Posted On: 04/5/19 8:44 AM
Reading minds is impossible, so how are you supposed to gauge the interest level of a college coach? Coaches have many ways of reaching out to athletes, whether it be through email, phone call, general questionnaire, or personalized mail.
All these things mean one thing: the coach is interested, but how interested?
Generalized Mass E-mail
One of the assistant coaches probably saw you play at a large tournament and added you to their list of potential recruits. This is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and make yourself known to them! Fill out their questionnaire and send them a personalized email with video of you playing.
Personalized Mailed Questionnaire
The head or assistant coach saw you play briefly, but do not know enough about you yet, or are not permitted to contact you because you are too young. Again, another great opportunity to make yourself known by mailing back the questionnaire promptly and sending a follow-up email with your schedule listed.
Personalized Mail or E-mail
The coach is interested and wants to see more of you play, whether through highlight video or a schedule of your games. They will also want your club/high school coaches’ contact as a reference to learn more about you as a player.
The coach is VERY interested and wants to know more about you as a person and determine if you would be a good fit in their program. They will want to know where you are in the recruiting process, if you would come on a visit, and what your goals and aspirations are once you are a college volleyball player.
If you have been trying to contact a college coach, but they are not responding, try finding a resource that has a connection to that school. If that does not work out, re-evaluate the school and your skill level and determine if it is a right fit for you. At this point, it may be time to move on. When you are early in the recruiting process, try not to put all your eggs into one basket as it can leave you very disappointed and frustrated in the end.
Another key component in the world of recruiting is understanding the volleyball recruiting timeline by position. When researching collegiate volleyball programs, look at their rosters and see how many girls share your position and what year of eligibility they are. Do not let this deter you from emailing them, but let it prepare you in the case that they may turn you down if they are not looking for your position for your graduating year.
Every year, college coaches are out with lists of specific positions and roles on their roster they are looking to fill for the following years to come. Coaches have recruiting timelines that may be worked out 5+ years in advance. This is why recruiting is happening younger and younger.
Across all divisions, here are the general guidelines of how often they recruit certain positions:
Outside/Right-Side Hitters: Every year college coaches will take pin hitters. If you can play all the way around the court, you have boosted your chances of getting recruited! College coaches will usually recruit anywhere from 2-4 of this position per year.
Middle Hitters: Middle hitters will usually get picked up annually like pin hitters, but because their position is not as versatile, it is likely that colleges will only pick up 1, maybe 2, per year.
Libero/DS’s: Specialized positions like liberos and setters are not usually needed on an annual basis as their position is so specific and coaches will want to invest their time in making a 4-year starting libero or setter. Because of this, you will likely have 1 true libero recruited every 2 years and 1-2 DS’s recruited per year (maybe more depending on if the program’s outsides play their own back-row).
Setters: Generally teams that run 5-1 offenses will have 2, maybe 3 setters on their roster at any given time. Because of this, usually colleges will recruit 1 setter position every 2 years. This will vary by program as some run 6-2’s.
Practice/Reserve Player: These are needed on an annual basis as many walk-ons do not stick around the entire four years. This is a very important position at any level as intense competition is required every practice. If you are a practice/reserve player, be prepared to play anywhere the coach puts you in (be a well-rounded volleyball player). On the roster, you may be listed as multiple positions, a setter/defensive specialist for example.
Obviously, all of this will be dependent on the program and coach, but this is just a general guideline from experiences and observations.
Having an understanding of how college coaches communicate and the positional recruiting timeline can better prepare you for the highs and lows of the recruiting process.