July 25, 2016

Outside Hitter or Defensive Specialist for College Volleyball Recruiting

Hi Coach,

Thank you for your wonderful book and website.  Both are absolute gems in guiding us through the Byzantine world of volleyball recruiting.

My soon-to-be junior daughter is faced with the choice to again play for the 1s team at her club as a DS (but not L), with a limited opportunity to hit.  She's a heavy-armed 5'10" hitter who mostly played DS this season, but played 6-rotations at Nationals. Prepvolleyball.com named her one of their Shining Stars.  Her first love is defense though and she passes nails.  She's played on 1s teams her entire career.

Next year, the club is bringing in a new outside, so she'll have two 6'-2" girls in front of her.  She's been told she can compete for a hitting posisition, but that seems unlikely. Her other option is to be a 6-rotation outside for the 2s that, according to the club director, needs power and defense.

The talent level between the two teams was wide this season. My daughter's team won the National division championship, while the 2s team was 31st in the USA division.  We're being told it will narrow next season.

She's smart enough to realize that she's not going to hit big-time DI.  She has Ivy League level academics (don't they all!) and wants to be a chemical engineer.  She knows DIII and smaller DI are very much in her future as those are some of the top engineering schools in the country

As I mentioned, she loves defense. She's spoken to a couple DI coaches (A10 and Big East) and both have told her they are slotting her for Libero.  She's also been invited to a some elite camps.

We've been hearing lately that many schools are looking at the undersized outsides who are athletic to turn them into Liberos and that coaches are starting to like bigger, stronger girls for the position.  On the other hand, Her size and skill set seem to make her  to make her a natural for outside/6-rotation at smaller schools.

We're getting conflicting information about how college coaches view 1s team players and 2s team players.  Both squads will go to the same tourneys next season - two national qualifiers, a big time President's day tourney, and Bluegrass.  We've heard it's easy to explain why she's playing down - because she wanted to hit and be on the court all the time. We've also heard it's easy to explain to college coaches why she's not hitting (two 6'2"s in front of her).  Then again, one coach told her they want to see her play defense against the best competition and didn't care at all if she hit.

What are you thoughts on this dilemma?

Granted, it's a high-class problem to have, but...help!!!!

Confused Dad

Quick Answer - Have her play 6 rotation OH on the 2nd team.  Have a nice day.

Bullet Point Explanation of Quick Answer:
  • Played 6 rotation OH at USA Volleyball Championships and they won the National division.
  • She is 5'10", passes "nails" and has a heavy arm.
  • Chemical Engineer majors have a tough tough tough academic situation trying to play mid-major and elite DI volleyball simply because of the massive volleyball time commitment with training and travel.
  • If for academic sanity and success, she is focusing outside of the crazy level of DI volleyball, then playing on team super duper for 3 rotations is not as valuable as playing 6 rotations for team solid duper in club. 
  • College coaches will recruit a great passing/defending OH who might not break into the starting lineup and move them into a back row position, and this protocol has been happening for many years.  The thought process is the college coaches knows the recruit can at least play DS, but also the positive of maybe becoming a valuable attacker.
  • Each coach will have their own wonderful view of all things volleyball recruiting - Some like this and some like that and some like both or none at all.....Ignore all of that and have your daughter do what is best for her and her goals.
From what you have expressed, there really should not be any hesitation to move onto the 2nd team, and actively manage the recruiting process to obtain the best academic and volleyball combination specific to your daughter's desires.

Thank you for the compliments on Inside College Volleyball and this website; "...the Byzantine world of volleyball recruiting" is only getting more confusing and I am glad that I can help families make their best choice.


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