May 18, 2015

Small Town Player - Big Time College Volleyball Recruiting

I have played volleyball since 7th grade. My mom played at a University and was a 4 year starter in a Class AA school. She and my dad moved to the country and had me. 

I go to a class D school and any sport besides football is a joke. I have gone to almost every camp in the state of Michigan and I pretty much coach my JV volleyball team. 

I am a 16 year old sophomore setter. I am 5'8" 118lbs, right handed, 8'7" standing reach, 9'2" approach, 8'10" block jump. I play on a 17u club team but that really doesn't mean much, because the talent level in these areas are not very high. 

I have gotten attention by one community college and one d1 school. I really want to expand my skill levels and get more attention from colleges. 

I guess I'm really asking how and what can I do? Whether it be skills that you know I can do to better my setting or people I can talk to or places/things I can go/do.

Thank you so much! 

R. G.

If you would have written me this email 10 years ago, you would have been in a challenging situation because college volleyball recruiting was dominated by college coaches attending club tournaments to discover and evaluate players.

But, because of technology, your situation is not as dire as you may feel.  With the ability to easily capture video and distribute this video digitally to college volleyball coaches via email, it allows you to promote yourself to thousands of volleyball coaches.  College coaches use video as the 1st step in the evaluations process and for some programs, video may be the only evaluation available to move forward with a recruit.

Focus on what you can control versus what you cannot - You have no influence upon the popularity of your sport (and there are many, many players which are also in your situation where one or two sports completely overwhelm the support of other sports) or the level of your team mates.

What you can control is your skill development.  Excuses are the comfortable path to failure.  You are only a sophomore and the majority of collegiate programs secure their setters as Juniors or Seniors (quite common).  

You have time to get better:

1.  Go to specialized setter training camps this summer - There are many available in your region and you just need to do a bit of research to find the better one(s).

2.  Find free videos on the web about setter development - A number of these videos are geared to improving skills with nothing more than you, a ball and a wall.  If your Mom played college volleyball, then she just volunteered to be your skill training partner.

3.  Physical ability - The more athletic you are, the more attractive you will be to collegiate coaches.  I am not talking a crazy, expensive power this or explosion that or uber psycho training routine.  I am saying go for a long run, eat healthy, do pushups and sit ups, do sprints and mobility drills for speed, etc.  All of this makes you more athletic and dynamic and you can do it all yourself.

4.  Find a place to play volleyball - Even if another sport is way too popular, get on your Region page and find out what opportunities are there.  With the summer approaching, there should be plenty of sand and/or grass events to play in.  There should be pick-up or open play opportunities; you may have to search a bit and find a way to get there, but the opportunities are there.

As you improve, you have to market:

1.  Determine your best physical playing level combined with the best fit for your collegiate desires.

2.  Reach out to these schools with a simple intro letter (basic info about yourself and contact information), and video - Video is the critical component, as college coaches will ALWAYS watch video.  Send out hundreds, yes….hundreds of emails.  It is free and you never know who will respond.

3.  Be patient and consistent - Odds are you will not secure your collegiate spot until winter/spring of your senior year and it will take a lot of outreach, effort and communication but it will happen!

Good luck and now go do your work!

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