College Volleyball Recruiting: 5 Tips and Strategies

  • The college volleyball recruiting process is very competitive. To give you an idea of just how competitive it is: out of 447,000 women’s high school volleyball players in the US, just 5.7% go on to play at the college level. Furthermore, only 1.1% of those high school athletes go on to compete in NCAA Division 1 volleyball. Given the competitive nature of the college volleyball recruiting process it is important for aspiring athletes and their families to be proactive in their recruiting process.

    Understanding the college volleyball recruiting landscape will help guide your recruiting strategy. Below are some important college volleyball related statistics.

    Scholarships Available In Each Division Level

    The table below shows the number of scholarships available in each division for both men and women. Women’s college volleyball is more prevalent than men’s college volleyball, reflected by the greater number of available scholarships on the women’s side vs the men’s side. It is important to note that NCAA DIII volleyball schools do not offer athletic scholarships, instead they offer other forms of financial assistance to aspiring college volleyball players such as academic scholarships and financial aid.

    Women’s Volleyball Men’s Volleyball
    NCAA DI: 12 NCAA DI: 4.5
    NCAA DII: 8 NCAA DII: 4.5
    NAIA: 8

    Number of Programs By Division Level

    The number of colleges that offer a volleyball program is shown below. Many more colleges offer women’s volleyball than men’s volleyball. You can see from the table below that there are a wide variety of programs and divisions to choose between as an aspiring college volleyball player including: NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and CCCAA.

    Men’s Volleyball Women’s Volleyball
    NCAA DI: 21 NCAA DI: 330
    NCAA DII: 23 NCAA DII: 300
    *NCAA DIII: 83 *NCAA DIII: 434
    NAIA 32 NAIA: 219
    CCCAA 15 NJCAA: 330
    Total 174 Total: 1,613

    Percentage of NCAA Volleyball Players Who Competed On A Club/Travel or High School Team

    The majority of volleyball players who go on to play in college competed in a club/travel team in high school. Likewise and unsurprisingly, 95% of college volleyball players played for their high school team.

    Played on Club / Travel team in High School 91%
    Played on High School team 95%

    Average Hour Commitment For College Volleyball Players

    The table below shows, somewhat surprisingly, that the average number of athletic hours spent per week is similar across divisions for volleyball. The total commitment time, including academics, actually increases in lower divisions due to a slightly greater academic workload.

    Average Weekly Hours (In-Season) Athletic Hours Academic Hours Total per Week
    NCAA I Volleyball 35 37 72
    NCAA II Volleyball 34 42 76
    NCAA III Volleyball 29 44 73
    Average 33 41 74

    Now that you have some idea of what the college volleyball recruiting landscape looks like we can talk about some effective strategies and tips to maximize your chances of a successful college volleyball recruiting outcome. Below are 5 tips to help guide you through the college recruiting process.

    1. Start Your Process Early

    The volleyball recruiting process can begin as early as freshman year for top volleyball players. For most players the process really begins in your sophomore year and beyond. By this time you should have a year of high school and club play under your belt, and will be one year closer to college. You can never begin your process too early as you can start to compile a body of volleyball work and a network of potential coach contacts as well as creating an initial college list.

    2. Compete on a High Level Club Team 

    As shown above, 91% of current college volleyball players played on a club/travel team in high school. Not only does competing in a club team assist in your development as a volleyball player, but it also allows you to more effectively showcase yourself to college volleyball coaches. Coaches actively incorporate club showcases and tournaments into their recruiting calendar. Putting yourself in a position where you perform in front of college coaches will increase your chances of attracting interest from these coaches. Furthermore, playing in a club team will help strengthen your academic resume and provide more opportunities for capturing great footage for a high quality recruiting highlight video.

    3. Create a Best Fit College List

    Creating a high quality list of the schools by comparing them along a variety of criteria will help set you on the right path through the whole volleyball process. This involves evaluating schools along a number of criteria including: academic, social, athletic and other similar grounds. This list will help you to determine which coaches to reach out to, which schools to visit, what essays to write and more. ACA’s Fit First Platform has a comprehensive search, filter and comparison tool that volleyball players can use to compare colleges across a multitude of criteria. For more information on important factors to consider when creating an initial college list read this.

    4. Create a Volleyball Highlight Video and Volleyball Resume

    Before you begin communicating with college coaches you will want to make sure that you have some top quality materials to send to them to help document your potential value to their program. The two most important resources you will need are a volleyball highlight video and a volleyball resume. Your volleyball highlight video should be of high quality, without being flashy. The video should document parts of different games and show your best plays from these games. You will want a short, succinct video that clearly identifies you within the context of the game. This highlight video should be pasted as a link into your email communications with volleyball coaches. To read more about how to make a great volleyball highlight video, follow this link.

    Second, you will need a great volleyball resume to document your volleyball accomplishments, results and value. This resume should be in the form of a PDF (not an online recruiting company profile link). The ACA Fit First Platform allows you to create a great Volleyball Resume to export as a PDF and use in all of your volleyball coach communications. To find out how to make your best student-athlete resume, follow this link.

    5. Visit Campuses

    The college campus visit component of your college evaluation is important as it helps you further evaluate particular colleges and make a final decision. These visits can potentially assist you in making a strong impression on both the volleyball coach and team of the particular college. For some tips on having a successful campus visit, read here.

    Be sure to follow the links in each section above to read more about how to effectively navigate the college volleyball recruiting process. For more general information on the recruiting process, visit the ACA College Recruiting Blog.