April 6, 2020

Late Start in Boy's Volleyball and Recruiting

My 6’ 5” son is a middle hitter in his junior year of high school. He played year round basketball for 10 years. After sophomore year’s basketball season he decided to play volleyball for the first time with some friends. He fell in love with the sport and is all about volleyball now. 

During the summer he played weekly co-ed grass, wallyball and sand to improve his skills. He played on a local club team with friends rather than traveling to play at a higher level so he could stay on top of his grades and part time job. He has the grades and test scores to get into any college, but wants to stay in California. 

I am told that most colleges already have their 2021 class in mind. Is is worth paying money for recruiting help or should he just try to walk on to whatever college he gets into and/or play club?

Thanks for your advice.


The good news is that men's collegiate volleyball operates on a slower recruiting timetable than women's collegiate volleyball, which I think is partly due to boy's physically maturing a slightly later age. The bad news is that men's collegiate volleyball has a fraction of the collegiate playing opportunities that women's collegiate volleyball has - maybe 240 for the men and 1800 plus for the women.

Men's volleyball will be well into their 2021 recruiting cycle with scholarships being offered and player commitments being received, but not every school (even the California schools) are done with recruiting and things are constantly changing with recruiting needs.

With the reduced number of collegiate programs, the recruiting equation for boys is quite competitive; there are a lot of good volleyball players trying to find a home on not so many teams.  Combined with the athletic scholarship limitations, the vast majority of players are getting a small partial athletic scholarship, if anything at all.

With your son's late start, the key to playing collegiate volleyball is playing on the best possible club team right now.  Unless he just has natural, gifted from the volleygods abilities, he needs to be training at a high level to compensate for his late start in volleyball.  His talent will determine his college volleyball opportunities.

I understand the desire to play in California, as I played at UCLA and wish I was living back in California right now, but the majority of men's college volleyball playing opportunities are outside of The Golden State.  

Encourage him to keep playing where and when he can, because each touch will make him better, then look to have him join an established, national level club program, and start the outreach process to colleges, with or without the help of a recruiting service.

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