How do I get recruited at big tournaments?

The club season is amazing. Some of my very best volleyball memories come from seasons filled with intense practices, great coaches and teammates, big tournaments, traveling, and matching hair ties.

Standing out at big club tournaments is an important part of the recruiting process. So how do you get coaches to recruit you?

When it comes to recruiting, winning matches at big tournaments isn’t enough—you need college coaches to see you winning those matches! How will they find you? How will they know who you are? How will they know you’re at the tournament in the first place?

Let’s break it down into steps:

Step 1: Contact coaches before the tournament

  • Even if you’ve already sent your tournament schedule to the programs that you’re interested in, contact coaches again to let them know you’ll be at the tournament and what division you’ll be competing in. Tell them how excited you are to play and ask if they will be attending.

Step 2: Sign up for University Athlete

  • This is a RARE moment! For once, I’m actually telling you to sign up for a recruiting service! University Athlete is free and the easiest way for coaches to find you at a big tournament (remember that there will potentially be hundreds of courts and thousands of other players)
  • Sign up via https://universityathlete.com/#/ and be sure to spell your name and club team correctly. Coaches will use University Athlete to find your schedule and the courts you’re playing on throughout the tournament

Step 3: Warm up T-shirts can be a great thing

  • I once attended a tournament where a team was warming up on the side of their court. The players were all wearing brightly colored t-shirts that had their name, number, and graduating year in large print. This is an awesome way to be immediately recognizable to coaches who may not be so familiar with you and definitely something you should suggest to your team and coach.

That’s it! That’s how coaches will find you at the next big tournament. With just a little bit of time and effort on your side, you can easily let coaches know when and where you’ll be playing.

Coaches may appear on your court who aren’t there to specifically watch you play—maybe they’re looking at another player. Great! Play your best and catch their attention while you’re at it. Make a list of those coaches after the match, so that you can look up their programs after the tournament and potentially contact them.

Remember that coaches may be watching you at any time, on or off the court. Because of NCAA recruiting rules, they can’t openly approach you and engage you in a detailed discussion, but they want to try and get to know you and your personality anyways. Represent yourself well by always being kind and respectful to teammates, coaches, referees, parents, and other spectators. Play with passion and let your personality shine through on the court. Are you having a bad day? Show coaches that you never give up by refusing to let yourself become moody or vindictive.

Most players forget, however, that there is actually another step:

Step 4: Contact coaches after the tournament

  • Send coaches a brief email with a description of the tournament and how your team did. If you won or placed higher than usual, talk about that. Even if you didn’t, send an email and mentioned what you learned and how you and your team plan to improve in the future. Keep it short and if at all possible, send some clips of you playing (see, How to Make Great Recruiting Videos).

Big tournaments are a win-win when it comes to recruiting—they’re a great chance to compete and improve your skills while simultaneously getting great exposure to coaches! With just a little effort on your part, you can stand out at your next big tournament.

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