May 28, 2015

USA Volleyball High Performance Team question….another one….

Hi coach -

My daughter recently was invited to the USAV HP select A2 camp this summer as a setter.  She is on the young side of the select age group as she is an eight grader and the select age group includes both 9th graders and 8th graders.  More specifically, kids born in 2000 and 2001.

I've heard conflicting reports from parents regarding the value in attending the A2 camp as it is not the elite A1 group and thus the A2 kids don't get to compete in the HP Championships attended by many college recruiters (allegedly).  Can you tell me if in fact college recruiters attend the HP Championships en masse as implied by the USAV literature and secondly is there value in attending the A2 camp from a skill improvement as well as exposure to collegiate recruiters?

Any guidance you can give would be extremely helpful in understanding the USAV HP program from a skill improvement perspective as well as a stage with which to be seen by collegiate recruiters at both the A1 and A2 groupings within the select age group.



USA Volleyball High Performance Teams and college volleyball recruiting are two separate entities.  The HP teams are specific to USA Volleyball's efforts in selecting which athletes will represent the USA in international competitions.  I believe the philosophy of the HP program is good because, in theory, it creates the avenue for non biased opportunity to join the national team (don't have to play for a certain college or university to wear the USA uniform).  But, what concerns me, are the many variations of the HP program (A2, Region HP, HP camps, etc.) which seem to be nothing more than a money grab by USA volleyball in some form.

I cannot comment on the number of college volleyball coaches who attend the HP championships or the various training teams for recruiting, because I have never attended one (even when I coached).  I feel that this number cannot be too large simply because the USA Volleyball Junior Championships and AAU Championships were just a couple of weeks before, where the coaches can see a majority of the players, in addition to thousands more.  My instinct its hat because of budgets, summer camps and recruiting energy, the college programs which are attending the HP championships are upper level DI programs who are 'baby-sitting' their top recruits.  

One would hope that attending the A2 training camp would be a positive, but it is not like Coach Karch or his staff is running this camp.  USA Volleyball, out of staffing necessity, 'borrows' many college coaches to run the various camps; these coaches range from very talented to not very talented.  In theory, each high level touch will make a player better.  

BUT, if a player just finished a 7 month club season, including USA/AAU championships, then maybe, just maybe it is a good thing to let the player rest and recover.  There is a very real concern college coaches have (outside of upper DI) and this called burn out.  Player's coming into college with stress related injuries is more common because the club season has gotten longer and the number of 'USA Volleyball' opportunities in the summer time have expanded.  With the club season championships ending in early July and the high school season starting in early August, this leaves just one month of down time for today's high school volleyball player.

As I have written on many occasions, a player's college volleyball opportunities will be determined by their ability and their outreach.  If the A2 experience can safely increase the abilities of a player, and the player is consistent in their outreach efforts, then that is great.  But, there are many "buts" in this situation…..


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