From the Field House – Issue 9

We are quickly approaching the summer months and I am already dreading the heat. It has been a very enjoyable spring with the temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s but the rain has been over the top. I feel really sorry for all of you that have to deal with the floods around the Red River. It is amazing how it reminds us of the 1990 flood. I remember it well because of all the “I Survived The Flood” tee shirts we printed. It was a tragic event for some and a boom for others. The rains have brought havoc to the scheduling of baseball and soccer events this spring. My grand kids have lived in sadness because of the games canceled. It was during one of the games that survived the rain that I was questioned about a local athlete that had excelled in volleyball but wasn’t being recruited by any colleges. There was a lot of disbelief in the voice of the person asking the question. He shared with me all the accomplishments this athlete had registered and just couldn’t understand why she wasn’t being sought after. I am passing on to you what I told this person and I also hope that some of the information will help if you have a similar situation.

In the world of volleyball recruiting you find a vary narrow opportunity of being seen by college scouts. The problem that exist is that most colleges that offer volleyball for ladies have no one on the road scouting. The college volleyball season runs at the same time as the high school season so it would be rare to find a college scout in the bleachers. Because of limited budgets colleges are unable to fund scouts that go out and visit actual games being played. “Well then how do they find out about these exceptional players?” The answer to this question is CLUB SPORTS. Club sports have been around for some time and are not sponsored by the high schools. They are organizations that are formed by parents that understand the need to have their athletes exposed to college coaches. The club season usually runs after the high school season allowing the college coaches to attend the tournaments. Some of the larger tournaments are staged in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and other college towns. It is imperative that you get your athlete involved in the club scene and to get them on the best team possible. If you have little passion for the sport you should not even consider the club concept. It is expensive and you will find yourself traveling all over the country looking for top level tournaments. It is not unusual to find 20 or 30 universities represented at the major tournaments. The coaches understand the passion and will be able to see several hundred of the athletes in one location. I considered it an investment in the future of my children of which both girls played college volleyball. I paid zero for college for both of my kids which allowed me to make available other things like cars and insurance and spending money. It was a dedication that my wife and I made and it found us turning a lot of miles. We had to take our girls to Longview to play for the East Texas Elites, traveling some 200 miles per week just for practice. Again we looked at all we had to do as an investment in the success of our girls.

Another strategy that we used was sending both kids to major college camps. College coaches are very good at looking at talent in the early stages of development. They will put a tag on your kid as a perspective player and follow them throughout their career. Just remember that those opportunities are only there for those that pursue the proper channels. Major college contacts will also filter down to the smaller colleges through major college coaches assistance. For example the University of Texas can only recruit a small amount of athletes during the year because their squad is only so big. When they fulfill their number of athletes they begin to pass names of skilled players to their friends that coach at other universities. This pass down goes pretty much in one direction. This is why I recommend going to major D1 camps. The bigger the better. This exposure can have lasting effects on the future of your athletes.

I hope this has been helpful for those that are considering an education paid by performance. As a parent and a coach I can tell you that saving my parents thousands of dollars by receiving a football scholarship was very pleasing and long lasting. This was passed down to my two daughters and I am seeing the beginning of it passing to the grand kids. You should also demand that the coaches in charge of the high school programs be active in helping your kids get the exposure they need to move successfully into a college career. If you have a coach that refuses to promote your athletes to the proper channels I suggest you begin to look for a reason. Your coach should be well connected to college coaches and should have many contacts to call on during this process. To be assured that your child gets all the exposure they need to succeed I suggest that you take the time as a parent and make the contacts also. Being proactive will certainly help in getting your kids in front of those that are hunting talent. Waiting on someone else to make it happen may cost your kid some value in his or her athletic career. Hope this helps and if you have any questions I will be glad to answer any that I can. Good Luck.

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