Fall 2109 NEXT League
Registration is now available for the Academy teams at the NEXT League!

Action Items

1. MAKE A TARGET LIST
 
One of the first, and more essential, steps in the recruiting process is to make a Target List of schools you are interested in.  This will help you narrow down schools to contact and give you a sense of direction when deciding where you want to attend college.  When beginning your Target List you want to consider some of these questions, as well as others.  How big or a small of a school do I want to attend? What state or region of the country? How academically selective?
 
We encourage all players to keep an open mind and be realistic when selecting their list of schools. For example, if you are a 5’8” Middle Blocker, with a jump touch of 9’3”, coaches from top DI programs (Stanford, Penn State, Nebraska, etc.) are not going to pay you much attention.  However, this player may be the perfect fit for a DIII program.  If you don’t know what programs might be a good fit for you athletically, ask for some feedback from your coaches.  They have seen hundreds of players go on to play at the various levels, and they will be able to offer you good insight.
 
2. APPLY TO STRONG ACADEMIC SCHOOLS
 
As you might suspect, college coaches frequently work with admission officers to get student-athletes admitted who might otherwise not qualify academically or are “on the bubble.”  Of course, this does not mean a student whose academic profile is significantly below the school’s minimums will be accepted simply at the coach’s request.
 
However, if you are within a reasonable distance of a school’s SAT/ACT and grade requirements, and are an athlete the coach is seeking to add to his squad, the coach probably has a good shot at getting you into his/her school if he pushes hard enough. However, there are limits to what a coach can do. By working as hard as you can in the classroom and on the SAT / ACT exams, you greatly increase your odds.
 
At some schools, admission requirements may not be as stringent for recruits as they are for non-athletes.  Ivy League or NESCAC schools may require a student to possess at least a 3.6 GPA and 2200 SAT, yet a sought-after athletic recruit may only need to have a 3.3 GPA and 1950 SAT. Every situation is different though. Be prepared by working hard in the classroom and taking pride in your academics.
 
Remember, coaches at strong academic D-III schools seek good athletes just like their counterparts at the top D-I programs.  Their sports programs have every bit as much tradition and history, sometimes even more than the big D-I schools.  And when you graduate, you have an excellent chance of obtaining a great job or being admitted to a graduate school of your choice.

The bottom line: use the athletic talents you have worked so hard to develop to give yourself a shot at getting accepted to one of the academic “reach” schools on your Target List.  You owe it to yourself to pursue the best possible academic education available.

3. LET COACHES KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED

During your sophomore year, send a letter of interest to each head coach on your Target List.  The purpose of the letter is to let each coach know that you would like to attend his/her school for academic reasons and to compete for his/her team.
 
It is extremely important to personalize your letter of interest.  Make sure you spell the coach’s name and address correctly, and include something specific about his/her team (i.e., team’s record, top rivals, facilities) so he/she knows your interest is based on knowing something about his/her program.

You want a coach to understand that you have genuine and specific interest in his/her school and that you have devoted a lot of time to researching the volleyball program.  So make each letter of interest an original, from start to finish!
 
Begin the letter by explaining your interest in the school’s academic program.  Perhaps the school boasts some famous professors whose classes you’d like to attend, or famous graduates who had similar interests to yours.

Discuss your educational and career goals, leadership ability, and your personal values.  These characteristics demonstrate to the coach that you are a well-rounded person and that you plan on staying in school all four years.  Avoid the temptation to discuss only athletics in your letter.  Athletes who treat academics just as seriously as sports impress coaches.

But don’t forget to emphasize your athletic accomplishments and why you feel you can contribute to the team!
 
In all correspondence with college coaches, you can include the link to your VolleyballRecruits.net profile so the coach can view your profile and video with the click of a button. This sets you apart from other recruits. Instead of just being another letter or e-mail alerting the coach of your interest, the coach is provided with an action point to see your profile and video right away. This increases your odds of being recruited by getting you on the coach’s radar.

Telephone & E-Mail Contact

After you mail or e-mail your letter of interest and player profile to coaches on your Target List, it is important for you to maintain periodic telephone and / or e-mail contact with the school’s coaching staff.  This will let the coach know that your interest is strong and sincere.  It will also give you an opportunity to evaluate where you stand on the recruiting depth chart.

Make sure you have a purpose to each contact with a coach or school.  For example, you can inform the coach of an event you are attending, ask questions about the program, request information about the school that cannot be found from published sources, or find out if the coach would like to see your highlight tape.  However, if you call the coach and he/she answers the call, he/she is permitted to speak to you.
 
