When I was beginning my NCAA Division I head coaching career, about the time that Star Wars Episode I was released, many recruiting services left much to be desired. With the advances in technology and communication, volleyball recruiting services have become more professional and competent. For complete transparency, after a 20 year college volleyball coaching career, I am employed by NCSA Athletic Recruiting as their Director of Volleyball.
As volleyball recruiting services have matured, there are 5 key points which all families must understand:
- What type of a recruiting service?
The term “recruiting service” can be a catch all for many businesses and/or individuals who operate within this space. Is it a Free Service or a Paid Service? Is it more of a ‘tool box’ situation, where an athlete pays for access to specific information/support? Are you able to talk with an expert or is it just video/written content? The answers to these questions vary significantly depending what company/service you are considering.
- Exactly what do you need?
Each family will have their own comfort level with the college volleyball recruiting process. If this is your first recruiting rodeo, then you may need a recruiting service which is comprehensive. If you are comfortable with the internet, outreach and video, then you may just need a little bit to jump start your success.
- A service won’t make your daughter more talented. Some families go into a recruiting service, with the misconception that the recruiting service will enable their daughter to play at a certain level of college volleyball. If you daughter is a NCAA Division II type of player, then a recruiting service will not magically get her a Division I scholarship.
- A recruiting service can’t negotiate a scholarship and/or ‘get’ you a scholarship. There can be a fine line between recruiting service and agent. A recruiting service’s function is to educate, support, advise and empower a volleyball family, not to act as an agent. The use of an agent is against the rules, and for their business livelihood, recruiting services absolutely want to stay clear of any ‘agency’ interpretation.
- Your role in the recruiting process is still the largest. Another misconception which families have is that once they sign up with a recruiting service, they don’t have to do much else. Recruiting services can provide a wealth of information and support, but families must apply this information and support to maximize the opportunities for their child. A recruiting service can make the connection, can open the door, can facilitate engagement with college volleyball coaches, but the player must take that next step.
A recruiting service can be a great support mechanism for your family’s successful management of the process, but be clear about what you need and what they can provide.
About the Author
Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball Relations for NCSA Sports, the Official Partner of the JVA. For more recruiting education click here.