First, I love your site, very informative.
My daughter is 16 and a 6'1" middle that is activly being recruited by D1 and D2 schools. My questions are about life in college for the girls and playing volleyball.
Normally, During the season, do the players take a full load of classes and practice?
How many times/hours a day does the typical college volleyball girl practice?
Do teams tend to have a team gpa you need to need to maintain to play (above the 2.3 set be the NCAA).
Is it difficult on the girls to maintain grades and be travelling all over the place playing volleyball.
Thank you for your help.
Thank you for the compliments about collegevolleyballcoach.com!
Let's jump right into your questions:
1. My daughter is 16 and a 6'1" middle that is activly being recruited by D1 and D2 schools. My questions are about life in college for the girls and playing volleyball.
There is a significant difference between the quality of life for a NCAA Division I Volleyball player and NCAA Division II Volleyball player. Basically the time commitment and pressure is more for DI players than DII. This is why we are seeing many families focus on the DII opportunities, even when their daughter has DI talent, than we have seen in the past.
2. Normally, During the season, do the players take a full load of classes and practice?
Yes, and this is because of NCAA rules. There is a minimum number of units which an athlete needs to be enrolled in per semester/quarter to be eligible to practice/compete and this is termed as Full Time enrollment. Some athletes, either because they are really smart or they are behind in their cumulative unit count towards their degree or their major has a specific sequence of classes, will take an extra class above full time enrollment during the season.
3. How many times/hours a day does the typical college volleyball girl practice? Let me break this into 4 sections to best describe a volleyball player's practice life.
A) August Pre-Season - This the time segment from when players arrive to campus but before the academic year (classes starting). There are no limitations on the number of days/times/hours that a team will practice. Typically, programs will have a minimum of 2 practices per day day and each practice is approximately 2 to 3 hours. Some programs will have 3 practices a day (morning, afternoon, evening). Also remember that there is lifting/conditioning, along with video review.
B) Traditional Season - The fall season, after classes have started. The NCAA says a player may have 20 hours of countable activity per week and one day off per week. Countable activity is all mandatory team related activities, which include practice, lifting/conditioning and in theory, video review. But, most programs don't include video review (calling it volunteer) and this 20 hours per week does not include training room time or travel time; this equates into just over 3 hours per day of volleyball based upon a 6 day volleyball week. Also, all game day activities are 3 hours (or it may be 4...?), no matter how many hours you spend on game day for the match (training room, video review, serve and pass, and the actual match). For a non travel week of home matches, players will typically spend about 30 to 40 hours in volleyball related activities.
C) Non Traditional Season, Individual/Group training - This is the time period of January and February, in which the NCAA says teams can use 8 hours per player, for mandated activities (inclusive of lifting/conditioning, individual and small group practices). Please note, this does not include "volunteer" pick up games and open gyms, which have become mandatory for many DI teams. This averages about 1.5 hours per day of volleyball; this is the "off season".
D) Non Traditional Season, Team training - Similar to Traditional Season with 20 hours per week of volleyball activity, but the NCAA does place some travel/missed school time restrictions upon the team. Plan on the 3+ hours per day of volleyball, 6 days a week. This segment usually reflects the months of March and April.
If you are a NCAA Division I Volleyball players, then summer school is almost mandatory and this is because college coaches want their players on campus during the summer months lifting/conditioning (strength coaches are allowed to have contact with the teams/players) and the players are participating in "volunteer" open gyms and pick up games. For DI Volleyball players, college volleyball is a 12 month commitment and it is full time job no matter what the calendar month says.
4) Do teams tend to have a team gpa you need to need to maintain to play (above the 2.3 set be the NCAA).
Yes, but realize that the individual player's gpa determines their academic eligibility, not the team. In general, volleyball teams usually have one of the highest GPA's within any athletic department; team GPA is never and issue and it is unusual to have an individual player's GPA become a problem.
5) Is it difficult on the girls to maintain grades and be travelling all over the place playing volleyball.
It can be a challenge for freshman, because the volleyball season starts before school and heavy travel concurs with the start of classes. But, most players are conditioned to this travel and study scenario as a result of the expansion of club volleyball travel and length of tournaments. In addition, the athlete's time is highly regimented by the athletic department and the departments usually provide excellent academic support; study hall, travel excuse notes for professors, travel study hours, test proctoring on the road, etc. Again, the academic culture of volleyball teams, makes it a manageable transition for incoming players - Players learn how to study on the bus, study on the plane, study in the airport, etc.
Hope the above explanations have helped and while it may seem overwhelming, it is just the culture of today's NCAA Volleyball and something the players successfully manage.