You are permitted to phone and e-mail the coach as many times as you like.  Just use common sense.  The last thing you want to do is annoy a coach by calling or e-mailing too often.  One last piece of advice… you should place the phone calls, not your parents.  This will demonstrate that you are a mature and responsible young adult who can speak on his or her own behalf.
 
Avoid Rushing to Judgment

 Do not reject a school too early in the process.  Wait until you have thoroughly researched all of your options before telling a coach that you are or are not interested in his / her school.  It’s difficult to predict how the recruiting process will evolve, and an offer you turned down in August may be your best and option in December.  Fill out and return everything you receive from a school.  If a coach makes the effort to contact you, respond promptly.  Do not burn any bridges.

Emphasize Your Unique Selling Point

Although they hate to admit it, many selective colleges target certain groups of applicants for admission.  They might want to increase the diversity of the student body, expand the physics department, or recruit a few potential future donors.   To have the freshman community they want, colleges need musicians and athletes, leaders in publications and student government, a certain percentage of alumni children, minorities, and international students.

Students in the targeted groups may have an easier time getting through the admissions process, and there is often special scholarship money available for people from certain backgrounds or those applicants who are interested in specific programs.  You should emphasize what is unique about you!
 

A Strong Essay Can Make the Difference
 
Admissions deans often push hard for the writers of their favorite compositions.  On the other hand, they also note the papers that are riddled with typos or grammatical errors.  Generally speaking, typos reflect sloppiness.  Even if you do have a tendency to be light on the spell check, there is no excuse for these kinds of errors.  They can be eliminated entirely by careful and repetitive proofreading.  Eliminate the mistakes and show you care about how you are perceived.  Choose a topic you feel passionate about.  Be creative!
 

On-Campus and Alumni Interviews Matter
 
Interviews are the only personal interaction in an otherwise paper-driven process.  Admissions committees frequently consider whether or not you bothered to set this up, and what the interviewer thought of you.  Aggressively seek out any official or unofficial representatives of your Target List schools.  You never know which contact you make will be the one that will move your application from the “Rejected” to “Maybe” to “Accepted” category.

4. GO ON CAMPUS VISITS

Start Early
 
While campus visits are primarily junior and senior year events, there’s no need to wait.  Start visiting colleges as early as ninth grade.  Take advantage of any chance to walk around a college campus.  Check out schools in or near your hometown, stop by colleges during family trips, and visit older friends and siblings at school.  The more visits you make, the better you will become at quickly sizing up a school and recognizing what you want from a college.

Official Visits
 
If you are lucky enough to commit before your senior year begins, your official visit can be a trip to get to know your coaches, future teammates, and campus on a more personal basis.  If you have not committed before your senior year, coaches can extend official visit invitations to their top recruits so they can get to know the athletes better and promote their school’s best features.  Since official visits are an expense for the athletic program, only a limited number of athletes will receive these invitations.  If you’re fortunate enough to receive one in your senior year, it’s an outstanding opportunity for you to evaluate everything about the college and determine if the school and team fits your needs.  Most of the time, you will stay with other athletes on the team and eat meals with them.  This gives you an excellent opportunity to ask lots of questions.   Keep in mind:
 

•The NCAA allows you one expense-paid visit to five different schools.  This restriction applies even if you are being recruited in two sports.
 •Each visit may only last a maximum of 48 hours.
 •You must provide college authorities with your official transcript and entrance exam scores.
 •You may return to one of the schools you’ve already visited, but you must pay all expenses.
 •You must be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center for official visits to NCAA schools.
 •You are allowed a maximum of five official visits during your senior year, so choose wisely!
 
For further information on this topic, see Official vs. Unofficial Visits or refer to Appendix III.
 
Pre-Plan Your Schedule
 
For unofficial visits, call the admissions office at least two weeks in advance to let them know you are coming to campus.  An admissions counselor can tell you the dates and times for campus tours, information sessions, and open houses.

The counselor can also recommend classes to observe, help schedule individual meetings with faculty and coaches, provide a campus map and information on nearby lodging.

In addition to getting to know the team and coaches, it is also important to get to know the Athletic Department you may soon be a part of. Some coaches may set up meetings for you to meet with athletic academic advisors, athletic training room staff, strength and conditioning coaches, and athletic director. This is a great time to get a feel for what your future college could be like.
 
What to Do On Campus
 •Begin your visit with an information session and a campus tour.
 •Sit in on a class
 •Check out the dorms
 •Eat in the cafeteria
 •Read the bulletin boards
 •Meet a faculty member and the coach
 •See the athletic facilities
 •Meet with athletic staff
 •Hang out with the team
 •Attend a practice / match
 
 
Keep a Notebook Just for College Visits
 
Take notes while you’re on campus, jotting down the name of the dorm you walked through, the class you visited, and the names of professors and students you met. 
 
