Recently, I felt compelled to pen a letter to our athletes that are struggling to find perspective as they traverse the recruiting journey. It was meant to be a’call to persevere’ and a ‘call to be set free’ from the self-imposed pressures of recruiting. As well, my intention was to share candid feedback and refocus their perspective. These young student-athletes have such great potential and have amazing opportunities in front of them, but can occasionally be blinded by chasing the ‘offer’ and chasing ‘perfection’ which they deem equals success.

I see my role as the Recruiting Coordinator not only as the ‘transmitter of information’ but as someone who can guide them through the ‘intangibles’ of the realities of recruiting. My life experience as a mother of athletes, coach and overcomer of adversity fuels my passion to come along side these young women and encourage them to embrace every struggle as a gift.

My hope is that student-athletes out there take a few moments to read this letter knowing it was written to encourage some very special young athletes just like you!

Dear Volleyball Player,

I want to share some thoughts with you both from my perspective as a Recruiting Coordinator and feedback from College Coaches. As you all know, I talk to many college coaches on a daily basis. We not only talk about specifics in regards to athletic ability and volleyball skill but most importantly we discuss who the student-athlete really is…what are their motivating factors; character; what kind of student and teammate they are; family; outside interests; & academic goals; – many factors that have nothing to do with the sport of volleyball at all.

Many of you are deep in the recruiting journey and some are just beginning. I use the word ‘journey’ because that is exactly what it is. It is not a job, sales pitch or should it be the driving force behind all you do. It is a journey that should be fun, exciting and a reward of your efforts both on and off the court. When you head to practice, your focus should be on getting better, when you head to a tournament – your focus should be on competing to the best of your abilities; being the best teammate possible – serving one another – NOT on impressing the coaches watching your team from the sidelines.

When you get the reward of being asked to visit a school, focus on learning all you can about the academics that are offered, the student life on campus, the dynamics of the team, the character of the coaching staff. Many of you are taking visits soon and I encourage you to prepare yourself to embrace all that these visits can teach you and do not focus on the ‘offer’. If you take one thing away from this message – please hear me on this – the priority for a visit is to educate yourself …it is not to ‘sell’ yourself to a college coach. The feedback I am giving you is directly from college coaches. When they are ready to offer you a scholarship, they will do it. They take this very seriously and not all coaches, players and programs are the same…every program has different goals and different methods. When you are finishing your day on a visit, you can ask where they are at in the process and then thank them for the opportunity. I encourage you all to not ask for an ‘offer’. If the offer does come at the end of a visit, great! If it does not, then embrace it as part of the ‘journey’ and welcome the next opportunity to deepen the relationship with that program or the challenge to continue to move on.

You are all extremely talented young student- athletes that are individuals! You are a group of young women brought together by this great sport of volleyball. You all have the same opportunity to affect each other in a positive way. Be servant leaders, be each other’s greatest fans, and most importantly – enjoy the game! Play for the love of it and the competition!

In closing, know we have ‘got this recruiting thing’. Your best interest is always at the forefront of everything we do. Now, go out there and overcome any adversity that comes your way and focus on what you can achieve not what you didn’t!

Sincerely, Patty Costlow: Recruiting Coordinator/Munciana Volleyball

For related reading on the topic of volleyball recruiting click here. For more information about the volleyball recruiting process, click here.