College Volleyball Scholarships: The Straight Scoop
Why do you want your son/daughter to
play volleyball? The answer is kids who
play volleyball are: Smart, athletic, good looking, great kids from great
families! That is the attraction of the
sport. Not an athletic scholarship. You want your kids to be around these kids
2-4 times a week. If you want to play at
the next level, below is some general advice.
You will choose your college based on
these 4 factors and usually in this order:
A. Cost of education
D. Extra Curricular
If you are not an athlete, take out the athletics.
One of the first thing's things
colleges/universities look at on your application is your SAT/ACT score. Take a SAT/ACT preparatory class to raise
your test score.
Four ways for money: Athletic scholarship, academic aid, financial
need based aid and of course you can always pay for your daughter and son's
1. Volleyball Athletic Scholarship: If you want a volleyball scholarship, you
have to play club volleyball. About 90%
of the women and men NCAA volleyball players have played in the USAV junior club
system. The other 10% come from
overseas. Maybe more, maybe less. Best results are when you play on a
"Traveling Team" for your club.
These club teams play in what we call JO Qualifiers or similar
tournaments. The list of JO Qualifier
tournaments can be found here: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball/Events/Indoor/Girls/2015-Girls-Junior-National-Qualifiers Why do you want to play in these
tournaments? That is where the coaches
are. You will see more collegiate
coaches watching "Open" players than the "National" or "American" divisions. Here
is the big secret about recruiting: If you
are good, the coaches will find you.
Period. They are very good at
this. It is their job. You do not need to spend a lot of money on a
club in order to be seen. If you go to
a JO Qualifier, make sure you go to the USAV's High Performance tryout the
night before/after the tournament starts.
The coaches are there. They will
see you. Be aware of the omnipresent "Combine/Recruiting" events. Some are good, some are bad. Here is another secret players and parents
need to warm up to: Coaches can watch
you play for 30-60 seconds and they know whether or not they should keep
watching. I often tell the story of when
Jeff Stork and I watched 129 boys play King of The Court at a HP tryout in
Orange County. We were asked to find the
30 best players. We both scanned the floors
for 25 minutes and we each came back and threw down a sheet of paper. We missed each other's list by 1 name!! It is that quick and accurate. Any college coach can do the same.
Should you make a DVD/Tape? Should you get a recruiting service? Again, college coaches are very good at
finding talented players. Have your club
director help you. He/she is getting
weekly e-mails with request from college coaches. A good director is going to forward you this
information. The most popular way to
contact coaches is to send them a short 3-5 minute YouTube video. Send this YouTube video along with a short
honest bio to no less than 100 coaches.
Coaches get between 15-60 of
these videos a week. The first thing
they are going to look at is how high you touch then your SAT score.
positions are the most recruited? Since the game is won and lost at the pins (antennas)
the most sought after recruits are opposites and outside hitters followed by
setters and then middle blockers.
Liberos and defensive specialist will be recruited in 6-packs. The wining libero or DS might get a
scholarship their junior year. Be aware
of programs that offer something in the future.
College coaches are for the most part an honest group, but their job is
dependent on winning and if somebody else better comes along, a decision will
There are about 300 DI women's programs
that offer volleyball. About 300 DII
women's programs that offer volleyball and about 300 DIII that offer
volleyball. Figure an average of about
10 scholarships per DI program about 6 scholarships for the DII and no athletic
scholarships for DIII programs. Junior
colleges offer athletic scholarships as well as NAIA programs. Add it all up for the girls and there
about/around/maybe 4500 scholarships. Add
it up for the men and there are about/around/maybe 100 scholarships.
Academic Aid: Did
you follow my advice and take a SAT/ACT preparatory class? Do you have a high GPA? The good news is colleges and universities
recruit good students a lot more than they recruit good athletes. They will give you money if you apply for the
right scholarships. The best thing to do
is to visit each school's web site and to look at the process for obtaining an
academic scholarship . Work with your
high school counselor. If you can go to
the school and make an appointment with the admissions to ask questions about
scholarships, so much the better. Keep
on top of it. Words of wisdom: If the school is going to give you money, you
need to maintain a certain GPA. If your
GPA falls below a certain threshold, they will warn you, them pull your
Need Based Aid: This is what I did
my last year at USC. You can go to https://fafsa.ed.gov/
to register for student financial need based aid. Once you register (they track you through
your SS#) they will want to see two years of your parents income taxes, bank
statements, IRA and other financial account statements, equity in real estate
etc.....They compute this and will send you a letter in early April telling you
that you have been accepted into the school with three types of aid: Grants, Work Study and Loans. Grants are what you want. It is free money. Loans you have to pay back. Work study is how the universities and
colleges fill their labor needs. Two thoughts
of advice: The first is universities
will front load these packages with grants the first two years with the last
two being more loans. That is why
students graduate with so much in student debt.
