October 30, 2017

Home School Volleyball Player and Club Volleyball Selection

Hi Coach,
I’m almost done reading your book and I have enjoyed learning so much from your perspective about this process and volleyball in general. Thank you for sharing your insight and for caring about the sport and our youth. It really comes through in your responses to readers.

​Thank you for the nice compliment and glad to hear that you are enjoying Inside College Volleyball.

My daughter is a younger 14 year old 9th grader, 5-9.5” (this week), MB/MH with hopes of playing in college. Her dad is 6-6”, so she hopes to get some additional inches in the next couple of years- growing like a weed right now. She picked up a ball for the first time 2 years ago. She’s a former competitive gymnast and very athletic. Her approach touch is 9-8.5” as of last week. I think with the right training and her positive & coachable personality she could reach her goals of playing while she earns a college degree. She’s about to try out for her second club season.

​Congratulations on her genetics; that is a great vertical jump for a 14 year old, 5'9.5" athlete!  If she sneaks in a few inches of Dad's ​height, she physically will be on par with Division I Volleyball players.  Genes aside, you may have inspired families to invest in gymnastics as the preparatory sport for volleyball!

My questions for you are:

1.  We homeschool her because of the public school situation in our county. We decided once she went to the public middle school that we wanted something different for her education and life. It is truly a blessing for us to be able to do this for both of our girls. We play in a state wide homeschool league during the fall school season. It isn’t super competitive, but there are many Club players  mixed in with non club players on the teams we play against and our team is almost all club players. So there are some really competitive games.

​That is a nice playing luxury, as some home school leagues can be competitively low....​

When we made our local club team last year and she realized her true love of this sport we went to the director and talked about how to get her on the track to play at the next level. His first question was “Is she going to continue to play homeschool ball? Or are you going to put her back in school?”  This was confusing to me. I thought that school ball had little to do with recruiting these days. Club training is the highest level for juniors it seems. So how is that a relevant question?

​It isn't a relevant question - As long as she is getting touches in the fall, that is what matters.  For collegiate recruiting, HS has little to no impact upon the college volleyball recruiting process.  ​
​I would venture that the club director is still operating old school (no pun intended).​

My thought since he asked this was that maybe college coaches overlook the homeschooled student for easier recruiting since the NCAA eligibility is more complex for homeschoolers. How do you think coaches think/feel about a SA that is homeschooled?

​Does not matter to the college coach; we look at talent.  If the Prospective Student Athlete (PSA) has the talent​
​to make my team better, then I will recruit her/him.  Volleyball coaches know that our recruits have an extremely high certification rate with the NCAA Clearinghouse, and while it may take a bit more time, Homeschool athletes rarely present an issue.​

2. Since we are homeschoolers with maybe less access to great coaching and team play during our “school” season, I was thinking that it would be important to choose a strong club that can really help elevate her level of play.

​No more than for any other school; public or private.  There are some public and private schools with great coaches, while others have not so great coaches.  Putting this gently, you are putting too much stress on yourself with the Homeschool status....​

I was contacted last week by a club director with 20 years of experience for a well known club in our area. He saw her at a clinic and he expressed how much potential he thinks she could have and wanted to invite her to tryout with them this season.

​Club volleyball programs these days, are recruiting as much as college volleyball programs.​

We are considering trying out for 2 National teams at great clubs that are not in our town and our local club from last year. Do you think it is important for her to play at the highest level she can as a 15U?  Or would our local smaller club that has a good reputation for the quality of training, but competes in less tournaments and maybe only hits one National Qualifier/showcase in a season, be ok?  How important are the connections/networking aspects of the club director/coach for recruitment? I don’t want to bounce around or throw money away.

​With 15 year's old corresponding to Freshman in high school, the focus when selecting a club team should be practice training.  Unfortunately, that is hard to qualify while club team reputation and schedule is easier.  Select the best club you can based upon their training.  You should try to research this by speaking with other club parents, attending a pre-club season clinic, etc.  

As I have reference many times before, the Freshman is the Free year, where recruiting is not part of the view.  The club travel schedule, in terms of attended National Qualifiers and holiday 3 day tournaments, becomes more important as athletes move into their upperclassmen years; this is due simply to the college coaches attending the larger events for ease of recruiting.

Again, just focus on club practices and training for this next year.​

Thank you from a slightly overwhelmed mom!

Ps- Do you only post answers on the site, or will you respond directly when you post so I will know?  There is only 2 weeks until tryouts and I’d be SO grateful if I got to hear your perspective before we have to make a club choice. Thank you!!!!!

​I will edit your question, to pull out your name and any identifying details of your daughter before posting on collegevolleyballcoach.com!​
Sent from my iPhone

​Sent from my MacBook Air.​

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