June 18, 2015

College Volleyball Recruiting for the rising Senior!!

Hello Coach,

I’ll start by saying you and your book have been a great resource for us through the years. 

My rising Senior (2016) has been playing club for 7 years.   She is an undersized OH, athletic kid with quick reflexes and hops.  She has been emailed a few times by a couple of  D1s who have seen her in person and on video.   This was earlier in her junior year.  Now that we are closing in on the end of the season, no one is reaching out or responding to her emails or calls…guess they found that taller kid.  So in our mind they are no longer interested in her.  Sorry to say we have not reached out to as many colleges as we should have and now we are afraid she has missed out on local opportunities cause we live in one of those perpetually sunny states.  We are going to one major year-end tournament and we will send out video and emails.  We are focusing mainly on D2 and NAIAs.   Unfortunately, many of the D2/NAIA programs in our state that she would be a fit for, will not be travelling to this tournament. 

You have written often that shorter OHs, DS and Liberos tend to get recruited late, and sometimes into the senior year.   But do the schools who are considering these girls actually reach out to the potential recruit, with a “hi, saw your video and think you might be a fit”, or “let’s keep in touch?”  Since many times even the coach doesn’t know if he/she will need someone until they end their season, and since it takes work to keep a gaggle of girls on hold, maybe they won’t.   With divisions other than D1, the roster is so large that it’s hard to know who got recruited and who just showed up at a tryout, so is she just suppose to cold call them and ask if they are recruiting her position/class?

We are just in a quandary on who to reach out to, and what to expect/hope for.  She will be focusing on her academics her last year, taking on AP classes that require a great deal more time.  She will be applying and has a good likelihood of admission to her dream school, that happens to be a high level D1 program.    Just trying to figure out if she should drop club volleyball all together and focus on having fun (all those senior outings that compete for time against the tournament schedule) and finishing strong her senior year, or pay and play one more year of club with the hope of getting some athletic monies. 

P.S. we just signed up with NCSA a month ago, because what we were doing beforehand just ate up too much of our time with few results.  NCSA is a great tool and families should seriously consider them as far back as sophomore year.  I think if we had done so, she would have had much more interest by now cause of course we would have sent out hundreds of emails and it would have been easier to assess the fit of the school had we used NCSA. 

Mom of a great kid and athlete

I am glad to hear that the website and book has been a resource, and that you are happy with the support that NCSA Athletic Recruiting has been able to provide.  

Before I answer your question and provide my world class volleyball recruiting advice, your daughter needs to answer this question - Does she want to play college volleyball?  If the answer is NO, then drop club, focus on academics and test preparation, and enjoy the wonderful experience of being a senior in high school.  If the answer is YES, then stay the course and manage the process.

For a rising senior, the next 4 months are the toughest 4 months of the recruiting process:

- The college volleyball coaching carousel of job changes has been completed, so there will be no roster openings as a result.

- The club volleyball season has come to a close (excepting the championship events), which means that the active evaluation of players is finished for the year.  Even at the championship events, college coaches are just babysitting….

-  Any roster openings on teams as a result of academics, injury, boyfriends, Powerball winning numbers, getting cut because of the wrong style hair bow will have occurred in the late spring.

-  College coaches will slow down the process and go quiet with recruits because they want to wait to see what happens in the fall.

- It is not until after the college volleyball season gets going that coaches know who arrived out of shape, who did not recover from an injury, who did not pass a necessary summer school class, who was not as good as they thought she would be, who is going to get fired, etc.

Because of this combination of the club season ending, college coaches going quiet and the many months until active recruiting ramps back up in the later fall, senior families can become discouraged with the process, or take an opportunity which is not really the best fit for the family.

What the families are not able to see, is all the opportunities which will come next club season.  From elite DI to JC, there will be a significant number of scholarship and roster openings.  Today's collegiate volleyball environment is fluid; roster openings, job openings, players quitting, players getting cut, etc., etc. etc.  

Each winter and spring, I get many emails from coaching friends of mine asking about available seniors; again, from elite DI to JC's.

The senior families which have the best success in late recruiting (after the fall of their senior year) are the ones who stay consistent with their outreach and communication, keep evaluating their recruiting comfort zone, and most of all, stay patient in managing the process.  

Often times, I will get emails from senior volleyball families who had committed in the summer because they were nervous about finding anything the next club season, only to discover there were many opportunities which were better than what they committed too!

Especially since you have a NCSA Athletic Recruiting Premium membership, maximize that amazing resource to evaluate potential schools/programs, load up current video and stay consistent in your outreach efforts.

Simple advice; if she wants to play college volleyball, stay the course and patiently manage the process because I speak (write) the truth of recruiting.

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