After each visit, write down your impressions – what you did and did not like about the school.

5. ATTEND COLLEGE & HIGH PERFORMANCE CAMPS
 
College Summer Camps
 
Attending summer camps of college programs can be a great way to be noticed by the coaches on your Target List.  We recommend you choose 2-3 schools you are interested in attending, and go to their summer camp.  There are a few huge benefits in doing so:

First, you are able to spend time getting to know the program.  Depending on the length of camp (day or overnight camp), you have the opportunity to spend time on the school’s campus, check out the athletic facilities, eat in the cafeteria, meet the coaches and see their coaching styles (keeping in mind they will be on their best behavior), and maybe meet some players as often times current players will help coach camps. The more programs you visit the better understanding you will have of what you like in a program.
 
Second, Coaches are able to spend time with you and can see what type of player you are.  Are you coachable?  Do you listen to direction? Do you work hard? Are you a team player? How do you react to mistakes?  Would you be a good fit at their program?

Third, going to a camp tells a coach you are interested in their program, and if they think you may be a good fit, you will very likely climb upwards on their recruiting list.

USA Volleyball High Performance Tryouts & Camps
 
The High Performance (HP) Program at USA Volleyball is a great way to better your skills, show coaches you are dedicating to improving your game, and if you make a team / camp you become a more desirable prospect because the selection process is very competitive.  The three main pieces of the HP Program are athlete tryouts, the summer camps, and teams to which athletes are invited, based on the results of their tryout.  Usually, HP tryouts are held the day before national qualifiers, but here is a link to the HP tryout schedule.
 
If you do well at these camps, you could be invited to attend an HP summer camp or compete on one of their teams.  This is also a great way to represent the United States of America and enter the “pipeline” to the US Olympic Volleyball teams.  All of this is wonderful information to share with college coaches.  Being selected for a summer camp or team means you are one of the top players in your position in your region or around the country.  This is a great way to boost your volleyball resume!
 

Producing a Highlight Video
 
A highlight video allows coaches who do not get to see you play in person the opportunity to evaluate your skills accurately.  By watching your video, coaches can assess your abilities personally and decide if you’re a prospective recruit.  They don’t have to rely on someone else’s evaluation that may be biased.
 
6. GET MAXIMUM EXPOSURE

 
Research needs to be done to determine which club team will provide the best experience and the maximum exposure. There are many club teams, but many do compete at tournaments that aid in your recruiting process. You will need to determine what type of recruiting experience you want to have.  Do you want to be seen on a national scale? If yes, you want to be on a team that travels to national qualifiers so you can be seen by college coaches from all over the country.
 
All teams are not created equal. In recent years, numbers have grown enormously, diluting the talent base. Just about anyone can create a club team.  If you want to be seen by competitive programs, you want to be on a competitive club team so that college coaches are attracted to your court.  It pays to do some research to determine if a particular club is truly made up of above-average coaches and players and if they compete against the kind of competition that college coaches view as superior.
 
Even if you play for a competitive club, do not expect the name of your club to get you a scholarship.  You need to work hard to get your name out there and your game in front of coaches.
 

What Tournaments Do They Attend?
 
Does the club travel to tournaments only in their region? Or do they participate in national qualifiers? Does the club regularly send teams to the USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Championships? Or Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Nationals? These are major recruiting events, and it’s important in your recruiting process to attend several each year.

 

Who Coaches The Team?
 
Is it the parent of one of the players? Many of the best club teams don’t have parents coaching their own offspring. Also, is the coach paid or does he or she work on a volunteer basis? Many of the best club teams pay their coaches. Also, what are the coach’s qualifications? Did he or she play in college or at another level?
 

What’s The Team Practice-To-Game Ratio?
 
If it’s all games and only a few or no practices, it may still be a quality team, but many times teams that don’t practice much don’t really teach the players much, either. It is important to ensure that participation on such a team will help the player develop as a college level athlete.
 
Some teams may practice 5 or 6 times a week.  This might not be the best option for your academics.  Research the practice schedule of the club to fully inform yourself before making a decision.
 

How Many Players Make The Team?
 
If the number is so large that it’s obvious several players aren’t going to get much playing time, then that team might not be a good fit. A volleyball team carrying 12 players means that several players will not see much playing time.

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Recruiting Guide
 
volleyballrecruits.net
 
 
 
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