I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and spent most of my club years playing out of the Fox Cities. When I was a freshman in high school, I (unknowingly) began the recruiting process. I had never really thought far enough ahead to even consider playing volleyball in college, but before we knew it I was getting contacted by schools from all over the country - some I had never even heard of!
Being a 15-year-old girl who's parents never went through the recruiting process, we had no idea where to even begin. That was where my club coach stepped in.
Joseph was a coach at my club who originally coached my older sister. He was very educated on the recruiting process and quickly realized that we were going to need some help. He approached my parents and took us all under his wing.
Joseph was extremely unbiased and very informative when it came to my recruitment.
He quickly became our go-to source of information and the only person we knew we could really trust throughout the whole process.
He told us what we should expect, explained the rules and regulations, and was very honest with us in terms of what kind of schools I should be looking at.
My mom was very active in the recruiting process in terms of weeding out certain schools and guiding me in the right direction. She obviously knows me very well and knew what kind of school I would do well at. She and Joseph talked about the process a lot and he really familiarized her with what she should be looking out for and what questions were important to ask... she asked all the hard questions.
The two main things I was looking for in a school were good academics and a solid volleyball program. Plus, I wanted it to feel like I was coming into a family, not a team that was all business and no play.
Joseph spent the next year and a half helping me make my decision of where I wanted to play collegiate volleyball. He was extremely patient and genuinely cared about my future. Looking back on the process, I can honestly say I would not have been able to make such a confident decision about my future if it had not been for Joseph's guidance.
Club coaches hold so much responsibility for their players in many different ways. The goals, no matter what level we coach, should be:
To give our players the best experience possible.
To stay informed and connected in our sport, the rules, the changes, etc. It will help us become better teachers and better mentors for our players
To surround ourselves with great mentors to learn from. Being a young coach myself, I feel very fortunate that I am exposed to so much information and so many experienced coaches through this job.
I was 15 when I committed, the summer after my freshman year.
Knowing what I know now, I would have waited a little longer before committing and visited more schools. I committed really young and only visited schools in Wisconsin. I loved the program and the city of Milwaukee, but by the time I reached my senior year of high school, I had changed so much as a person and started to really wonder what other opportunities there could have been out there for me.
The recruiting process is starting even younger now and that is great in terms of security and beginning the training process, but when it comes to life after volleyball and knowing what you want to major in, what part of the country you want to live in, how much time you want to commit to the sport, etc., it really puts a lot of pressure on young athletes to decide a huge portion of their future before they're ready to.
I know that there are many things I still need to learn, but having access to so many resources through the JVA makes me confident that someday I will be able to play a role in a young athlete's life as Joseph did in mine!