Wednesday Oct 11, 2006 | Published in www.prepvolleyball.com
If you have not already, you still have a few months to attend a local college match. You should definitely do so and with a purpose, when it comes to recruiting. Consider the following when you attend:
If you have the time, plan to get to the campus an hour or so before you want to go into the arena. Use this time to take a walk around the campus. As they will be preparing for their match, you will not be able to get a guided tour from a coach at that time, but it is often productive to take your own walk around a campus. Obviously, on campus visits coaches try to 'sell' you their school. Taking a visit on your own will allow you to take in what you like or dislike without that perspective.
If you have never seen the team(s) you are interested in, watch the match while thinking about where you would fit. Are you going to have a good opportunity to contribute as a freshman? Are you likely to have to improve to get playing time? For your position, are the players going to be graduating before you get there? These are some of the questions you can try to answer while evaluating the play. Often you will know a player or two on the court from club or high school volleyball. This may help you evaluate as well. Keep in mind who they are playing behind or in front of (who is on the court ahead of them or on the bench).
Seeing the coaches in action at a match is a good time to get a feel for what they are like. Certainly the day-to-day practice may be different, but coaches will reveal much of their personality at a match. Some arenas have seating such that you can sit close enough to the bench to hear the coaches during play and/or at timeouts. If you can sit in seats which allow for this, take advantage of the opportunity for at least a game or two. Try to get a feel for what the coaches are like when the team is being successful, but also when the team is struggling. Try to watch the coaches during some of the points, rather than following the play on the court.
For the home team, if you are able to wait around long enough, you will usually have an opportunity to meet some of the players. Whether or not you have previous relationships with the players, you should try to have some dialogue with them. Do not be shy about introducing yourself and let the player(s) know who you are and that you have an interest in the school. You should be able to get some questions answered whether about volleyball or the school, but most importantly, it is an opportunity to get to know the players on the team who could potentially be your teammates in the future.
Going to a match is a great opportunity to get a quick visit in with a coach. You will have to wait until after the match, but to get a brief 'hello' in, can only help your visibility with the program. Keep in mind that for NCAA schools, the coach of a visiting school cannot talk with you unless you are a senior. Even in this case, the coach may not want to talk to you at that time as they are only allowed to have off-campus contacts with you three times. They may prefer to wait for a time when they can have a longer visit.