Friday, April 29, 2016

Club volleyball will get my child a college volleyball scholarship

So your son or daughter wants to play volleyball in college.   I am not going to use this post to give you the magic formula to make that happen.  There are plenty of recruiting services and internet resources (and even resources within the Gateway Region (see their website)) that can help you help your child get that scholarship. 

If your son or daughter plays high level club since 6th grade it is very possible that it could cost you $15,000 by the time they graduate from high school.   Is that the best way to spend that money?  I think national level clubs make kids better faster than smaller clubs, at least on average.  However, I think there may be better ways of getting your child a volleyball scholarship than playing expensive club ball for all those years. 

I just don't believe that playing at a high level in club necessarily improves your chance of getting a college volleyball scholarship.  People say that playing club gets their daughter "seen" by college coaches, especially if they travel.  I don't buy that for any but the top players on a team.  In a gym with 200 17s teams playing, how much time does a college coach have to spend looking at one team?  Not very much and they probably spend most of that time looking at the best (and most featured) 1-3 players on each team. 

Hopefully I have gotten you thinking.  Is high level club the best way (or even the most financially efficient way if you are resource limited) to get my child a volleyball scholarship

As an alternative, what would happen if you played on a less expensive club team (say under $1000) and took the rest of the $2000-$3500 a year you are spending in club when your daughter gets to high school and just spread it out over the summer with her going to camps of colleges she might like to attend?   If you send the coach a letter saying you are going to be attending a camp and fill out the on-line questionnaire indicating your interest in that school, you can get probably 5-6 schools to get a week-long look at your son or daughter for the same price you paid for a club season.   Plus, by expressing an interest in a volleyball scholarship at that school you know they are likely to be looking for your child in the dozens of kids in her grade level that are attending that camp.   Actually, when you think about the touches that a child gets at a bunch of weeklong camps over the summer and compare that to the touches they get in a club season, it might not turn out to be as different as you think.  If a camp goes 5 days and it is 6 hours a day and you attend 4 of them over the summer, it actually is identical to the 120 hours of touches your son or daughter gets from a whole club season plus it is more focused and is right before your high school season, making it very timely.  And that is not the only way to help your child get that scholarship

 Here is a homemade YouTube site for a kid with no club experience who wanted to play in college: ).  It's not slick but it is free and you can do it yourself.

Now, in addition to attending the camps, if you create a site like this and it gives college coaches another way to see your child in action, maybe that might be an alternate way (to expensive club volleyball) to get your child's name out there.   One piece of advice about a personal website.   Putting video on a website is a great idea  as college coaches can, at their leisure, watch your child play.  However, if you edit out all the bad plays and edit in all the spectacular plays, college coaches might not like that.  My suggestion is to put full games on that website so the coach can browse.  If you want to lead with a highlight reel, no harm in that.   Just give them some full games or matches to look at so that they know the highlight reel is not that far from the truth about how your child plays.

Lastly, I suggest that you and your child are the best advocates to get your child that college scholarship.  While clubs (through their contacts) and recruiting services (through the college coaches who subscribe) can help, it is you who could make the difference by being actively involved in the recruiting process, maybe without the help of anyone else.   I urge you to take full advantage of the free resources at your disposal in addition to any services (club or professional recruiting) you also want to use.

In summary, I think that having your child "seen" from playing on a club team is probably an inefficient way of helping your child get a volleyball scholarship.   If you are resource limited and don't want to invest in 6 years of high level club ball there are other ways of helping to get your child a scholarship and I think I have covered some of those above, although these are just my opinions of what might work, not that I am telling you they will work....but it is something maybe to consider. 

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