My question is around do we choose a club known for good training and college placement but she will be on a weak #2 team probably playing the American division or choose a club we do not know much about their training but we know they have solid players and will play in Open division at NQs.
If the objective is to maximize exposure, as long as she gets playing time on the better team is that a better option at this point over choosing a club just because of their training prowess?
You have the right outlook when viewing potential club teams with regards to focusing on training. Quality training instruction and repetition is key to improving one's skills. After training, the club's tournament schedule and quality of competition are important in the recruiting process (and player development process).
While I believe some club teams are playing in too many tournaments, especially large National Qualifier tournaments, a player still needs to attend a NQ to be effectively 'seen' by college coaches because the NQ's are the most bang for the recruiting dollar for college programs. But, just showing up at a NQ and expecting to get recruited is not effective; players need to email a number of collegiate programs that they are a good fit for, and request that the coach come see them play at tournaments. Communicating the club playing schedule, and then sending reminders before traveling, has become a necessary component of the recruiting process.
With USA Volleyball having a number of divisions, the quality of competition will affect a player's game development and also the recruiting effectiveness of attending a tournament. It is my understanding that the divisions are Open, National, USA, American, and Patriot, by level of competition? If this is the case, then it would be a significant drop off in competitive level from Open to American.
Good training and balanced tournament schedule? Then Open and National should be somewhat equal in supporting player recruiting. I would be concerned about the chasm between Open and American, because it could impact her game effectiveness and how she is evaluated. College coaches may see her play, and rate her as good playing against not good competition, especially if the collegiate program is lower DI or upper DII.
Just based on the drop off between Open and American, and as the 16's age group is a prime evaluation year for college coaches at tournaments, I would suggest the 16's Open program may be the best fit for this year.
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