age, college camps should just be for fun and traveling 12 hours in a car for a camp/clinic cannot be a lot of fun (or maybe it could be if you make it a father/daughter adventure trip?)   Her physical development has not progressed to really garner intense training and to look at it from a recruiting perspective is illogical. This should be viewed as fun touches, at a college and you get a cool t-shirt from a school people may know.

Please, please, please just let her play - Absolutely do not worry about recruiting until her sophomore year in high school; she sounds to be a libero and libero's are last in the recruiting process anyways.  

Just keep feeding her volleyball touches when she wants them but never make her eat too much volleyball at her young age!



  1. Also, most liberos do not receive a college scholarship. Playing the first two years without a scholarship and then the last two years with money is common. I have seen so many parents paying the big bucks for club because of the college scholarship. Go into this with your eyes wide open. Also, the scholarship should never be the goal.

  2. "At her age, college camps should just be for fun and traveling 12 hours in a car for a camp/clinic cannot be a lot of fun"

    Good point! Don't push that passion too hard too fast because you might just burn your daughter out. Keep it about learning and growing as a player for now, developing that passion even more so. There is time to get real serious.


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