April 6, 2015

Junior Year Recruiting Management

Hey Coach,

Awesome site and most helpful as we volley parents attempt to make sense of the recruiting process.

Our daughter falls into what I read you describe as the Toyota Camry of the college volleyball recruiting process. The 5'10" outside with good athletic ability. She can hit most shots, plays 6 rotations and has nice hands and sets occasionally. 

We follow your recruiting plan outlined in your book but wanted to get some further clarification from you in the recruiting process. We have a pretty solid out reach program with info fliers and youtube link that we send out with film. We are also being realistic as to what schools we reach out too (mostly mid to lower D1 and competitive D2/NAIA).

Now for the questions..... Please share insights on screening the schools to determine which are sincerely interested vs just dragging us along for the ride? I imagine that being a Toyota Camry, many schools may want to drag you along just as a back up plan in the event that they can't get the 6' kid that they have atop their list. Seeing that we are now in February, any advice on how much time to give a school before writing them off? Should we hold out for a D1 or jump if a nice D2 or NAIA offer comes along? Also, regarding unofficial visits, most schools will gladly accept a potential recruit to pay their way for a visit but any insight on qualifying a potential school before paying for an unofficial visit? Also, how should we view the school that emails to invite to their summer camp seeing that our daughter will be a senior next year? Lastly, is it realistic for a Camry recruit to receive offers during the spring or summer prior to their senior year or do they typically go into their Senior year before receiving offers?

Thanks again for your insights.

Unfrozen Volley Parents

Glad to hear that collegevolleyballcoach.com and Inside College Volleyball have been a positive resource for your family during the recruiting process. It sounds as if you are doing a great job of managing the process and putting your daughter into the best position to make the best decision for her future!

As you mentioned, the timing of being a Camry can be a challenge because each college volleyball coach will have a different tempo in their recruitment of these solid, all around players.  One of the new trends which I have observed, is how college programs, especially D1, will slow down their recruiting efforts of Juniors during the late spring/summer.  I think this is a result of the college coach wanting to 'hold' that scholarship for a bit to see what comes around the corner.  

In today's college volleyball recruiting environment, there are late opportunities for a program to secure a college transfer (JC or 4 year), an international player, a talented high school senior returning from injury, etc.  College coaches have learned not to offer a scholarship to a Camry in the late spring/summer of the Junior year, just incase a more talented recruit comes available the next recruiting season.

I now counsel Junior families not to panic and take a "good enough" scholarship offer in the summer or fall of their Senior year, but to wait until the next club season to see what comes around their corner.  With the craziness of today's college volleyball climate, just as coaches are waiting for a better recruit, families should consider waiting for a better college program/coach as a result of job changes and roster changes (kids quitting or getting cut).

Because of the stall game that many college programs employ, and my advice for Junior families to also stall, managing the communication can be a challenge.  My advice is to keep 'chatting' with all the current schools, along with using the fall to reach out to new schools.  You have to keep in casual communication with so many schools as a Junior Camry, because of the potential upside of a scholarship offer.  Casual because you can't force the mindset of the coach and you don't want to show your hand in poker first.

With regards to a low DI or better D2/NAIA, that is really a function of your family's comfort zone.  A DI scholarship will be a full, while the D2/NAIA will be a package scholarship that could vary in amount from a small partial to a full offer (combined scholarship avenues).  In general, the majority of D2/NAIA schools will wait until the Senior year to secure their recruits (majority but not entirety).  

My advice is to put the recruiting process into managed cruise control at this juncture - Keep in casual communication with programs, keep reaching out to new programs, keep your PSA focused on developing her skill sets because talent creates opportunities, only make an unofficial visit if the school directly extends an invite and it is a school that is of interest for your PSA, and the hardest part of all…..be patient; while it is daunting to believe, the winter of the senior year brings a ton of new scholarship and roster opportunities.  

Camps, never for recruiting…….



  1. This subject is right on time. Like the writer, our daughter is a Toyota Camry. We sent out our emails late in the junior year and did receive some interest. Especially before the Las Vegas Classic, which included a showcase of unsigned seniors. They told us to keep them posted as the season progresses. They are interested but are obviously holding out for bigger talent.

    In looking at the Spring Rosters of the schoools daughter is interested in, the cuts have been made. One school where were invited by the coach to come to their summer camp, one of the new recruits, an incoming freshman was especially friendly with my daughter. We went to their games and she played. Now, she is nowhere on the roster. Neither are 2 other underclassmen. I'm not sure if the girls opted out of playing spring ball, or whether they were not asked to come back. But it just goes to show you that anything can happen between now and their fall season.

    So it seems the best thing to do is keep a positive attitude, and keep the skills sharp, plus sending out more video. Our club coach tells us tales of a shorter player getting multiple offers in her senior year whereas she had none in the junior year. Two girls on our 18s team, just received and accepted offers. Ideal school? Not sure, but they are willing to try it for their freshman year.

    Hang in there, and best of luck!

  2. Love your book, have referenced it a lot over these past 4 years. Our daughter is now a Junior- and a setter. The recruiting process is stressful, and your comment is so great - " you can't force the mindset of the coach and you don't want to show your hand in poker first." That is so true!
    Our daughter has been in touch with a D2 coach for over a year, went to her first unofficial visit this week, practiced with the team and she left feeling great about it all. She waited a few days before emailing the coach to get her honest feedback.. The coach said, she was impressed with her play and all she does on the court. However, she just made an offer to another setter two weeks ago and is waiting to hear back and that she is going to be watching another setter this weekend as well. But yet, in the same sentence she says she can see our daughter on her roster? To me, it sounds like our daughter is the 2nd or 3rd choice. So we just need to keep reaching out to other schools and sending film. We honestly don't know how to reply back to the coach at this moment.... any feedback on that???
    Our club coach says, setters are at a premium for the class of 2016 and to just hold on, a lot will be happening her senior year - so were going with that for now.


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