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September 21, 2021

6 Tips to Get Recruited for Division 1 Volleyball

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Fun Fact: there are 334 NCAA Division I volleyball teams, but there are over 1,800 varsity volleyball programs in the United States. If you think you have what it takes to play at the elite, Division I level, LRT Sports has 6 tips to help you get recruited.

Tip 1: Get on a national qualifier traveling team
If you want to play volleyball in college, this is the starting point. College coaches recruit more heavily through club volleyball than through high school. It would be best if you were on a club team that travels to national qualifiers. These tournaments often have online lists of which colleges will be attending, which you can use when sending out emails. If you want to play at a West Coast school, make sure your club team will be attending the Pacific Northwest Qualifier or the Las Vegas Classic. By attending these tournaments, recruiters know you are competing at a high level, and they will be able to evaluate your skills. Watching recruits play live and interact with their teammates is much more helpful for evaluating a recruit than a highlight video.

Tip 2: Call coaches first
Do not wait for coaches to reach out to you. There are thousands of players that are just like you. Coaches receive hundreds of emails from recruits every day. If you are interested in a school, go on their website and find the coach’s contact information in the staff directory. Then, send an email introducing yourself with a highlight video and times you are available to speak over the phone. If you don’t receive a response in a few days, call their phone number and introduce yourself. If they don’t answer, leave a voicemail and send a follow-up email. Then try another day and time, as the coach could have been busy. This puts you on the coach’s radar and shows you are serious about their program.

Related: Example Email to College Coaches

Tip 3: Respond to Coaches
If you receive an email expressing interest in you as a potential recruit, never ignore it. Respond to the email as soon as possible and set up a time to speak over the phone. Often, recruits do not respond to coaches because they are focused on a different school. If that one school does not work out, the other school that originally expressed interest in you would have moved on and crossed you off their list. It is crucial that you keep all of your options open. Finding the perfect school and program for you requires many phone calls with a variety of coaches. If your dream is to play Division 1, focus your outreach to those schools. However, if a Division 2, 3, or NAIA school reaches out, set up a phone call and keep in contact with those schools too. You may be surprised by what you learn during those conversations, and they will ultimately set you up for success further down the road. 

Related: Why You Should Never Ignore a Coach During Your Recruiting Process

Tip 4: Be a great teammate
When recruiting, college coaches evaluate players based on their athletic ability and their character. Committing to a player for 4 years requires much more than just athletic ability. College coaches are building a culture within their programs, which the athletes play an essential role in creating. College coaches understand that players have bad games sometimes. To evaluate how recruits fit into their program’s culture, they frequently stick around to see how you respond to having a bad game. Keep a positive attitude, shake off the mistake, and uplift your teammates. Coaches can build strength and teach a skill, but they cannot change a player’s character. Make sure you exude a positive attitude in these situations of frustration and stress.

Related: 6 Essential Categories Recruits Will be Evaluated On

Tip 5: Stand out
As mentioned above, coaches receive hundreds of emails with the same template and link to a highlight video. There are thousands of club volleyball players that have a similar skill level as you. To get noticed, you need to create a genuine story to garner interest that sticks from coaches. Take a while to reflect on your volleyball journey and what drives your desire to play college volleyball. Then, figure out how to make that into a story you can tell coaches while on a phone call. This story needs to grab coaches’ attention and let them know who you are as a person and volleyball player. Make the coaches invested in your whole person, not just your skills and stats. Figuring out how to tell your journey in an honest, intriguing way will make you stand out from the other recruits. That being said, coaches will immediately tell if your story is manufactured and ingenuine. Stay authentic.

Tip 6: You have to want it
You can read a million tips and tricks about how to get recruited to play college volleyball, but the bottom line is: you have to want it. There are thousands of players who love the idea of playing Division I, but who won’t put in the work. If you truly want to play Division I volleyball, or any sport, you need to have the drive and passion to tie it all together. When a coach says they are not interested in you, you need to believe in yourself and call the next coach on your list. When you are tired at practice, you need to dig deep, knowing that another recruit works harder than you, fighting for the same scholarship. If coaches are recruiting your teammate and not you, use that as an opportunity to make them notice you on the court. You need to love volleyball enough that you will survive the four years of even harder work at a collegiate level. Drop the excuses and make it happen. There is a college for everyone; it is your job to find the right program for you. Trust that you will end up where you are meant to be as long as you put in the hard work. 

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE