What a wonderful site! You seem like you have lots of great advice, and I have been reading your responses with great interest. I just ordered your book too!
I have a 13 year old daughter who is playing 6 rotations as an outside hitter for an elite club team that has great national prospects. She also has participated in HP USAV A1 and A2 programs.
She is 5’10” and has the goal of playing for a Division 1 school like UCLA or Stanford. I noticed that the OHs on the rosters of these schools are all over 6’ tall, with many in the 6’2”-6’4” range. She will probably still grow a little but cannot imagine she will be taller than 6’. Is it unrealistic that she will be able to play at schools of that caliber given her size? She has a 24” vertical naturally with no specific jump training yet (not sure when is the right time to start that but she is doing a 1x/week strength and injury prevention workout).
Much of my question revolves around her position. If it is unrealistic for her to play at her dream schools at her size, should she switch positions? She has played some setter and coaches think she has potential at that position, but she doesn’t seem to love it as much as she does hitting and certainly isn’t as strong in that role as she is in OH. (She is right handed by the way). We are not sure whether we should try to encourage her in that direction so that she has a better shot at her dream schools or if we should just focus on her getting better at what she loves and see how it goes. It seems to us that setting is highly specialized and will be something she needs to live and breathe and develop over time. If we moved that direction, shouldn’t she start training to do that sooner vs later? Would it be risky to let her continue to play OH when we can see that she just won’t have the size to play at those schools, or, are our assumptions wrong? I think she could be good at setter and grow to really love the role, but she gets a lot of glory and satisfaction right now at OH. Of course we realize there are plenty of good schools and good volleyball programs that don’t play as big, but we are just trying to give her the right advice to try to realize her dreams.
I would prefer a personal response if you have time vs on your website…
Thanks so much for your thoughts!!!
A volleyball mom
Thank you for your compliments on the site and for purchasing Inside College Volleyball.
And now the not so fun part…..your daughter is 13 years old and by my calculations, she is in 7th grade. Now is not the time to be considering any semblance of college volleyball or recruiting - no way, no shape, no how…..
The absolute most important thing you can do for your daughter is just to support her having fun. I will write that again, support her having fun. I understand that in today's club volleyball environment, and involvement with the various developmental teams through USA Volleyball, there is the natural tendency to project/anticipate but PLEASE don't.
The odds of your daughter playing at a Stanford or UCLA (or any power conference elite program) are less than 3 in how ever tens of thousands of recruits are in the 2020 class (if my math is correct). 3 is the average incoming scholarship class, but I say less, because college volleyball programs don't scholarship every position in every recruiting class. For you to project and think about your daughter switching positions, and the what if's, how too's, etc. (even though it is for her benefit you are doing asking), is like throwing darts in the dark.
Back to my earlier statement - Support her having fun playing volleyball. Don't start jump training, don't go gonzo with private lessons, don't exclude other aspects of her 13 year old kid life. If you go too hard too early, then she will mentally and physically burn out. I observed this type of incoming athlete burnout in my last year's as a DI coach, and I am hearing more and more from my college coaching friends of their frustrations at having scholarship athletes arriving to campus with stress injuries and mentally being worn out from their HS/Club life.
She should play the position she enjoys the most (because it is the most enjoyable and if you enjoy something you will be better at it), she should have fun and stay healthy - Her talent will create her opportunity; talent is a combination of skills, height, athleticism and mentality. Some of these parameters you can manage, while others are out of anyone's hands.