College Recruiting Solutions: Tournament Season Checklist for Upperclassmen

Now that the high school season is over, uncommitted junior and senior student-athletes who want to play in college need to make communicating with college coaches a priority. (Photo by Jenny Butler/Fighting Illini Athletics) (Cover photo by Craig Pessman/Fighting Illini Athletics)

Note: This article was provided by the Junior Volleyball Association.

The high school season is over and it’s finally about time for in-person recruiting to get back into full swing. If you’re an uncommitted junior or senior and want to play in college, this article is for you.

First off, relax, there are still plenty of great opportunities out there. Now that the high school season is behind us, and you have more time on your hands, you will need to make communicating with college coaches a priority.

The college season has wrapped up and the college athletes are on winter break, so a lot of college coaches will be refocusing their attention on their recruiting needs. They will finally be sorting through those emails buried in their inbox to see if anyone piques their interest.

Here is a checklist and advice leading up to the club tournament season:

  • Update your profile on your recruiting platform.
    • Make sure to update your highlight video, as well as height and vertical jump if that’s changed.
    • Include new coach / recruiting coordinator’s contact info, practice schedule, and tournament schedule.

  • If you’re targeting/generating interest from non-Division 1 programs, some coaches will be out at tournaments/practices in January so be prepared for communication to pick up soon.

  • If you’re targeting D1 schools, a lot of these programs are actively searching (from home) for players right now and have a better idea of their needs for 2024 and 2025 than they did earlier in the fall. Send email updates every two weeks leading up to February 16, which is the first in-person recruiting opportunity for D1 schools. Along these same lines, if you are already generating interest from your previous emails, be prepared for the visit process to begin shortly after in-person evaluations begin.

  • Respond to any interest you receive from college coaches. Even if you respond with a “no thank you,” it shows your recruiting staff and the coaches that you’re responsible, respectful and serious about wanting to play at the next level. You never know who that college coach might be friends with and might pass your email onto.

  • Be realistic about the schools you’re trying to connect with. Research their current roster and see if they have any players on their roster from your state. Watch their team play online and see if you fit in with the type of athlete in their program. Most D1 schools are looking for attackers who jump touch at least 9’10” – 10’. A lot of Division II programs are looking for similar measurements. Most coaches can tell in about 20 seconds of video if you’re someone they might want to invest further time in.

  • Learn from the responses you’re receiving. If you’re getting a number of emails stating you don’t “fit our needs at this time,” it’s usually a polite way of saying you’re not the right athletic fit for our program. Use that information to redirect your search in order to find the best fit for you.

  • Last piece of advice, your club career is winding down. Don’t forget to stay present and love every minute of the experience in front of you. It will be over before you know it.

View more recruiting education and resources.

About the Author

Meghan Keck is the 18s Lead, Recruiting Director and Setting Director at 1st Alliance Volleyball, a JVA member club in LaGrange. She has 17 years of experience coaching at the Division I level with 12 NCAA tournament appearances and six conference championships. She coached several NCAA Top 25-ranked teams. Keck was a four-year starting setter at Auburn University and the University of Illinois-Chicago, where she holds the school record for hitting percentage in a match.

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