What Are the Odds?


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The odds of a female high school athlete playing at a DI school are 82:1, the odds of a female athlete playing in any Division at the collegiate level are 16:1. Now, let's see what that looks like in terms of overall participation and percentages (based upon 2015 data provided by scholarshipstats.com).

Number of Female High School Volleyball Athletes: 432,176

Number of Collegiate Female Volleyball Athletes: 26,915

% of US High School Players Competing at any College Level: 5.9%

% of US High School Players Competing at 4 year Colleges: 4.7%

Note: Varsity Rosters may include junior varsity, redshirt and reserve and do not reflect club or intramural team participants.

*** Women's NCAA I Volleyball is a headcount sport so there is a limit of 12 players per school that can typically be under scholarship annually. All other NCAA Volleyball programs are equivalency sports for scholarship purposes, so partial awards can be awarded to meet the annual limit. For example, an NCAA Division II school can award 16 female volleyball players each a 1/2 scholarship and still meet the limit of 8 per team.

How does all of this info figure into the recruiting process
for high school athletes?

I am going to break this down into the 'KEYS of SUCCESS' for the student- athlete as they begin to compete to be part of the 5.9% of athletes who play at the collegiate level.

  1. DETERMINE THE LEVEL YOU CAN PLAY AT COLLEGIATELY
    - Be honest with yourself and seek an objective evaluation of your skill level
    - Be consistent in seeking out evaluations and improving your skill level from season to season
    - By targeting the right level of program – you are increasing your chances of opportunity

  2. TARGET SCHOOLS THAT MEET THE 'TRIFECTA CRITERIA'
    - ACADEMICS
    : do your homework – determine if the school is right for your long-term goals
    - LOCATION: geographically – how far away from home can you REALLY be?
    - LEVEL OF VOLLEYBALL PROGRAM: is this program the right fit for your skill level and will you be an impact player on the team? Get to know the coaching staff and do they have the same values and goals as you do?

  3. COMMUNICATION
    - Build an academic/athletic profile
    - Current video of match play should be included in your communications with coaches
    - Prepare a target list of schools that meet your 'Trifecta Criteria'
    - Develop a solid and consistent communication plan with college coaches – recruiting is outbound communication
    - Invite coaches to your practices and/or matches
    - FOLLOW UP!

  4. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
    - Be open to redefining your goals and target schools on a consistent basis
    - Don't close yourself off to opportunities
    - Don't just look at the Division, look at the opportunity that the school can offer you to achieve your long term goals.
    - Investigate academic/grant scholarship options if athletic $ are not an option
    - Don't discount a school based upon win/loss record – talk to the coaching staff about their long term goals and upcoming recruiting classes

  5. DON'T COMMIT IF IT'S NOT THE RIGHT FIT!
    - Opportunities change on a daily basis (what was a 'no' yesterday could be a 'yes' tomorrow)
    - Stay focused on your long-term goals
    - Seek advice from your Recruiting Coordinator/Club Director or Coach and really listen!
    - Be patient and do no rush to commit unless you are 100% sure this is the opportunity for you

The majority of collegiate athletes play club volleyball in high school. In the competitive climate that volleyball clubs face today, it is essential that comprehensive 'recruiting programs' are in place ensuring the success of the athletes as they work to secure collegiate opportunities.

As a Club Recruiting Coordinator, my focus is to come alongside the student athlete and counsel them from start to finish. Encouraging them to remain steadfast and overcome the brutality of rejection. It is my job to empower them to face adversity and see that when a door or two close - there will sure to be a few more that open. I tell our athletes on a consistent basis that this is a competitive process and to look beyond what is happening today and focus on what can happen tomorrow.

We want our athletes to 'become part of the 4.7% that play collegiate volleyball at a 4 year college. To achieve that goal it takes hard work, persistence, and the willingness to stay committed to the KEYS OF SUCCESS! We want to look back at the end of the season and look forward at the beginning of the season with the same goal... BEAT THE ODDS!

For additional education on the volleyball recruiting process click here.

About the Author

Patty Costlow is the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball, a long time JVA member club located in Muncie, Indiana.


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