May 16, 2016

Club Volleyball National Championship Recruiting

Good afternoon Coach!

Thanks for all the effort you put into the blog, we are religious readers!

My question is a general question about the GJNC's held each year.  Our team is going again, and we're always excited to earn a bid to participate.  Indianapolis, here we come!

I was speaking to a coach not so long ago about the dovetail between this event and the recruiting process.  Her firm opinion is that college coaches only look at players in the Open or National divisions.  While I am sure that is a great place to start for a coach, I told her she was bananas.  We agreed to disagree, but I though you'd be able to shed some light on the matter.

Secondly, it is clear from my experience that there are so many college coaches at GJNC's it is impossible to really sort them all out.  Frankly, at some courts last year there were more coaches than family members watching matches.

What would you recommend to a player just getting started in the recruiting game in terms of reaching out to coaches at GJNC?  Are they looking at kids for the first time?  Checking on their current short list?  Other than the standard email/video/resume attachment, what would be an effective way to get a look?  What age should a potential college player begin sending out these emails for an event like GJNC?

And lastly, if a team is competing in both AAU's and GJNC, any thoughts about what type of coaches attend one vs. the other?  Both? 

Many thanks for your time,


Thank you for the compliments and reading

The club season whizzed by as usual; guess the next big tourneys are the national championship events (AAU and USAV).

The college coach you chatted with, about the Open/National divisions being the only divisions college coaches attended for players, would have better to define her opinion a bit more; she may have been meaning to say that NCAA Division I college coaches dominantly look at the Open/National divisions for recruiting.  

As I have written before in Inside College Volleyball and spoke about often, college coaches recruit talented players.  By the classifications of club volleyball and the way that club programs structure their age group teams, the majority of talented players would be playing within the Open/National level; especially for Division I and elite Division II.  When you step outside of the DI/DII elite category, you will see college coaches searching for talent within in all classifications because they know they just can't walk up to that court with 20 DI college coaches standing around and effectively recruit.

The championship time frame (those weeks capturing the AAU and USAV) are a mixed bag of recruiting for all divisions of college volleyball.  In general, the NAIA/JC/DIII and mid level DII programs are only going to a championship if that event is drivable; it is just too expensive to attend AAU's if you are a DII coach in Oregon.  

For those programs which attend the championships, these DI/DII programs will be multi tasking - Babysitting their signed players, babysitting their verbally committed players, court sitting for players who they have offered, making final evaluations on recruits, doing initial in person evaluations on recruits who have sent video, keeping an eye out for players they may have missed, etc.  Each program will have their specific tasks at the championships and those tasks easily change year to year.

The recruiting mindset of VolleyFamilies must be the same as with any other National Qualifier - Email updates to college programs you are in conversation with (what court, what time, etc), reach out to new programs with video, re-reach out to programs who may have not responded or told you 'no' (just because things can change in recruiting weekly), etc.

As for those college programs attending both USAV Junior Nationals and AAU National Championships, they will be the DI programs which enjoy very good funding.  The two mid-level DI programs at which I was the head  coach, we did not have the budget to attend both championships.

Good luck in Indianapolis and USA Junior Nationals - I won't be there, but I will be at AAU's in Orlando at the NCSA Athletic Recruiting booth!

Coach Sonnichsen

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