The Rise of Transfers and the Role of the Volleyball Clubs

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Transferring in college volleyball is becoming more of a common practice. While roster changes from injury, change of academic interests, relationships, burn out, etc. are common, we are seeing a noticeable rise in the number of players who are transferring for volleyball reasons.

A junior volleyball club director and coach can have a great impact on a student athletes recruiting process and ultimate commitment. Here are ways in which junior volleyball clubs can help their players truly find the right college fit.

  1. Be realistic about the ability of your players, and educate yourself on the different levels of college volleyball. Not like your fall is wide open with nothing to do, but make sure to see an elite level DI match, a NAIA match, a Junior College match. You need to see what these athletes look like on the court, so you can have a realistic opinion of your players athletic ability and potential.

  2. Make sure your coaches are honest about which college programs are recruiting your players. A player who is talented enough to play at the NCAA Division I level may ultimately find a better fit in a smaller school, even if it is not a big name school. Although it may look better from a marketing perspective when a player commits to a big name school, this is a decision that will impact the next four to five years of the student-athletes life. The club's glory should be left out of the decision. Club coaches and club directors play an important role as a middle man in the recruiting process, especially early on, and if a player does not know about all the options, it can have a negative impact on the outcome.

  3. Be the 3rd party observer; put on the sunglasses so the bright shine of that big name school does not have the same effect upon you as it does the family. Provide objective feedback about the player, with the understanding that families cannot be objective. This means sometimes having a very hard conversation with parents about your opinion on what type or level of collegiate program would be a good fit.

  4. If your club does not have the resources or the time to hold your players' hands through the recruiting process, there are professionals who can.  From creating a highlight video, to distributing your players' information to college coaches  and communicating with coaches to the point of an offer, navigating through the recruiting process can be very time consuming, nerve-wrecking, and confusing. The more resources, information and options your players have the easier it will be to get their recruiting process going in the right direction.

5.  After a player commits to a school, be honest about the road ahead and what it will take to start as a freshman. The reality is that is is not common for a freshman to start at the collegiate level, especially at the very beginning of the season. It will take a lot of hard work to make the travel squad, players will grind out long days on the court with coaches demanding a lot of them, and they may not see a lot of playing time the first year or two.

The ultimate responsibility for the increased numbers of transfers in today's college volleyball landscape is the result of the student-athlete. It is important for the player to discover as much information on a college program as possible during the recruiting process so there are few, if any, unfavorable surprises once the player arrives on campus.

More than ever, playing time is earned at the collegiate level. Most athletes are transferring because of limited playing time. Today's youth are living in an environment of instant gratification and entitlement. A collegiate program has a roster full of players who were All-County, All-State and All-American. Every player was the best on the club team, every player was a highly recruited athlete and every player wants to be a starter.

Many junior volleyball clubs provide outstanding guidance for their players (and, of course, I count you among these many) but after immediate family, club directors and coaches are one of the most influential people in a student athletes recruiting process. Having an educated and un-emotional stance can truly help a student athlete find the best fit, and hopefully lower the number of transfers in college volleyball.

For more education on the recruiting process click here. For more education and resources for club directors click here.

About the Author

Matt Sonnichsen is the Director of Volleyball and National Speaker for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. Matt has over 20 years of experience coaching volleyball at the collegiate level.


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