College Volleyball Recruiting Newsletter – I
Where can I find a list of schools and their recruiting needs by position and year?
The challenge with getting a listing of recruiting needs by graduation year and position, is today’s college volleyball recruiting environment is fluid. Not too long ago, there was a certain predictable pattern with recruiting; graduating a setter and outside hitter in Spring 2020, meant that a college program needed to bring in a setter and outside hitter in Fall 2020.
A predictable cycle of recruiting is no longer the case; recruiting is now fluid, not structured. This recruiting fluidity is significantly influenced by:
· Head coaching job changes.
· Unfulfilled recruiting expectations.
· Ease of transferring.
· Stuff happens.
Job Changes –
When a head coach job change occurs, there will be roster changes. Each head coach brings their own coaching philosophy and it is the returning players that implement this new coaching philosophy. The ‘old school’ college volleyball program philosophy was that the new head coach would keep all the current players and if they did not fit the new system, they would be practice players but would stay until they graduated. Now, it is commonplace that players, which do not fit the new system, are ‘encouraged’ to transfer.
Recruiting Expectations –
The most important job of a college volleyball coach is recruiting. It is not training, it is not mentoring, it is not encouraging academic excellence. If coaches recruit well, they keep their jobs and cash the paycheck; if coaches recruit really well, they can get a raise or get a better job; if coaches recruit poorly, they get fired. No matter how good a coach is, they can’t make a 5’7″ outside hitter a 6’2″ outside hitter; they can’t make a bad passer a great passer; they can’t fix a bad armswing – College coaches refine talent, they don’t create talent.
With this reality in mind, understand college volleyball coaches are doing everything they can to get a talented player to commit. This can easily create unrealistic expectations from a recruit/family about playing time, travel roster, playing position, athletic time commitments, academic support, quality of the coaching staff, scholarship funding, etc.
But, it is not all the college coaches fault; families can all to often come in with rose colored glasses and hear/see what they want versus what is the reality. From playing time, to academic courses, to type of campus, to team culture; these are all areas where families are not being realistic during the recruiting process. The reality of college volleyball and collegiate academics can be a shock to the system when they are a freshman. When expectations on either side of the street are not met, then the result is to make a change of programs/schools.
Ease of Transferring –
With the NCAA Division I transfer portal and the newer mindset of administrators and college coaches outside in all college volleyball categories, transferring does not have the negativity or barriers of the past. When you factor in the digital age of video and communications, college transfers are now just another recruiting category. If a player is unhappy about not starting and doesn’t want to make the effort to become a starter, they just transfer to another school. If a coach is not happy with the talent level of a player and does not want to make the effort to train them to be better, they just have them transfer. The college players and the college coaches are not going to advertise their transfer desires/objectives outside of the program, so potential recruits can’t see what a program may really need.
Stuff Happens –
As simplistic as it may sound, stuff happens. A player flunks out, the volleyball budget gets cut and the head coach has to eliminate off campus recruiting, a player gets homesick and leaves mid semester, an assistant coach up and quits who ran the recruiting for the program, a world pandemic occurs which forces the NCAA to grant an extra year of eligibility to spring athletes, etc. Each example will change the recruiting needs and ability of a volleyball program.
All too often, there is no predictable pattern for recruiting years and positions. College coaches recruit for every position each year, scholarship and non-scholarship, because that is today’s college volleyball environment. Families must take this same mindset and pursue their recruiting objectives under the belief that each college program is recruiting each position every year!