In September, the DI Council extended the recruiting dead period for all Division I schools through January 1st. This means there can be no in-person recruiting taking place through the end of the year. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur. For student athletes who are currently seniors graduating in 2021, it seems there are two scenarios happening right now: 1) In communication with schools and 2) No communication with schools. Here are 5 communication tips for 2021 volleyball athletes to move your recruiting process closer to the goal of playing at the collegiate level.
Email is a beginning to communication.
If you are frequently emailing back and forth with a college coach, you may want to suggest to talk live with the coach and ask any questions you may have about the process and that program. Try to establish a relationship with the staff to see if this is a fit for you and them. This is done over a series of calls not just one. Many programs are trying to figure out what 2021 will look like. With the NCAA allowing another year of eligibility, schools are re-evaluating their budgets and needs for future years.
Phone communication is important.
Phone conversation is vital to the recruiting process right now, whether it is FaceTime or a standard call. Coaches are trying to figure out how you fit with their program and you should be doing the same with them. The next phase depends on the level of program you are communicating with right now. D1 is in a dead period, but everyone else is open. Regardless of Division level, you can discuss visiting campus to show that you really are trying to find your fit and are being proactive about it.
Some coaches outside of D1 may offer an unofficial visit or official visit to you. Either of these will allow you to interact with the team. The reason to do it on your own is some schools may not have the money in their budget right now to host official/unofficial visits. With virtual tours and academic tours, you can basically check everything about the school. Zoom calls are a great way to chat with all the team and staff. It allows you to get to know them without having to be on campus as well. You can talk to the team, players in your position, players that will be on your journey with your year at that university (non D1 programs).
If emailing is inconsistent…
Consider showing more interest through updates of school, club, high school. The coach may be waiting to see if you are really interested or just still trying to figure your path direction. Remember, some programs are still trying to figure out what 2021 will look with the NCAA granting another year of eligibility, as well as possible budget constraints. Please remember to try to have updated film for these schools that you are in contact with. Many will want full match film if you are able to play High School right now. If you’re not in HS season, film your training session from clinics or open gyms.
If you have not established communication
No emails may mean that you are not looking in the right direction of your path. If you are not getting communication back from schools, you may need to re-evaluate your list and level of interest. Reach out to your club coach or director for an honest evaluation. Many schools are still looking for 2021 student athletes. Ask yourself: Do I want to go to a certain school solely for academic or social reasons, or do I want to find a school that is a good academic and athletic fit. When contacting schools, attach any film you may have to your email.
Consider attending showcases
Another option is to attend showcases. This option allows multiple coaches to see athletes in drills and live play. Most are live-streamed so that coaches can watch live and some are even providing film to all attendees to use later on. There are showcases all over the country and most are being held in November and December.
Helpful hint: Please pay attention to the schools that you are in contact with consistently. Your path is showing you your direction. Many get caught up in the wish aspect of the process and wanting to wait until someone communicates with them. The What if scenario is not an option now. The process is showing you where you should look and spend your time.
About the Author
Glenna Bianchin is the National Team Director of Recruiting for Carolina Union Volleyball Club, a JVA member club in Charlotte, NC. She is also the Chair of the JVA Recruiting Education Committee. In the past three years as RC, she has had the opportunity to guide over 75
athletes to commit at the DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, and NJCCA.