Beach college athletes celebrating

If you’re in high school and serious about volleyball, you’re probably thinking about playing in college. You may have a coach, club director, guidance counselor or recruiting service help you in the process, but it’s important for you to know the basics. We’ve provided answers to some of the most-often asked college recruiting questions to help you start your recruiting journey.

How can I start the recruiting process?

There are lots of things that go into the recruiting process, but you can start with understanding what your preferences are, such as preferred location, size of school, majors offered, division or competition level, academic strength, social/cultural fit, and financial opportunities. Take a holistic view at schools, assessing the volleyball program and what’s offered beyond it. To get on the radar of college coaches, start a profile with a recruiting service. Include highlight videos, game footage, playing schedule and contact information. This helps you gain exposure and let college coaches know more about you.

What should I put in my highlight video?

Your highlight video is a snapshot of your abilities, so put your best plays first (hits, blocks, defensive plays, etc.). Then, add footage that shows your range of skills through game play and longer rallies. The best angle to film is from behind the service line with the entire court in view. If a college coach wants to see more, they might ask for unedited full game footage.

How do I know if a college coach is interested in me?

Activity usually means interest. If a coach is viewing/following your online profile, opening/responding to your emails, and asking for your video footage or playing schedule, there is at least a moderate level of interest to learn more.

When a coach asks you to visit campus and meet the team, that usually indicates a higher level of interest. Alternatively, an invitation to a camp may or may not indicate interest, and you should follow up with an email or phone call for more information.

What do college coaches evaluate?

While coaches will initially look at your athleticism and volleyball skills, they will evaluate more than that before making their final decisions. Work ethic, attitude and leadership come into play as well as academics, communication skills and personality.

Pro tip: Don’t forget about social media! Be sure that you represent yourself well on all of your social media accounts. They will be reviewed during this process!

What do I talk about with a college coach?

Whether through email, phone calls or online meetings, get to know the coaches while they get to know you.

  • Tell them why you like their program/school.
  • Discuss what you are working on now – both athletically and academically.
  • Share your role models
  • Tell them when/where you’ll be playing next. Ask questions to learn more about the program.

What types of questions should I ask coaches?

Ask open-ended questions instead of yes/no questions. Examples include:

  • How are you and your team doing during this time?
  • What are your future goals for your program?
  • What are you looking for in a (your position)?
  • Do you have any tips on what I can continue working on?

Try to get feedback from them, but also get to know them as people and what it would be like playing for them.

About the Author: Sue Webber is a former college volleyball player for the University of Illinois and former collegiate coach at the NAIA and Division I levels. She is the event partnership director for USA Volleyball partner Next College Student Athlete, which helps guide athletes through the college recruiting process.