July 16, 2015

Poor Championship Tournament impact upon College Volleyball Recruiting

Hello Coach,

     I wanted to help with the right words for my daughter.  You see we have just finished up play at AAU’s this week and her club team did not not preform well at all.  The team has done well all season but tanked this week.  My daughter is a 2017 OH and wants to play at college.  

We have been NCSA members since her freshman year when she made varsity as a freshman.  We have been active in emailing coaches and have gotten some interest from D1 and D2 school.  Most recent since June 15 are the D2 schools.  She is striving for D1.  Grades are great and she has skills that set her apart.  She is on the shorter side at 5’ 11”.  We emailed close to 40 schools through NCSA for AAUs but she is upset that she did not do well.  We played 18 open and she is a younger player but she does have the ability to play at a high level.  I feel like I can picture your face saying yeah yeah so does everybody else.  Well there were very few coaches that I was able to identify at our court.  She is afraid that she has left anyone that was watching with not a good representation of her as an athlete.  I tried to tell her that volleyball is a team sport and if the team is not doing well then you as a hitter will not do well either.  Do you think she has hurt her chances for future consideration at D1 schools on poor performance at one tournament?   Is she and myself just overacting to the situation?  Looking for some words of wisdom.  I have been through your NCSA recruiting seminar in Seattle a few years ago even though we were members already.  It was still great to hear.  Your knowledge is great about this process.  Any advise would be great.  If I have not been clear in my email please ask any questions and I will get back with you.



Good teams will have a bad tournament and it is just bad luck when that bad tournament comes in a championship event. One of my favorite recruits and college player, playing on a nationally recognized club program, when O'fer at Nationals her Junior year!!  Did not win one match, and I think they won a single game in the whole tournament!!!!

When it comes to recruiting at tournaments, college coaches don't care about how the team does - They may say they do, but they are just being polite.  What they care about is how talented is the player; most of the time, they don't even know the score or stay for the whole match because they are evaluating hundreds of players in an event. 

Even though this is not what any club or high school coach wants to hear, the players must always be aware of how they are performing as individuals (beyond/in addition to the team).  If the team is losing, but the player is doing well, then that is good for recruiting.  If the team is winning, but the player is doing poorly, then that is bad for recruiting - Please note, that this statement should be viewed through the lens of recruiting.

With regards to your daughter, she is putting too much emphasis on the tournament.  As a 2017 5'11" OH, with interest from NCAA DI and DII schools (a bit weighted toward DII right now), she needs to stay patient and positive in the recruiting process.  As a rising Junior, and it being the summer time, DI coaches are going to slow play her, while the DII's may be a bit more aggressive.  She has the height to play DI, and by her response from a few DI schools has the talent to play DI, but since she is also getting contact from a number of DII schools, her skill sets may not be over the top (or DII's would not take time to recruit her; they are not recruiting the player that is going to the Big 10!).

This is the slowest extended period of time in the college volleyball recruiting cycle - The Championship events (and all club volleyball) has finished, college coaches are trying to get a bit of vacation and down time in before their season starts, they are also conducting camps, mowing the lawn, ordering equipment, checking on eligibility of current and incoming athletes, taking a vacation, finishing the travel scenarios for the fall season; there are many other items which take priority over active recruiting right now.

Also, coaches will slow play recruiting now because they need to evaluate their current team when fall practice starts before they will know exactly what they may need in the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes.  When the college volleyball season arrives, college coaches will be see which players are in shape, who did not recover from a surgery/injury, who failed a summer school class, who has had a drastic change in attitude, who was not as good as the coach evaluated, etc. - All of this affects their next recruiting classes.  DI college coaches tend to slow down their recruiting tempo, as to have time to evaluate their current team, and then move forward with recruiting in the late fall and winter.

Because of this scenario, families of the mid level recruits (average height with talents between DI and DII) must be extremely patient in the summer and fall.  The best thing to do is focus on recovery from the club season (both physically and mentally), enjoy the 4 days or 4 weeks before the high school season begins, continue to develop your volleyball skill sets, and then start preparing the active outreach to college volleyball programs to be sent in the late fall.

Specific to your daughter, she needs to mentally flush this tournament because there will be very little, if any, impact upon her recruiting process.  As referenced above, the DI coaches are not active now and won't ramp up their recruiting tempo until the winter; she will be a better player come next winter simply because she will have another 4 months of volleyball experience and another 4 month of physical maturity! 

Lastly, her outreach effort will be important come next winter - her, along with a thousand other players, have the skill sets to possibly play DI and for sure play DII - the DI opportunity will go to those players that manage the recruiting process the most effectively.  This is where NCSA Athletic Recruiting can be a huge resource for her; from education to getting her profile/video in front of the correct college programs - She has to stay active in the management and updating of her NCSA profile!

Enjoy the few moments of summer before the high school season kicks in!


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