March 19, 2020

Plight of the Short Outside Hitter

Hi Coach:

    I’m an 8th grader right now and I’m 5’3. I have played outside for the last two years I have been playing but i’m not expected to grow any taller. My standing block is 8’5 1/2 and with an approach I am able to reach 8’11. 

Is there any possible way i could play outside in college or no? Do you have any tips? 

Thank you!


You can play in college but the challenge will be your position.  Even the smallest collegiate outside hitters tend to be in the 5'6"+ range; recruiting for the attack positions is height driven.

The silver lining is your athleticism - at 5'3" and in 8th grade, it is fantastic that you are blocking a full foot above the net and over 18 inches above with your attack!  This athleticism, combined with your outside hitter experience can translate well to another position for college volleyball - The Libero.

If playing in college is your goal, then you will need to switch to the libero position - Statistically speaking, 5'3" collegiate outside hitters don't exist.  But there are collegiate opportunities for 5'3", great passing and athletic liberos!

To this end, for the next club season, your freshman year, you should move to the Libero position.  

If you are absolutely and without a doubt, only want to play Outside Hitter - Then your collegiate options would tend to be at the NCAA Division III and lower NAIA levels.

Good luck!

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