Let me begin by saying that we live in Connecticut. (Already at a significant disadvantage in the volleyball world we know.) That being said we also live in a small town therefore a small high school with few girls that have a passion for the sport as my daughter does. This has been quite frustrating for her. We were lucky enough to have a great high school varsity coach my daughters freshman year who sadly left after this season to take on a job as college recruiter which leaves us a bit lost in the college recruiting process going into her sophomore year. (with the exception of course being my handy copy of "Inside College Volleyball") This coach has been very encouraging in my daughters future and has even made reference to recruiting her himself to his DII program.
We are following your advice on the steps to take but I guess my main concern for my 14 year old 5'8" setter is how to help her improve. She has played on 16's and 17's club teams for the past 3 years and she has tried out for the region HP and USAV programs and is waiting to hear the results. We have looked at new college recruits personal bios and have never even heard of some of the awards they have won let alone be in the running. It doesn't help that she would like to go to school down south -leaning toward North Carolina (we are realists, we know being a Tar Heel is not in her future ;)
- How do we know which schools are low DI vs. high DII etc.
ok a few more questions
- If she were to make the HP regional team and although NERVA team will get their butts handed to them for the most part...should my daughter contact college coaches that she will be in Fort Lauderdale this summer for the HP Championships. Our club does not do many Qualifiers or go down to Orlando for AAU so this may be her only chance to be see
- Is there an advantage to prep school??
- All honesty...do college coaches give less attention to athletes from our region...I guess I wouldn't blame them.
Thanks so much
Any other advice would be welcome.
Thank you for your email and for purchasing a copy of Inside College Volleyball!
You find yourself in the same situation as many VolleyFamilies - Living in a part the country that is not known for college volleyball recruiting. Ultimately, because the USA is so large and our sport is played everywhere, there are more parts of the country NOT known for Volleyball recruiting.
This used to be more of a detriment in year's past, but now because of technology and because the sport is found everywhere, players can overcome their geography.
Volleyball recruits must understand that college coaches recruit talent; if you have the talent to make their team better, then the coach will recruit you. If you are from Texas, but don't have a bunch of talent, you won't be recruited, even though you are from a prime college volleyball recruiting region.
While the volleyball recruiting areas may have more club choices, access to additional events, etc., recruits can overcome not having these luxuries by being focused. It is just a matter of putting in the time; getting into a gym and having a buddy (or sister/dad/mom/brother/uncle) serve you balls, toss you balls to hit, etc. Go to a well regarded camp, go to find a sand volleyball summer league, go find grass tournaments, start a fitness program, do yoga, etc.
And now, your questions:
- The ranking of NCAA Volleyball programs (DI/DII/DIII) can be found at www.ncaa.com - This is the competitive site of NCAA athletics which will list the RPI, Regional rankings, tournament results, etc. A low DI, are schools ranked below 200 in the RPI and a high DII, would be those in the Top 25 or top 3 of their Regional Rankings.
- The High Performance program should not be viewed as a recruiting vehicle. The USA HP program is the vehicle in which volleyball players can represent the USA in international competitions, and it can be a good skill training opportunity. It is best not to think of HP as a recruiting opportunity. Because of how busy college coaches are with their own camps, preparing for the August start of their collegiate season and trying to take a day or two off, they usually don't go out recruiting after Junior Nationals and AAUs are done. There is no harm in inviting schools to watch her in Fort Lauderdale, but I would not expect too much response.
- I am not as familiar with Prep School, as this type of opportunity does not seem to be used by volleyball recruits. I think that players which may be a bit inexperienced or need to garner a higher level of training, will instead go to a Junior College for a year or two. The JC route is a great opportunity, which more and more players are smart to choose.
- College coaches are limited by their budget and staffing. Even the power conference DI programs will have some limitations on where they can afford to recruit; it is not like football and basketball where they have a blank check for recruiting. When a program is outside of the DI power conferences, and especially outside of DI, the coaches have severe limitations on how they can effectively recruit. Because of this, they will want to spend their budget and staff wisely, which means staying within region and/or attending the very large club tournaments here they 'see' thousands of players. So, yes, college coaches will not pay much attention to regions which are outside of their comfort travel zone or don't have a huge national event.
For those families which fall into this category, using technology is very important. If a coach can't come see you, then you need to be sending that coach updated videos. If you are attending a larger regional tournament or national tournament in your region, then you have to reach out to any and all potential programs to strongly encourage them to come see you play.
Again, if you have talent which will make a collage program better, then they will recruit you. But, you have to be the one helping them 'find you'.