Volleyball recruiting is incredibly competitive. Out of 447,000 women’s and 61,000 men’s high school volleyball players in the United States, just 5.7% and 3.9% go on to play at the college level, respectively. To get discovered by college coaches and earn a volleyball scholarship, you need to be firing on all cylinders from day one of your recruiting journey. While NCSA’s Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Recruiting Guides offer a comprehensive overview, you can also use these tips to ace your recruiting process.
Always include your highlight video when reaching out to coaches
To evaluate you as a recruit, college volleyball coaches need to see you in action. If you are a natural athlete, impress coaches with your agility and leaping ability. Include footage of solo blocks, strong attacks for a kill, and defensive saves. If your technical skills give you an edge on the court, make sure your highlight video displays your positional awareness and precise placement on passes, sets and serves. Include a link to your highlight video in every email correspondence you have with college coaches, and make sure your club coach or recruiting coordinator is doing the same.
Realistically focus your volleyball recruiting search
At the highest level, volleyball recruiting is all about height, physicality, and verified stats. In addition to watching as much video as they can get their hands on, college coaches compare recruits based on vertical jump, standing reach, attack jump, approach jump and block jump. If you don’t quite meet the D1 men’s or women’s recruiting guidelines at your position of choice, be open to expanding your search.
Coaches pay attention to your attitude as well as your ability
Not paying attention in the huddle, giving a teammate a dirty look, reacting poorly to coaching instruction and slacking off are all ways to make a bad impression with a college coach. Keep in mind that college volleyball coaches will attend quite a few of your club tournaments and evaluate your attitude, athleticism and coachability.
Compete on a high-level volleyball club team
Since both the high school and college volleyball seasons are in the fall, college coaches typically don’t have much time to attend matches to recruit. But during the off-season, coaches spend many hours attending club tournaments around the country. In fact, 91% of NCAA women’s volleyball players competed on a club team in high school.
Don’t get too attached to your spot on the court
While many high school volleyball players specialize in a particular role, it’s very common for coaches to try them at another position in college. From middle hitters moving to the right side to setters converting to defensive specialists, you never know where a coach might see your best fit. Many college coaches maintain the philosophy that if you can pass and defend well, you can transition seamlessly all over the court.
Pay attention to the mental side of your game
Ideal height and a jaw-dropping jump go out the window if you make mindless errors with the game on the line. In your highlight video and in person, college coaches pay close attention to your consistency and smarts on the court. They are looking for students of the game who demonstrate an ability to take instruction from coaches and execute it on the court.
For related reading on the volleyball recruiting process click HERE. For more volleyball recruiting education for athletes and families click HERE. For more volleyball recruiting education for club directors and coaches click HERE.
About the Author
Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball and National Speaker for NCSA Athletic Recruiting, the Official Recruiting Services provider of the JVA. NCSA assists JVA Club Directors and Coaches with guiding their athletes through the recruiting process. Matt has over 20 years of experience coaching volleyball at the collegiate level. Read more about NCSA.