First, I wanted to thank you for your book! It answered every question I had (and questions that I did not know I should have) about college volleyball. This is a world I never thought we would be finding ourselves in five or six years ago, and I am so appreciative for your knowledge and guidance!
We have a very smart, lefty right side hitter - Her approach touch is 9'8". She is a sophomore, she loves volleyball and really wants to play in college. Last summer, she went to a summer camp at a Top 10 program and had a great time (she would like to go back). But she is not 6'5" so we don't think it's likely she'll actually be playing for this team. She also did the USA HP Camp, and loved that as well -- but we are hearing it may be a better use of her time this summer to attend the camps of schools she is interested in.
A lot of the schools she is hoping to play for on the West Coast don't seem to have as structured overnight camps as the Top 10 program -- for example, some are co-ed, some are ages 10+, some are "all skills" etc. so it's hard to tell which ones she would benefit the most from. She is also looking at several East Coast schools. She is 15, so she is open to a lot of different options! Do you have any recommendations on really good summer women's volleyball camp programs? She only has about four weeks in the summer (assuming her team goes to JOs) that she can attend camps, and we would really like to send her to the ones where she will be getting the best experience for the cost (which can be pretty expensive). Or, maybe we should be sending her to what may end up being not-so-structured camps, but the coaches get to see her? Or maybe she does USA High Performance again because it's a great experience?
Your help is very much appreciated.
p.s. I should add, I would love to keep her around this summer. It was weird having her gone so much at 14. I would like to make the most of the time we have left with her, but I understand this is what she wants to do ... If there's a happy medium, that would be great. :)
Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and I am happy to know that my book has served as a positive resource for your management of the recruiting process.
If you have read through my posts on collegevolleyballcoach.com, then you should know my opinion on camps for recruiting…..not a good choice. Camps are not reality; they are not the best way to be discovered or to evaluate a school's volleyball program because how a program/school operates during camps, is not how they will operate during the school year or season (especially true of NCAA DI programs). If a player wants to see a variety of campuses, then use that camp money to go on a few unofficial visits; one camp cost can fund multiple unofficial visits.
Camps should be viewed in two ways; a volleyball vacation and/or a training opportunity. As you alluded to in your email, there are so many variances in college volleyball camps that it can be a challenge to determine what is a 'good' camp in terms of training. I wish I could objectively tell you that State University has a great camp for skill development or State College teaches the Fujian swing offense perfectly, but there is no way to do so.
This is my suggestion based upon her age, position and timeframe of the summer - No summer camps and play sand volleyball. With only 4 weeks off and being 15 years old, she needs time to recover physically. A big mistake I see families make is not having down time for their kids. Sure, a 15 year old can play a ton and not seem to need a big block of time off, but that wear and tear bill will be paid when they are a senior in high school or early in college. Down time allows her to recover physically and mentally, and 4 weeks of no indoor will not have a negative impact upon her skill sets.
If she wants/needs to play, then find a sand court and let her play doubles. Sand doubles has always been a great way to improve skills, teach competitiveness and provide a low impact work out.