College Volleyball Recruiting Newsletter – VII
Players and parents can easily get caught up in thinking recruits must be a certain height and weight to play in a specific category (i.e. NCAA DI or NAIA) but there is no clear cut height and weight parameters for college volleyball.
NCAA Division I athletes tend to be taller and stronger than the athletes in Division II. This is a broad statement, as there are many elite DII players/programs, which are superior to lower ranked DI players/programs. When taking a broad view, the height and athleticism goes from high to low when we talk about NCAA DI to DII/NAIA to DIII and JC.
One of the things lost on televised college volleyball, is how tall and physical the top NCAA DI players are – On the small screen, they all kind of look tall and lean, but when you stand next to them, they are very tall, very strong and very solid athletes.
As long as an athlete is height/weight proportionate, college coaches don’t make too much of a player’s weight. Being too thin carries as much concern as being too heavy – Proportionality is what coaches are looking at.
In the recruiting arena, while player height is important, playing height is more important. The block and attack touch is a critical measurement for college coaches; if you can touch 10′ when you attack, we are not overly concerned if your height is 5’10” or 6’3″.
Many players get caught up in the height or lack of height. “Small” players think they have no shot of playing at the elite college level, while the “Tall” players think they can just show up at an event and wait for the scholarships to roll in – neither is correct. Your skills and how tall you play are what college coaches focus upon.
Height is beyond your control, but skill sets and fitness levels are completely within your grasp. Sure, some athletes are just blessed to have great passing and great jumping ability, but every player can always become a better passer and improve their physical fitness.
Instead of focusing on height/weight (other than healthy eating patterns), stay concerned about skill development and enjoyment. There is always some skill set a young player can improve upon; find the weakest skill pertinent to the position and encourage the development of that skill.
One area that merits caution is the younger ages and hard-core jump training, which some club teams engage in. These intense fitness sessions, when combined with the normal 1,000 jumps of every tournament can exert a high number of heavy impacts upon a teenage body. Caution is urged because college coaches don’t want physically stressed recruits arriving to their campuses for their collegiate career.
All the jumps and training and pounding will have a cumulative effect, which will often show up during the college years. When you are 16, you are fairly invincible in the moment but the pounding does start to take a toll; much like hairline cracks in the concrete.
College volleyball is the next level; the matches are longer, the travel is more demanding, the training is harder and the physical/mental pressure to perform is more intense – It doesn’t get easier in college, it gets harder.
Families should take a holistic approach to their athlete’s fitness; healthy diet, plenty of sleep, over all body strengthening, low impact cardio fitness and time away from physical training of any sort (including playing volleyball), so the body can rebuild itself.