December 18, 2014

College volleyball recruiting and the Libero Position

My daughter is a senior and was the starting libero this year on her school team. She helped lead her team to the 3rd round of playoffs with an area championship in 6A. She is very passionate about volleyball and wants to play in college.  She was not a starter last year on hs team and was only on a 2nd national team at her club.  

She didn't really start the recruiting process until this year.  She has reached out to some coaches only to find out they have already recruited for 2015.  She will more than likely be on the top team this club season. She will be attending some tryouts for some jc and one D3 school.  She had an amazing year. But afraid she may be a late bloomer in the volleyball college scene. 

Any suggestions for her?


There is still a lot of time left on the senior recruiting clock, especially for the Libero/Defensive Specialist position.  

As I have written in Inside College Volleyball, this is the crazy time of college volleyball - College Volleyball coaches are being fired, hired, retired, etc. All of this results in massive roster changes; immediate and into the spring.  Back in the day of $1 gasoline, a coaching change was not a big deal for the security of the players.  But, in today's collegiate atmosphere, a coaching change means massive player instability!

How does this affect your daughter?  This crazy time will mean more opportunities for her this winter and spring, versus when she was reaching out to college coaches in the fall.

It is also the crazy time of college volleyball because post season player meetings occur now and at the start of the winter semester - Players get cut by their coach, players quit because they are homesick (mom's cooking, familiar surroundings, boyfriends (shudder)), players flunk out, the medical staff tells the coach a player may have a season/career ending injury.

How does this affect your daughter?  See above.

In my recruiting education talks for NCSA Athletic Recruiting, I will humorously say that "Liberos are Last" in the college volleyball process.  While humorous, it is generally the truth.  In any graduating class recruiting effort, college coaches will focus on the attackers first, the setters next and always the liberos last.  

All of the above examples (college coaching changes, post season player meetings and libero recruiting timing) create the situation where libero families must be consistent and patient in their recruiting outreach.  What 'was' last summer and this fall, is not what 'is' right now - Keep reaching out, keep managing the process because an opportunity for a libero may only come open for one week, and if you are not consistent in your outreach, then another libero who was, will get that opportunity.

There is a small silver lining to this Libero is Last timing - Even though it can be stressful on families, the late commitment/signing of liberos means that there is less of a chance that something will go wrong before an incoming libero starts school.  There is more craziness in collegiate athletics than ever before, and those players which may commit as freshman, have to endure 4 years of possible changes before their daughter gets to school.  Not only 4 years of possible changes, but to say that a player as a freshman is the same person (personality, desires, maturity, educational goals, etc) that she is as a senior is just false.  This is such an important, once in a lifetime decision, that the more mature the player and the more educated/experienced the family, the better the outcome.

To wrap this up in a nice Holiday bow; keep reaching out to college volleyball programs which are the best fit (academically, athletically, geographically, financially), send video often and manage the process.

Coach Sonnichsen

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