March 20, 2017

College Volleyball Recruiting and the Libero...question #45883


My name is Kat and I am an outside/ds.  I am 5'11 and I realized that a lot of majorly competitive D1 colleges have liberos that height.  

I want to be a libero and I am really good at it, and many coaches encourage me to be one, but my parents told me that nobody wants a tall libero.  I don't know what to do and I am scared that if I don't stay an outside then I will ruin my dreams of playing D1. 

Sincerely, Kat

For college volleyball recruiting, play the position you most enjoy.  I receive too many questions from players/families believing that if they switch positions, it will get them recruited, even if they don't enjoy the new position.  

I also receive a number of questions from players who are locked into the dream of playing NCAA Division I - As I have written about many times with and Inside College Volleyball, DI may not be the best fit for a student athlete and as a libero, the odds are challenging for any Libero to secure a roster spot, much less a scholarship.

I was recently moderating a college volleyball coach panel about recruiting, and one of the parents asked the panel about the libero position height, because her daughter was short and she (the parent) heard that college coaches don't like short liberos anymore?  The Head Coach from a top 20 team answered that so much of the recruiting in volleyball is cyclical; he said that next year, shorter liberos will be probably be back as the preference because they are quicker than tall liberos.  The other college coaches on the panel, from all divisions/associations, agreed.

The cyclical nature of volleyball recruiting can be seen in a few positions; setter, libero and outside hitter.  A number of years ago, tall setters were all the rage in recruiting because of the blocking benefit, then the preference shifted to shorter setters who were quick as to get to poor passes.  Same with outside hitters; used to be that height makes right at all costs.  Then college coaches shifted towards non giants because they could pass and play defense, while running faster play sets.

Then to make this recruiting picture even more complicated, each college volleyball coach will have their preferences when it comes to recruiting players, just like each person has their own preference in surfboards (yes, I miss the beach and surfing right about now!).  And, coaches change their preferences, based upon past success or failure, or if they attended some coaching clinic, or if they had a bad dream, etc.

As you can see, trying to adjust your playing position, to match up a recruiting trend or coaching preference, is a losing proposition, hence my stellar advice of playing the position you most enjoy.

The recruiting reality is this..........wait for it.......Ability will determine your Opportunity.  Focus on what you can control, and that is definitely not college volleyball coaches or trends. The most important thing for college volleyball coaches to recruit is talent; if you can make their team better, they will recruit you.  Focus on consistently improving your skill sets, improving your techniques, improving your fitness, improving your mental focus, improving your competitive nature, etc. 

And, play the position you enjoy because if you enjoy being a Libero, you will be more successful than playing an Outside!


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