August 18, 2016

College Volleyball Recruiting - Setter or Libero?

My daughter who is going into her sophomore year has been setting since 6th grade she runs 6-1’s very well and is equally comfortable playing in a 6-2.  She has likely reached her max height of 5’ 6”.  In the offseason she conditions well - runs, works vertical drills, does summer leagues  and has about a 36” vertical.  She’s extremely fast, easy to work with, understands the court well and at several camps DII and DI coaches have told me she is one of their favorites to work with. 

This summer at a big 10 camp one of the coaches brought in from another college even offered to help my daughter when she starts looking for a college to play at.  She is always positive and always 100%.  She understands that her height will most likely not allow her to play D1 as a setter.  

She has approached her high school coach (who is also a club director) if she can move to a DS position to get more touches at a position she thinks is where she would likely play at the next level.  The HS coach surprised me and asked her why she would want to cut her playing time as she runs the court well at setter adding that while my daughter was on a 2's team in the last season she beat her 15-1's team.  Coaches words  "you beat me at nationals despite not having a a team that passed well"  My daughters team was forced to run a 6-1 due to injuries and a player backing out of nationals at the last moment.  

I'm having some difficulty communicating with the HS coach as she really wants to limit discussion with parents, which I fully understand.  I'm not trying to be the VB parent who is trying to position my child I'm just trying to understand how to help my child plan for the future.  Maybe that is being misinterpreted.

 Bottom line, i'm not known for brevity-  Is my daughters strategy of focusing on where she think she will play at the next level correct? Considering her passing isn’t as developed as her setting capabilities/ (IMHO) outstanding court awareness.

Generically if she is recognized as a strong setter, should she stay there and look for a DII college or with her speed and court awareness what would your advice be in regards to transitioning position this year and working on defense/passing though it would mean fewer touches?

I’ve spoken with the HS coach briefly but I’m sure she is not fond of the idea of moving this setter to a DS role.
I just found your site today I wish I had found it earlier, I know nothing about the recruiting process.  Overall my daughter loves the game and if she couldn't play DI she would be disappointed but would continue to play with the same enthusiasm if she were at a DII or DIII.  Dad would really be enthusiastic if DII were an option.

Thank you in advance for your advice.  I will be picking up your book this week, as it looks as I have a lot of work to do helping her sell herself appropriately.

- Anonymous

Thank you for your email and jumping in with us!  I hope that Inside College Volleyball will prove to be a valuable resource as your manage the craziness of college volleyball recruiting and then college volleyball.

I would agree with the high school coach, as I would not want to move a very good setter to the passing position either.  

As you read through the posts, you will notice the large number of questions/responses with regards to 'shorter' players switching into the DS/Libero position.  As I have written about on many occasions, this Libero/DS position becomes the catch all for shorter players thinking that this is the route to collegiate athletics and as such, this position is now the most competitive avenue into college volleyball.

Back to the High School topic - Remember that collegiate recruiting efforts are not based upon the high school season.  Club volleyball is the Optimus Prime of collegiate recruiting and college coaches understand that players will play different positions while in high school.  We don't stress about that because the high school coach needs to put their players into the positions for the most success of the high school team.  Because we don't stress about high school, neither should the parents which are concerned about college volleyball recruiting.

From your feedback, the better recruiting boulevard for your daughter would be to stay with setting and promote her abilities to the appropriate schools.  Yes, her height may well reduce her chances of NCAA Division I volleyball, but.....There are any number of DI schools which run the Front to Back 6-2 offense (maybe this is what you are referring to when you are saying 6-1?  I though initially this was a typo on your part!) and many schools will take a shorter setter with exceptional abilities.

The NCAA Division II and NAIA levels may offer more opportunities and scholarship monies (remember that DI is all or nothing athletic scholarships, while DII and NAIA can package their scholarships from many sources), so you should be reaching out to appropriate schools in these categories also!


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