Secondly, you must apply for these grants every year. There are deadlines for turning current
financial information back into FAFSA.
Make sure you meet those deadlines or you will lose all of your
financial need base aid.
are Three parts to being an Athlete: Athletic ability, The ability to change and the
ability to positively influence those around them. Let's look at
athletic ability in sports is the easiest part of a coach's job.
In football, what is the first question
they ask about a football player?
"What is his 40?" In
men's and women's swimming, they ask:
"What is your 100 free?"
In crew, they ask: "What is
your ERG score?" In the sport of
volleyball we ask: "What do you touch.?" As a very general barometer If you
touch 9'6" you will probably play at the next level. If you touch 9'8" you are going to
probably play at the next level, but not where you think. If you touch 10' or above, you could not hide
from the college coaches if you tried.
If you touch 10'4" or better you are already on the radar of USC,
UCLA, Stanford, Nebraska, Washington, Penn State, Texas et al......If you touch
9 and above, you are looking at a D11, D111 or a NAIA school. Boys, you need to be able to touch about
11'3" to get the attention of coaches.
will know when you are seriously being recruited when one of four things
happen: The college
coach invites you on an un-official or official visit, or the college coaches
asks to see your official or unofficial transcripts and test scores. Everything else is parental fluff: The phone calls, the letters, e-mails. Fluff, fluff and more fluff. Understand how colleges recruit. Coaches will
look at between 100 and 400 players a year.
On an average year, they will
bring in 3-4 new players. You need to
expand your possibilities and look at many colleges. Do not narrow your
choice. You will be disappointed.
The second part to being an athlete is the ability to change. It is the wholly grail of volleyball,
athletics and life. Common
situation: You just got beat in a drill.
Do you have the ability to compete? Can you change physically, technically and
mentally to beat your teammates? Can you
be beaten by others? Do you beat
yourself? It is my estimation that only
2%-4% of the junior population are natural learners and have the aptitude to
get better each day they play. Oldest
sports cliché: "Get better each Day!!" Hardest thing to do as an athlete. The
ability to change has one more name in today's society: Leaders.
* The ability to make others around you better is
the third part of being an athlete. I
will give you two examples: Barry Bonds,
Randy Moss, Terrell Owens. Great
athletes. Hall of fame talent. But they did not make the players around them
better. As opposed to the greatest
athlete that has graced us in the last 50 years: Magic Johnson. All Magic did was make the players around him
better. You East Coast homers can vote
for your very own Larry Bird as another athlete who would make this list. Tim Duncan is my latest addition. Making players better can be a result of your
personality, your play or your display of work ethic. In that very rare case, players will possess all three.
Club Volleyball If the coaches are not beating a path
to your door or wearing out your e-mail inbox?
Think about club volleyball at a
major university. Everybody wants a
college scholarship, but it is quid pro quo.
You give them your time and talent, they give you money. Trust me when I tell you it is an even
exchange. Club volleyball at the
university or collegiate level is made for the students who want to stay
involved with the sport, but do not want to wake up at 6am and do weights. They don't want to spend 3 days on the
road. They don't want to feel so tired
after practice, they cannot keep their eyes open. Club volleyball is one of the fastest growing
parts of the sport for both men and women.
Check into the Rec Centers at your college and see if they offer club
volleyball. Typically, club teams train
once or twice a week. They have
tournaments once a month. And, they have
a season ending national tournament!
love junior/community colleges! I am a
product of a junior college. I still go
to junior colleges to take courses on subjects that interest me. My daughter goes to junior college--not
because she could not get into a 4 year school.
There are 3 major reasons I like junior colleges:
They save you a lot of money! (this is an understatement!)
Great teachers! ( I hate to bag
on my teachers at USC, but my CC teachers were great!)
Students with tough majors can take GE courses and transfer (hopefully!)
that class into a four year program. They
are not competing against the curve!
is a scary statistic: Nationwide, 30% of
freshmen do not return to the same academic institution for their sophomore
year. 20% of sophomores do not return
for their junior year. The numbers are
going to be different for private institutions, but it is an eye opening
experience for many students who come into a college thinking it is going to be
easy. Why do students drop out of
college? Grades? Money?
Too much social life? Problems
with roommates? Health issues? Maybe a combination of these things? Going to college is the greatest experience
of your life. But it is not for
everybody. Learning how to compete in a
volleyball match is a walk in the park compared to the level of competition in
a collegiate classroom. You need to
learn how to take studying seriously......for the simple reason is there are
quite a few students in your classroom that do take studying seriously. If you are like 80% of all college students,
you are going to have a "crisis" your first year or so of
college. Your success in college is
going to be determined by how well you handle this issue. Talk to college counselors. Talk to your teachers. Talk to your parents. Don't let the problem manifest in you giving
up hopes of a college education. You
will meet lifelong friends in college.
You will receive a great education in college. You will learn more about yourself and the
way of life than at any other time in your life.
Olympic Gold Medalist