July 9, 2014

Managing Early Volleyball Recruiting Process

Coach - love the book, love the web site and appreciate everything you do for those of us type A's that are trying our best to control what you accurately describe as a very fluid situation when it comes to recruiting.   I have come to the conclusion the only thing a parent can control is how much they know about the process and your efforts have been invaluable to me.
Now my only concern is when you say absolutely don't worry about recruiting the Freshman year.  Something I heard recently in a Educational Seminar that a Giant State U Coach was giving was they are done with 2015's and have been for a long time, we already have offers to 2016 grads out and have a board of 2017/2018 and even 2019 Grads that they are already recruiting.  2016 Grads are for the most part 16's in Club this year so that makes 2019's 13's - yikes!  I have a 13 and a 15  - the 13 can't consistently walk, chew gum and pass a good ball at the same time but is much better than our older daughter when she was a 13..  
  Then another coach said  - hey there are two 2018's here at this camp that have multiple offers already from very large schools.  This caused great concern amongst the parent group in that room as many of them were 12,13,14,15 and even 16 parents that clearly hadn't been thinking about college.  
 The consensus of all of the D1 Coaches was it doesn't hurt to start early. I then asked "how does anyone know you are actually interested" and they replied they contact the Club Coaches.  I suspect this is great for the big historically successful Texas/California/etc clubs but what about those clubs back in the lower populated areas?   
Many club directors at this camp are telling their parents to also start early.  Our club said don't worry about it for our 15 and my type A took over and I still put together a plan for her "just in case".   Our recruiting plan for our 15  has been  email outreach to schools in our immediate area at every level to coaches that she has met prior and it would be convenient for them to come watch.  She got seen quite a bit at events in our region by these coaches.  She is still mostly anonymous nationally as she hasn't gone full out but aren't these coaches creating a monster for them to manage?  If every 13,14, 15 year old's parent starts filling their in boxes with recruiting info - then how will any of them have time to look at the kids that have actually developed into prospects?  
  On the other hand - if we as parents don't reach out and get in the race then will our kids lose out on their favorite schools because they recruited their commits so early?    I suspect the answer is not to get too concerned and I agree I just wanted to point out that at least in our area - things seem to be really speeding up and the coaches all acknowledged this - maybe you can shed some more light on this topic if this trend continues. 


Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and www.collegevolleyballcoach.com - glad to know that I have been able to assist you with the recruiting process.

The most important thing that college coaches do is recruit, and their number one focus in recruiting is their employment.  Because of their recruiting efforts, they keep their jobs, they get raises, they get better jobs or they get fired. 

With this in mind, of course the DI college coaches are telling families to engage in the recruiting process earlier.  As for the clubs, the larger ones tend to have the best pathways of communications with college coaches and the club's motivation is business; looks great when they have players going off to major universities as a selling point to future club families.

I have three reasons for making the broad statement that families should not worry about the recruiting process as Freshman:

1)  This is the most important decision of a young person's life, and to make it as a freshman in high school is illogical.  The athlete is only 15 years old, and sometimes 14 years old; the vast majority of these young kids don't have the maturity to make such a decision, even with the support/input of the parents.

2.  Even though the early recruitment/commitments gets our attention, this is a very small percentage of the total club volleyball population.  For every Porsche who commits early, there are 1000 Toyotas who won't; don't get caught up in another's recruitment cycle.  Unless your child is clearly a top 10 recruit, it is illogical to ramp up your recruiting tempo (and even if she is, see #3).  Better to keep things mellow, as to better focus after the Freshman year.

3.  There is too much uncertainty in today's DI athletics and college volleyball world. Between the propensity of college coaches to cut players (One and Done, and None and Done), along with the coaching turnover, makes for a very uncertain collegiate volleyball existence.  Unless it is absolutely a player's dream school, and they would absolutely stay at the that school if no longer a part of the team, making a freshman commitment is not a good choice.

Parents have to remember that they have the power, even though they think that the college coaches do - The player/family says yes or no.  There are any number of quality collegiate programs out there, at so many levels; if one DI program won't wait for a sophomore or junior commitment, then there will be another program (DI or not) who will.


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