Recruiting 101


Recruiting Rule #1          COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY


  •  The way you communicate, or do not communicate, with schools will influence the way you are recruited

  • You MUST fill out questionnaires and should respond to any correspondence you receive from a school.  You can also be proactive and send schools a resume with your important information.  However, be sure to fill out the information that they need from you. 

  • FIND A WAY TO STAND OUT.  Remember, schools are in contact with hundreds of players in each graduating class, so you need to make sure they know who you are!  How do you do this?

  1.  Personalize your correspondence.  Know the coaches names, the school mascot, colors, etc.  Be informed about how the season is going, where they are in the conference, if they played in the NCAA tournament. Let them know you have done your research and are truly interested in them. 

  2. Do something creative to stand out.  Send a card, a picture, etc. Make sure they know you outside of volleyball.

  3. Write back to correspondence and remark on what they have written to you.  Let them know you are reading what they send.

  4. Do not be afraid to call a coach from a school you are very interested in.  They cannot always call you, but you can call them any time. That shows great initiative and interest to a school.    


Recruiting Rule #2          BE AHEAD OF THE GAME


  • It is never too early to get started with recruiting, and it seems like every year the process speeds up! 

  • Freshman and sophomores should be sending out letters to schools they are interested in.  If you are already a junior or a senior, you need to get on it right away! 

  • Get registered with the NCAA eligibility center as soon as you can.  There are many things you need to be sending to them to ensure you are eligible to play.

  • Take your SAT/ACT early in your junior year to get scores posted. 

  • If possible, visit the schools you are most interested in and attend the summer camps of your top schools.  The sooner you get to see a school and meet the coaches the easier it is to narrow your list.  It is even better when you can be in the gym with them!  Even seeing colleges’ you do not like helps you know what you do like!            


Recruiting Rule #3          CAST A WIDE NET – KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN


  • When you are getting ready to send your emails to schools, it is always better to contact too many schools than too few.   Get your name out there – you never know where it will lead.

  • Just because you hear from a school does not mean they will have a scholarship for you.  It is a long process and many things can change over the course of your recruiting cycle.  You need to stay in touch with the schools that are most exciting to you as well as the ones that you initially only have some interest in. 

  • Do not judge a school solely on if they are Division I, Division II, NAIA, etc.  Many Division II programs would compete with Division I teams, and Division III that would as well.  Look at the program, their history of success and the level of the coaching staff before you eliminate schools based on their level of play. It can be much more fun to play for a very successful school on a lower level than play for a Division I team that has no success. 

  • Rank the schools that you are interested in – have your “dream schools” as well as your tier A and tier B schools.  You can eliminate the “no way” schools.  As you learn more about the schools you are communicating with, you will likely move them around on your list – a school that started tier B might end up being your dream school once you learn more about it!  This is similar to how coaches recruit, and a good way for you to make decisions as well. 


Recruiting Rule #4          DO YOUR PART


  • Coaches will always choose, when all else is equal, the better student, the better leader, the harder worker and the person with the better attitude.

  • Do the best you can in the classroom.  There is nothing that will limit your opportunities faster than poor grades.  The better your GPA the more options you will have available for you!

  • When you play, remember that coaches are looking for far more than your physical skill.  They look for the intangibles – leadership, attitude, work ethic.  How do you respond to errors?  How to do you respond to coaches?  How do you respond to your teammates?  These are things coaches watch for during club tournaments that can move you up or down a coaches list very quickly!

  • When college coaches call us to talk about you, 80% of the conversation is about your practice habits, your attitude, your ability to learn and change, and leadership.  It does make a difference. 

  • Believe it or not, coaches are monitoring your social media.  Players are eliminated off recruiting lists because of a negative presence on social media.  Make good choices in what is an attribute to your accounts, even things you do not post but you like.  Be careful!

  • Be sure to apply for as many scholarships as you can.  There are many ways to help pay for a college education, and most people are not awarded full ride scholarships.  Other scholarships can be a big help!

  • Do your research on the schools you are interested in and those that contact you.  Find out all the aspects of that school and volleyball program that are important to you.  Know the university, know the volleyball program, and know the team.  All the information is out there and there is no excuse to not be well informed.


Recruiting Rule #5          PRIORITIZE


When it comes down to it, what are you going to base your decision on? There are many factors to consider, and things you will want to be thinking about when you get started with recruiting.  They include:

  1. Location – distance away from home

  2. Size of school – huge university? Small college? In between?

  3. Do they have your major?  Do they excel in your major?

  4. Level of volleyball

  5. Success of program

  6. Players/coaches on the team

  7. Will you be able to contribute immediately?  Will you need to sit for several years behind upperclassmen?

  8. Are they recruiting your position in your class?


Try to decide what are the most important factors are for you and then keep that in mind when looking at universities.  If a school loves you and wants you to play there, but it is a small liberal arts college, you want a big school, and to major in science it might not be a good fit, regardless of how much that school wants you to come.  Keep your priorities in mind!


You know yourself best; you know what you want from your college experience, so stay true to what you know about yourself.


Recruiting Rule #6             KNOW THE RULES


The NCAA has a million rules about recruiting, but you really only need to know a few basic rules:

  1.  Beginning Sept. 1st of your Junior year college coaches can have written contact with you about their school volleyball program.  Before that time, they can only send you general school information and a questionnaire and camp information.

  2. Beginning Sept. 1st  of your senior year, college coaches can call you 1 time each week.

  3. You may write, phone, e-mail or text coaches as much as you want.  If they miss your phone call, they cannot call you back until you are a senior.  Therefore, you might have to keep trying!

  4. You may visit a school, at your own expense, as much as you want to.  When you are on a college campus you can then speak to the coaches, so be sure to arrange a meeting if you plan to visit a school on your own. 

  5. At most, levels coaches are not allowed to talk to you or your parents during tournaments.  For seniors, then can talk to you once your tournament is over, but not during the tournament. 


NAIA and community colleges have their own sets of rules and are generally much more lenient about what you can and cannot do.  You can actually play with a team on your visit; can talk to coaches more liberally, etc. with NAIA and community colleges. 


Recruiting Rule #7          MAKE A GREAT CHOICE


  • Once you have done your homework, have prioritized, worked hard in the classroom and the court now you and have a few options – it is decision time.  My advice would always be – go where you feel you will have the best overall experience, as a student, an athlete, a person.

  • I have seen many players go to schools to play volleyball they never would have gone to otherwise.  Often those decisions do not work out for the best.  Try to imagine that you could no longer play volleyball – would you remain at that school?  If the answer is no it might not be the best place for you.

  • When making a decision try to factor in the things that will not change about the college rather than those that might.  For instance, the coach might not still be coaching there in 1 or 2 years – so if you base your decision on a coach you may be disappointed.  Your teammates will change over time as well.  Most students change their major.  But things like size of school, location of school, facilities – those will not change.



The bottom line for recruiting is this: If you are a Division I athlete or a community college athlete or somewhere in between, playing volleyball in college is a unique, special experience.  


If you have a strong desire to play college volleyball, there is a place out there for you!  


You just have to find it!