9 Tips to Jump Start Your College Volleyball Recruiting Process


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By Matt Sonnichsen, NCSA Director of Volleyball Relations

I was an NCAA Division I Head Volleyball Coach for almost 15 years, and have coached NCAA volleyball for close to 20. In my experience, recruiting is the most important aspect of a college coach's job. There are any number of college volleyball head coaches who may not be outstanding coaches, but they are very good recruiters and enjoy successful careers.

With the accelerated time frame of today's college volleyball recruiting environment, the early part of the club volleyball season is more important than ever. The post-collegiate season meetings with players often produce a number of additional scholarships for the volleyball program. Club volleyball coaches and families must understand that college volleyball rosters are constantly changing, and new roster/scholarship opportunities can arise at any time.

The early club season presents the chance for junior volleyball players to make a positive initial impression on college coaches.

Club coaches- please help your players to consider the following suggestions:

1. Put together a list of potential schools based upon the player's abilities and preferences.

Be open to a variety of programs, but also be realistic. If you are a 5'9" outside hitter, then contacting Penn State is not the best choice. Also, if the family does not want their daughter further than a few hours away by car, then contacting schools on the opposite side of the country is not smart.

2. Your list of schools should be in the 100's!

Remember that there is a great world outside of NCAA Division I Volleyball. For example, NCAA Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior Colleges can be excellent choices for your future. I know a number of non-Division I programs which enjoy great fan attendance, elite level play and the opportunity for their players to have a campus life outside of volleyball.

3. Reach out to potential schools before you start playing club volleyball tournaments. Motivate them to come see you play by sending the college coach your volleyball resume and, most importantly, your video. College coaches will watch every video, but we won't follow-up on every resume. The video does not need to be fancy or perfect; it can be practice, it can be warm-ups, it can be edited game tape - Just make it current and easy for the college coach to watch.

4. Understand that you will be evaluated at every tournament.

In today's recruiting environment, athletes don't have the luxury of 'playing their way into shape' or mentally taking matches off. The early club tournaments are not warm-ups; if a college coach is in the gym, then it is a recruiting event. 5. Early in the club season, play to your strengths and practice your weaknesses.

Because college coaches are constantly evaluating, you want to 'look' your best. Stay focused and within your skill sets during the first tournaments of the year and play hard. If you are having trouble attacking down the line, work on that in practice, rather than in the match. But, no matter how well you may or may not play, you can always play hard!

6. Be a positive player.

College coaches evaluate more than your physicality, they are evaluating your mentality. Great ways to make a bad impression with a college coach - not paying attention in the huddle, giving a team mate a dirty look because of a play she did or did not make, reacting negatively to coaching instruction or chastisement, being disrespectful of your parents, and not playing hard (which is a mental characteristic).

7. Don't rely on the college coach 'drive by' for recruiting success

There are too many tournaments and too many good players to just expect the college coaches to find you. Make them find you by reaching out to them, and telling them they need to come see you play because you would be a great addition to their program (and because you also sent them video!).

8. Understand that your club coach/director is a great resource for you, but they are not your Director of Recruiting or your Recruiting Service.

The club coach's job is to make you a better volleyball player and to advocate upon your behalf with college coaches; it is not to get you a scholarship. You are your Director of Recruiting and if you need additional support, then hire a Recruiting Service such as NCSA. 

9. The recruiting process starts early and continues late.

NCAA Division I power conference programs are offering freshman and seniors. This is a result of the number of coaching changes and athletes being cut or transferring; it is a fluid situation. Club Volleyball Families must be consistent and patient in their outreach and communication efforts. Constantly reach out to schools, review your daughter's collegiate goals, evaluate each college and be open to new opportunities.

The goal is to manage the recruiting process, and not let the process manage you. College volleyball recruiting is a competitive situation. As much as colleges are competing for recruits, the players are competing for collegiate playing opportunities. This is a once in a lifetime window of opportunity, and even though it is early in the club season, the recruiting season has begun!

For more junior volleyball recruiting education click here.NCSA is a partner of the JVA and provides volleyball specific recruiting education to JVA members, parents and players, as well as 25 Athleadership Grants to JVA member clubs. If you are not a JVA member club, join today and receive the tools you need to run a successful junior volleyball club.


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