May 1, 2014

No Club Volleyball - How to manage recruiting.

Hey Coach,

I am a first year 5A high school head volleyball coach in Texas and have some recruiting questions that I would like your opinion on. First, I have a talented group of juniors (seniors in 2014-15 season) this year who are pretty much all looking to play college ball. For the most part I haven’t had any part in their recruiting processes because they all have wealthy parents who have reached out themselves or who have hired someone to help them. But I do have one MB/OPP who is not as fortunate and I want to help her in any way I can. I have been reading your posts on the importance of club, but she had to quit club this year due to financial reasons. I have no doubt she has the talent to play in a D2, D3, or NAIA and she is will do whatever it takes to get there. In short, she is a player I would be more than willing to stick my neck out for. But, she doesn’t have parents as invested as she is. So my questions……

What can I do as her school coach to help get her recruited?

Do you have any tips on working around the no-club situation?

Thanks for your feedback!


First of all, kudos to you for helping your player reach towards the next level of volleyball and school.  Because of the dominance of club volleyball, many high school coaches understandably have stepped away from the recruiting process.

To assist her in the collegiate process, you have to empower her. College coaches are not too keen on high school coaches leading the effort because they want to hear from the athlete.  If you do all the reach out, my first response as a coach is, why am I not hearing from the players or parent.

Sit down with her, figure out her comfort zone with regards to academics, distance from home, reputation of the program (will she play right away or sit for a year or two), big city/small city, big school/small school, etc.  After you have a general idea, then start her emailing programs basically saying "hello, here I am and come recruit me!".

Don't hesitate to use NCSA Athletic Recruiting's Free site, which can serve as an excellent resource for NCAA rules, along with researching college programs!

As for no-club volleyball; it happens and college coaches understand that sometimes club just is not a possibility.  This is where video is your biggest resource; as you are the coach, she will have access to a gym/net/balls, so she can shoot multiple skills videos.  And videos today are silly easy because of smart phones/tablets and youtube.  Shoot it, edit it, upload it and send out the link to college coaches.

Hopefully your city is big enough that she can jump in with low cost adult leagues (indoor, sand, grass) to keep her skill sets up.  In some ways, playing against adults can be the best thing that happens to young players because they can pick up so much!

Good luck and just take the challenge head on!

Coach Sonnichsen


  1. AnonymousMay 02, 2014

    I just wanted to commend this high school coach for trying to help this young lady move on to her next goal of playing college ball. I have a DD who is a senior this year and is going on to play D3 ball and is receiving a great academic scholarship. Playing college ball was her goal and her passion - we told her if that is what you want - we will help you and support you any way we can but, if that is your goal, you will need to do the work. She did - just like she has done with her academics - she sent the emails, edited the video clips we took, etc. In the end, because she knew what she wanted - she found a good fit for herself and is looking forward to playing the next level of VB. Several of her teammates also claimed to want to play at the next level. However, they either did little to no work to be recruited or their parents did all the work and communicating and, in the end, a number of them are not playing college ball or not where they had originally "hoped". My point is - if the player really wants to play at the next level, they will do the work to get there - and it will be seen by the college coaches. If they aren't willing to do the work - maybe its more the parents' goal then the players and in the end, that usually shows as well. Since this young lady seems to have parents who are not showing much interest, maybe they are waiting to see if this is in fact her "goal", plus, they may not be sure what they need to do to help. You might first talk with her to see what she wants, envisions going, and then have another meeting with her and her parents to make sure that they understand what is going on and how you all need to help her get there. Good luck to her and your high school team. They are lucky to have a coach like you!

  2. AnonymousMay 13, 2014

    If this girl is still looking for a university I know the University of the Southwest is looking for a middle and is handy to most of Texas. Great NAIA School with money. I would contact the Head Coach asap and directly! :))) My daughter plays for them.


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