Recruiting often seems like a mysterious process. Every college athlete has a unique tale of how she caught coaches' attention and received scholarship offers or walk-on opportunities. For some, the offers seem to roll in with little effort. Others spend significant time and money trying to garner elusive scholarships with few results.
While the NASA staff can't offer you "10 Steps to a Guaranteed Scholarship," we can help simplify the recruiting process.
Preparing for a college scholarship begins well before an athlete's senior year. The Rich Kern Recruiting Registry provides a well-written recruiting timeline. It outlines steps volleyball players should take each year of high school in order to berecruited. We recommend that NASA athletes who want to play in college print this timeline and place it prominently in a recruiting binder and refer back to it often. Use the binder to compile your volleyball stats, records, awards and highlights throughout high school and club. The binder will be useful when you begin promoting your athletic skills and experience through recruiting registries, highlight videos, player websites, and e-mails to college coaches.
Recruiting is a proactive process. College coaches won't recruit you if they've never heard of you or seen you play. There are many avenues to gain visibility and exposure. As a NASA player, you already have a few factors in your favor. First, your team plays in large tournaments that college coaches often attend. Second, your club staff is comprised of former college players and coaches who maintain regular contact with college coaches at various levels of intercollegiate volleyball.
According to the recruiting timeline referenced above, the sophomore year of high school is a good time for most players to begin contacting college coaches. You may contact them via e-mail or postal mail. We suggest making a broad list of colleges you are interested in attending and contacting their coaches by both e-mail and postal mail. Briefly introduce yourself, state why you are interested in their program, include your club or high school schedule, athletic resume and possibly your highlight, skills or match video (see below). We have provided an athletic resume template for NASA players to use when developing their own athletic resume: athletic resume in MS Word or athletic resume PDF.
Continue contacting your list of college coaches at least twice a year: once before the season to provide your schedule and once after the season to share any awards you received or season highlights. Athetes may contact college coaches more frequently, but remember to be friendly and assertive without being overbearing.
An easy method for getting your name out is to sign up with (free) recruiting registries. These online services maintain large databases of volleyball player information that college coaches may search when looking for recruits. Some popular networks/registries that volleyball coaches access for college sports recruiting include:
For example, college coaches use the Rich Kern registry to find athletes, plus athletes once registered can view what positions registered schools are looking to fill. A sampling can be viewed on the registry site.
Once you sign up for these registries, be sure to update your information each season with new schedules, awards, and possibly videos.
Individual Recruiting Videos
Since the dawn of reel-to-reel and VHS, college coaches have spent innumerable hours viewing videos of potential recruits in action. If properly produced, highlight videos can be a great way to introduce yourself to a coach and get on his recruiting radar. Coaches generally enjoy highlight videos, assuming the highlights are well-spaced, clearly presented and concise. Some coaches enjoy footage of a player performing volleyball skills relevant to the player's position--again keep it brief. The other thing coaches enjoy in a recruit's video is uncut match footage. Pick a good set, or a good stretch of play for yourself and your team, but don't expect a college coach to grab the jumbo popcorn and watch your entire season. Unfortunately, the amount of time a coach has available to dedicate to watching your video is far less than we would hope.
Good individual recruiting videos have these characteristics in common:
Good highlight videos take time and patience to create. Using a free video editor, such as Windows Live Essentials Movie Maker, players and parents can assemble a respectable individual recruiting video. We encourage NASA parents to share tournament video with teammates and help each other capture the season highlights. If you do not feel capable of creating your own video, there are many excellent businesses that may help you. Once your video is created, you might want to consider showing it to your NASA staff for feedback before sending it to college coaches.
A relatively new trend in recruiting is player websites and YouTube videos. Some players have begun creating their personal recruiting websites. On the website, they include their athletic resume, upcoming tournament schedule and highlight videos. The player then links the website to their recruiting registry profiles and in e-mails to college coaches. Players who use YouTube to enhance their recruiting profiles would post footage and send the link as part of an e-mail to a college coach.
NASA players also have the option of developing their TeamPages profile on the NASA website. You can use it to post your athletic resume, stats, and highlight videos. Plus, your club tournament schedule is already included. Like personal websites, you can link your TeamPages profile to recruiting registries and in e-mails to college coaches.
As a club player, your name has likely appeared on volleyball marketing lists. Chances are that through these marketing lists, you've received mail from volleyball recruiting services. These companies ask you to pay a fee and in return promise to promote you to college coaches. While some of these companies offer quality services, please be careful. Many cannot deliver anything superior to your personal letter and e-mail sent to college coaches.
Recruiting apps can help club volleyball players contact college coaches to help them in the recruiting process. If you are familiar with a particular smartphone or computer application that has been beneficial, please let us know and we'll post some info about it. The following apps have not been used or endorsed by NASA but have come to our attention:
Each level of college athletics (NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and JUCO) has its own set of recruiting rules. Traditionally, DI programs have had the most restrictions. Rules prohibited coaches at DI institutions from contacting players via mail prior to their junior year and via phone prior to their senior year. Texting with recruits was strictly prohibited. While there were exceptions for summer camp and a few other occasions, the rules left little wiggle room. Scholarship offers and other messages had to be passed verbally from the college coach to the players' club or high school coaches prior to the junior or senior years. In early 2013, the NCAA proposed to eliminate many of their recruiting restrictions. While this legislation has yet to be approved, it is important to be aware of rules that may affect your eligibility. The following are excellent resources to learn more about NCAA eligibility guidelines, and always feel free to ask your NASA staff if you have questions:
NASA offers several yearly Recruiting Seminars for current NASA players and parents. These are conducted by UAH Volleyball Coach Cade Smith, and are held around November of each year and also on Friday before the NASA Bash tournament.
Junior Vollebyall Association (JVA)
American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)
The CollegeVolleyballCoach website is a blog that covers recruiting, NCAA Rules and Terms, Trends, Opinions, etc.
Contact your coach or Club Founder & Director Connie Nicholson.