How to Get Recruited for Volleyball (5 Important Tips)
As one of the most popular sports for women and an increasingly popular one for men…
Colleges are starting to offer more scholarships to play volleyball.
Many high school volleyball players dream of playing in front of loyal fans at the college level.
The introduction of elite level clubs around the world has increased competition amongst those hoping to be recruited to play volleyball.
While there are thousands of scholarships available to hundreds of colleges, it is still difficult to snag one.
The recruitment process can be daunting and getting noticed is quite a challenge.
Let’s look at 5 tips to help you grab some recruiting attention and hopefully land a scholarship.
1. Get Ahead of the Game
The recruiting process starts early, sometimes as early as middle school for some athletes.
It’s important that athletes seriously considering collegiate play understand this and act accordingly.
Athletics should be fun, but it’s important young athletes wanting to play at the next level take their sport seriously.
Decide with coaches and family members what level of collegiate play is realistic and begin thinking about which programs are appealing.
There are several questions players should ask themselves when considering options:
- Do I have the talent to play at the next level?
- What level of play is realistic for my talent?
- Do I want to commit my college years to play volleyball?
- Do I want to potentially miss typical breaks to play volleyball?
Once the recruiting process begins and coaches start looking at talented volleyball players, athletes should be prepared to contact programs of interest.
It’s best if an athlete develops a list of preferred schools.
The list should include three levels of interest to help organize your thoughts:
- Safety Schools – Programs likely to accept you based on grades and skill level.
- Ideal Schools – Programs you would most likely qualify for.
- Dream Schools – A best case scenario program that would be the perfect fit, but you're less likely to get accepted.
2. Align with Other Elite Players
Most volleyball players recruited to play at the collegiate level spend significant amounts of time playing volleyball.
This includes a school season but also requires players to commit to club teams as well – often playing year-round.
Club players tend to be more experienced than those who only play at school.
With more matches over the course of a year and high-quality competition, collegiate programs understand a club volleyball player will be more prepared for the next level of play.
Club teams often play at large tournaments, many of which feature representatives from collegiate programs.
These events provide exposure for athletes to play in front of college scouts and allow colleges to view many elite athletes at the same time.
Not all club teams provide these opportunities, so athletes interested in playing college volleyball should investigate the program before joining.
It’s important that the team travel to large tournaments and feature other high-level players.
3. Make a Great Recruiting Video
With so many athletes seeking a spot on collegiate volleyball rosters, it’s impossible for coaches to evaluate all of them in person.
Some coaches will not visit an athlete without seeing them on film first.
Athletes should be filming each time they play if they’re serious about playing volleyball at the collegiate level.
It’s important to keep film updated with recent competition to show the overall development of the player.
Great recruiting videos spend time focusing on skills work along with in-game action.
The film should spend up to five minutes highlighting the athlete passing, serving, blocking, hitting, and setting.
And, of course, game action is important to show the competitive side of an athlete.
Eliminate dead time and moments that highlight other players.
A well-edited film is more likely to be watched and could make the difference in getting a coach to visit in person.
The goal of your recruiting video is to get a coach to a club tournament or other match to watch you play.
Combine this tip with the next for maximum effect and to secure your chance to show your skills in live play.
4. Reach Out to Coaches
Volleyball coaching staffs do not have the resources that larger sports programs like football do.
The staff is much smaller and cannot spend as much time looking at film to find great players.
Learning how to initiate and follow up on communication with coaches is key to a successful recruiting process.
There are several steps that can help an athlete get themselves in front of a volleyball coach:
- Use the power of email – Send your recruiting video, recent stats, and a short bio.
- Reach out by phone – Coaches receive many emails and are more likely to read one from someone who called to introduce themselves.
- Be responsive – If you receive anything from a coach or program, be sure to respond to it regardless of your interest level.
- Send updates – If you update your video, earn awards, or finish a season, send anything new to the coaching staff.
With limited resources and a plethora of players looking to join a program, the coaching staff can become overwhelmed.
Staying in communication could be the key to keeping yourself on the minds of the coaching staff.
5. Keep the Process Moving
The recruiting process can last many years and often enters stagnant periods, lacking contact from either side.
It’s important to manage your recruitment in these times and keep your name in front of college coaches.
Rather than sitting idly by and hoping they are still being recruited, athletes should actively encourage continued recruiting from their favorite programs.
Here is a short list of ways to keep the recruiting process moving, ensuring both the athlete and coaching staff remain active throughout the process.
- Update Videos – Any new game film should be incorporated throughout the season and any skills features should be updated every six months. This will ensure coaches have the most recent and best image of your overall game.
- Keep Communicating – Even if there is not much to say, reaching out to the coaching staff frequently keeps the name of the athlete in their head.
- Schedule Visits – Visits take time and energy. Break up these trips to your preferred schools to keep the recruiting process active.
- Keep Track of Your List – Things change over time and schools you once loved may not be so exciting. Keep your preferred program list up to date.
- Keep Good Grades – School should be the priority of any collegiate athlete and making sure grades are up to par for entrance is vital. Avoid getting so caught up in athletics that grades suffer.
Athletes and their families are often lulled to sleep by the long recruiting process.
It’s important to remember that keeping the process moving requires work and attention.
Find ways to keep the excitement of recruiting fresh to ensure you do not miss out on opportunities.
Other Volleyball Recruiting Tips to Remember
Remain Patient & Positive
Once you have committed to playing at the collegiate level, the process can feel lengthy.
It’s important to stay focused on the goal of gaining a scholarship rather than becoming frustrated.
Patience and positivity are both attributes collegiate coaches look for in an athlete.
Take Advantage of Coaching Visits
Both on the court and off, it’s important to take advantage of the rare time with coaches.
Play with confidence if a coach is visiting a match or tournament.
Speak and interact as if you know you can help the coach be successful.
Self-confidence both on and off the court are great qualities for collegiate players.
It is also important to maintain an understanding that you are always on “stage”
Once the recruiting process has started, every match and tournament could be seen by a coach.
Take pride in being a consistent person and player.
Take Charge of Your Process
There are many people involved with the recruiting process including parents, school coaches, and club team coaches.
It can be challenging to separate sound advice from personal preference.
The decision to play for one program is difficult and involves many factors.
While parents provide guidance and input from experience, athletes should have confidence in their ability to make a strong choice.
It’s especially important to realize that coaches cannot make the decision for you.
Take charge of your process so you are ready to make a good choice when the time comes.
Very few athletes find themselves in a position to play at the next level.
Fewer get to experience being actively recruited.
It’s important to remember the exciting and fun aspects of the process.
Things can feel quite overwhelming at times but always keep in mind that being recruited is a once in a lifetime experience.
Playing volleyball at the next level is a dream for many young athletes.
While figuring out volleyball recruiting can be challenging, it is possible to get yourself in front of coaches to show off your talents.
If you are serious about playing collegiate volleyball, follow the steps above and keep in mind the traits that coaches are looking for.