And we are off, the ‘Monsters of Recruiting’ are beginning to tame while the young athletes begin their adventures into the highly competitive world of collegiate volleyball recruiting. Over the next few months, I will be sharing with you the experiences of a few prospective DI athletes, their personal journeys, feedback from their parents, and my first hand, day-to-day interactions as we all travel the Recruiting Road together.
My role as the Recruiting Coordinator can occasionally be compared to that of a Travel Agent. I am searching for that ultimate destination that will fulfil all of their dreams:
- Playing collegiate volleyball
- Achieving academic success
- Fostering their love of the sport
- Perfect location and so on
Travelling through the backroads of recruiting can be adventuresome, exciting, packed with twists and turns and can sometimes look like Candyland the board game. You start out by crossing your fingers hoping to draw a card that catapults you to the Rainbow Trail. Remember the excitement of finally making it to Gumdrop Mountain or Lollipop Woods only to be sent back what seemed like 100 miles? How about getting stuck in Molasses swamp for days on end? Then, finally making it to Home Sweet Home after the long journey of shortcuts, missed turns, and waiting for the right card!
In a recent discussion with a parent of a DI prospect, she offers a similar observation about the recruiting process. “Navigating the recruiting process can be very intimidating and fears of the unknown can be paralyzing. Without proper guidance or direction, it feels like we are stuck in a deep, dark hole of confusion. With direction, we understand the roads to take as well as the potential road blocks. Our stressors now are no longer related to the recruiting process, and in turn, we are more focused on the results; the marriage of an ideal academic environment and volleyball program.”
When you begin to guide young athletes and encourage them to take the wheel, drive and direct their goals of playing at the collegiate level, it is imperative to keep them focused on the road of being student-athletes! This is the world they live in daily. The containment of the pressure to commit, impress coaches, elevate their skill level, achieve academically, make phone calls, take unofficial visits, all can become toxic and cause them to veer off that path.
Containment can be defined as the action of keeping something harmful under control or within limits. The process, the responsibilities, the peer pressure, physical and mental fatigue all can become harmful to the athlete if not managed within healthy limits.
As we begin to implement our MuncianaRECRUITS program we focus on preparing the player to navigate through the first leg of their journey, determining the level of program that best fits them as both a student and an athlete. Next, they leap into defining their target schools and the communication begins. Our goal is to limit the stress on our athletes by partnering with VolleyballRecruits. The software allows the athlete to search for their target school and communicate directly from the platform. The database houses collegiate coaches contact information and our athletes spend more time on reaching out to coaches. Not only does this decrease the amount of time they spend on email communication but it also gives the coach a direct link to their profile and video.
Currently we have a test group of athletes that have been utilizing the software and their communication both via email and phone calls continue to grow as well as the number of coaches that are viewing their profiles and video. What we are offering are navigation tools that propel our athletes forward and keep them focused on traversing the road to their ‘Dream School’.
It is my belief that this journey into RecruitingLand should be filled with candy hearts, peppermint sticks, missed turns and the dreaded cherry pitfall. Yes, these young athletes might get stuck along the way, and they will come to the fork in the road, and they will learn to make choices on which direction is best for them. The journey builds character, fortifies determination, enforces decision making and sweetens the rewards!
About the Author
Patty Costlow is the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball Club in Yorktown, Indiana.