The first step in getting recruited by a college volleyball team is to take advantage of the competition in high school. No matter what area you are from or the size of your school, they will offer volleyball as a sport. Start here. It is the cheapest option for playing organized volleyball you will find.
Before you set foot in your high school, you should be training and thinking about what you want to achieve in the sport. If you're reading this article, you most likely want to play volleyball at the highest possible level and earn a college education in the process.
To do that, you need to play at the highest level you can as soon as you can. That means if you are in junior high, you should be thinking about what you need to do to make the Junior Varsity team or Varsity team in the summer before your first high school season.
Here are some tips for getting ahead of your college volleyball recruitment before you enter high school:
Contact The High School Coaches In Your Area
Before the summer of your freshman school year, send an email to some high school volleyball coaches in your local area. Pick a few, not just the coaches at the school you plan to attend - reach out to coaches from rival high schools, or high schools across town, or the best high schools in the state.
In your email to these high school coaches, tell them about yourself and your desire to play college volleyball. Then ask them questions about what they look for when evaluating incoming freshman. Ask them how their practices are run, what their schedule looks like, and about players like you that have had success on their teams in the past.
If you think you're ready to start talking to college volleyball coaches, check out some of the helpful tips in this article: Nine Questions To Ask Volleyball Coaches During Recruitment
Once you have a few replies from the coaches you emailed, start using some of their advice to prepare yourself for your upcoming freshman season. Knowing what coaches expect and what similar athletes are doing to be successful will help keep you focused on what's important.
You can read more about how high school volleyball differs from college volleyball in this article: How College Volleyball Differs From The High School Sport
Set A Strict Schedule And Train Regularly
Now that you've contacted a few local high school coaches, it's time to start building the habits that will help you be successful in your upcoming season. It's important to build a strong work ethic as soon as possible so you can develop good habits and get a leg up on the competition.
Setting a strict schedule of sleeping, eating, studying, and training is one of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for the rigors of college sports. When you create a daily schedule for training your body and your mind, you'll begin performing at a higher level faster. To make it as a college athlete, you need to be okay with saying no to things every now and then - like staying up late or eating junk food. More than the grueling workouts or the constant competition, the mental game will be the most challenging aspect of your athletic career.
Training regularly at a younger age will also be a huge benefit to gaining attention from college coaches. If you are training the muscles needed for volleyball at young age, they will be stronger once you reach the most important stage of your career and will be less susceptible to injury.
For an easy introduction to training specific muscles for volleyball or training for a specific position, check out some of the articles below:
- Setting: Three Best Drills & Workouts To Improve Your Setting
- Blocking: Five Best Volleyball Drills and Workouts to Improve Blocking
- Digging: Four Steps For Defensive Players To Improve Digging
- Jumping: Seven Tips Every Volleyball Player Needs To Increase Their Vertical Jump
In order to make it to the college level, you need to fall in love with training and practicing. Developing a passion for the game will motivate you to train harder and longer and allow you to develop the mental toughness and skills needed to compete for the rest of your career.
Find A Club Team In Your Area
As you prepare for high school volleyball, it is important to play organized games as often as possible. But, at the grade school and junior high level, it can be hard to make sure you are playing against the best athletes in your area.
While playing anywhere against anyone is a huge benefit, playing in club tournaments and national invitationals is invaluable. The sooner you can be exposed to some of the best players from other areas, the sooner you will understand what will be needed to make it to the next level.
Do your research and find out if there are any teams in your area that play a high level of competitive volleyball. Club volleyball teams and the travel that is needed can be expensive, so make sure you talk about it with your family and help them understand the benefits.
Clubs can help you develop the skills you need to make it to the college level. Many of the coaches have had experience at a higher level and can offer constant advice about how you need to develop as a player and as a teammate. There are also club tournaments that college coaches attend to help evaluate talent. In fact, club tournaments are one of the best places to gain exposure to college coaches because the tournaments usually feature a region's best athletes in one facility.
To see more of the benefits of playing on a club volleyball team, check out this article: The Positives of Playing Club Volleyball For College Recruits
Playing volleyball at the college level is very difficult. You not only need to be among the best player in your school, you will also need to be among the best high school volleyball players in your district. You also need to be the most dedicated.
Below, you can find a few tips on how to go out and find coaches, but in the meantime, start working harder than every other player and have fun doing it.