November 3, 2016

College Volleyball Recruiting and the Multi Sport Athlete

I have a 6' 1" junior in High school that is looking to play college volleyball as an outside hitter.  She also plays middle blocker and right side on occasion.  For the past two years of high school, she has managed to play club volleyball as well as play high school basketball and run track at the same time.  

However, this year, her academic case load is much more demanding and we are concerned that she will not have the time to maintain her grades and study for the ACT and double up on sports all winter and spring.  She is faced with a tough decision about whether or not to play multiple high school sports and skip club volleyball this season or drop basketball and play club volleyball.  

Although, she is a good multisport athlete, she is not exceptional at basketball or track.  She does not have the recruiting potential in either of those sports as she does for volleyball.  Nor are they her primary passion but she enjoys playing them and she likes the variety which has prevented her from burn out with volleyball.  

Based on that information.  Can you give us some guidance as to whether or not she should play club volleyball this junior season in order to get recruited to play college ball.  I might also add, she has been struggling a little bit with a minor shoulder injury that we are icing and rehabing with PT to keep it under control.  She is concerned about the need for rest from hitting and serving to protect that shoulder as well.  

Thanks for any advice. 
Utah Mom 

Apologies for the later reply to your email - Day job got me too busy!

To begin with, I am honestly surprised that your daughter has been able to play club, and high school basketball, run high school track and keep her grades solid into her junior year of school!

Specific to Volleyball, as a 6'1" Outside Hitter, she will be an attractive recruit because of her height and associated athleticism.  The level of collegiate volleyball will be determined by her ball control skills, swing technique/power and how high she jumps.

Playing club volleyball as a Junior is critical to recruiting success.  It is a combination of club volleyball being the vehicle for which college coaches use in recruiting; they rarely go to high school matches because they are in their collegiate season, and very large club volleyball tournaments start in January!  

A key component, which I feel is sometimes overlooked by families, is that club volleyball provides tens of thousands of extra touches upon the ball, not to mention refining non-ball touching techniques.  College volleyball recruiting is a competitive endeavor - Your daughter is competing against hundreds of other 6'1" outside hitters for that roster opportunity!  All things being equal, the player with ten thousand extra touches will be better than the player without.

The shoulder is something which should be managed and is quite common with older high school players; just part of being an outside hitter.  Reduce maximum swings; an OH does not need to swing hard or 100% on each repetition.  Swing at 75 percent and focus on technique in practice.  Be aware of having days where there is no swinging if the shoulder feels a bit sore.

If your daughter wants to play collegiate volleyball, with the most opportunities to choose from, then club volleyball is necessary.  That being said, if your daughter loves the other sports and needs to sacrifice club volleyball to participate and study, then college volleyball is still attainable (mainly due to a being 6'1" OH) but she will need to be extremely active in the outreach process and be diligent about creating and sending skill videos because college coaches won't be able to see her play in the winter/spring/summer.

Good luck with the rest of the high school season!


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