April 20, 2017

Club Travel Team and College Volleyball Recruiting


My daughter 14 plays club volleyball is on a region team,14-2, the travel team is 14-1. We have talked about her trying out for the travel team, but I think she should wait for 16. Ok the question, she wants to play college volleyball, does she need to play for a travel team to get noticed?

Thank you very much.


A travel team will get seen by more college programs because they travel outside of their region and typically attend the larger events.  College Volleyball coaches gravitate towards the larger events, especially if they venture outside their immediate region, as they can get more bang for their recruiting buck.

Since your daughter is 14, the most important consideration is developing talent.  Travel team or local team, how good is her training?   Her ability will determine her opportunity and developing this collegiate ability starts in Junior high, not high school.

While colleges are recruiting earlier, with Nebraska and Texas currently stalking the maternity wards in their region, it is only the tall, elite players who are being actively recruited as 14 and 15 year olds.  Too many families see these fortunate few, and think they should also be in the mix, thus losing sight of what is most important - skill development.

If your daughter is not 6'2" and is getting quality training on the regional team, then waiting until she is 16 to join a travel team should be just fine in your recruiting efforts.  The sophomore year is when the tempo of recruiting increases, with the various categories of college programs starting their initial evaluations to build their recruiting database for the Junior/Senior serious recruiting engagements.

But, a travel team is just the vehicle and you still need to drive the recruiting process.  A travel team will attend the large Holiday weekend tournament and National Qualifiers, along with being seen by the larger contingents of college coaches, but families must remember that today's recruiting environment is competitive.  These larger events have hundreds of travel teams which equates to thousands of players.  For your daughter to garner the attention of a college program in this sea of talented players, she must 'stand out' even before she walks into the convention center.

Families must move beyond the old school mind set of playing club and being on a travel team will get their daughter seen by a college coach; that was the case 15 years ago.  Today, families must reach out to appropriate college programs before the event begins to try and get on those program's to see list.  College coaches walk into tournament with hundreds of players to see in two days and they will bounce from court to court spending a bit of time at each to evaluate recruits.  

Sure, there are occasions where the coach will 'find' a player just by walking around and coaches always have their recruiting radar on.  Yet, the modern mindset is college coaches go to a large tournament to evaluate players in their database and the random discovery is a bonus.

To this end, families must be constantly reaching out to those programs which are the best potential fit for their daughter.  By reaching out, the family is trying to get into the college program's database of athletes that the coach will evaluate at tournaments.  Again, back to Travel versus Regional teams, the travel players are at more tournaments and thus have a better chance of getting evaluated by those colleges they have reached out to.

Back to your beautiful baby; focus on skill development and then move onto a travel team by her 16's year.


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