January 29, 2015

College Volleyball Recruiting patience

Hi Coach I thought it was time check in with you again!  Darling Daughter is a 6’1” 2016 MB.  We have been using NCSA paid version for a year now and I think it has helped get her looks and attention.  We have made 9 or so unofficial visits so far and have been as active as possible as the budget permits.  4 DI programs are sincerely interested:  2 smaller DI conference programs (i.e., they are really DI? LOL), 1 Big East and 1 CUSA).  All would be great opportunities.  A couple of Patriot League schools and an Ivy League program seem interested as well but we haven’t been as active with them because it appears that the athletic scholarships there are not as readily available - although certainly we are still pursuing and reaching out.

Our question/problem is that all of the 4 interested DI programs where DD has visited and met the Coach are very good at staying interested but not letting on HOW interested.  Example, we just came back from an invited visit at one of the smaller DI schools and had a great visit and the Coach is definitely interested, but won’t directly answer the “where am I at on your list?” question, which DD asked directly.  Answers vary but are usually like – we’re not at that stage yet, you are on our PSA list but we’ve not narrowed it down yet, we see you playing at this level and think you can help us but we are not ready to make offers yet etc.  Many have said that we plan on making decisions and offers to 2016s late February early March this year – is that usual for mid to lower DI?  Most indicated that they would like to see her play in person again  so presumably that is what they are waiting on – to check as to how far she has improved and how she plays against other top club teams (luckily her team is a solid Open team and will play against really good competition).  I can definitely understand that but the waiting game is tough.

The impression I get as the adult here is that the Coaches are interested but not yet 100% sold – there still might be someone better out there LOL,  so let’s play the waiting game.  Is that usual and we just need to be patient?  If she is fortunate enough to receive an offer from the smaller DIs is it ok to (politely of course) shop it with the bigger DI schools that she may be more interested in?  Or is that what the smaller Dis are trying to avoid – they don’t want to be the first school to offer and have it shopped around?  Each program knows we have made other visits and other schools are interested -- but isn’t that true with any decent recruit?  You mentioned before that the Coaches dictate the timing of the process and boy are we right in the thick of that!

Signed, ITD (in the dark sucks)

Glad to hear that NCSA Athletic Recruiting has been able to empower your daughter's name/skill with college coaches!

A few things stand out with your email; 1) That is fantastic that you have been able to take unofficial visits with so many programs.  All too often, VolleyFamilies don't take enough visits which is critical for educating themselves on all the variables! 2) Your tempo/timing is appropriate in terms of the DI schools looking at your daughter. 3)  There is a huge difference between upper and lower DI volleyball programs and this difference is only becoming more pronounced each year.

With the craziness of college volleyball recruiting, there is the perception that all DI's commit their recruits when they are freshman or maybe grade school.  But, the Junior year is still the prime scholarship/roster spot year for recruits.  The elite D1's may well offer those recruits which are barely into their teens, and the low level DI programs are offering seniors late in the spring, but (again) the majority of DI opportunities come late Junior year into the early senior year.

The mid to lower level DI programs are currently in their prime evaluation and thus "stalling mode".  As they are in that great in-between of attainable recruiting talent, they are looking/re-looking/evaluating/searching for the best possible player.  This means they are looking for that diamond in the rough, that player who just started club, that quality player who was #2 or 3 on the power conference program's recruiting board, etc.  This results in coaches wanting to delay the recruiting offer scenario into February or March (for Juniors) because they don't want to commit a scholarship in January, and then have a really talented player land on their door step.

Also, the Junior year is when recruits tend to make their big jump in talent/physicality.  Many players can flatten out in their skills, while others will make this noticeable jump in ability; the college coaches are keen to see if their recruit makes that jump in ability and this is usually apparent come late January to early February.

Absolutely, absolutely and absolutely express to other potential collegiate programs that your PSA has a scholarship offer on the table from a certain level/school Division I.  College Volleyball recruiting is a business and you must use whatever vehicles available to give your daughter the huge benefit of having a choice!

In closing, keep working the process, keep communicating with current programs and reaching out to new schools - There have been a lot of college coaching changes and your daughter could be the perfect player for one of these new coaches!

Coach Sonnichsen

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