What are unsigned showcases? How can they help me?

Presidents day weekend is coming up! That means a long weekend and lots of volleyball, including… unsigned showcases!

If you’re an unsigned senior, you may feel like you’re running out of time to get noticed by coaches, build relationships, and be offered a position on a college team. While it’s true that you don’t have as much time to work through the recruiting process as a freshman does, there are still lots of things you can do to get the recruiting process jumpstarted. This article will cover just one of those things: unsigned showcases.

What do I need to know?

While unsigned showcases are often called “senior showcases,” usually players can sign up at any age. Because showcases are specifically designed with recruiting in mind, it can be a great opportunity for seniors still looking for a contract… but why wait until you’re a senior? Sophomores and Juniors who participate in unsigned showcases will find they have an advantage their senior year if they have already participated in a showcase—they will know basically how the showcase runs and what to expect.

Showcases are meant to be as cost-friendly as possible. This means that they are often run in conjunction with other large tournaments and those who want to participate in the showcase arrive a day early for the tournament or stick around a day after. If you’re interested in using a showcase as a recruiting opportunity, ask your club during tryouts which tournaments the team will attend and if there are any showcases scheduled around them.

How can it help me?

Coaches who are actively looking for recruits attend unsigned showcases. Typically, they are still looking for players to fill out their roster in the coming fall. Seniors are a big focus, because they are the players who could potentially fill those spots. Younger players can also get some attention, since coaches are likely looking to fill up their roster a little further down the road as well.

Some showcases also offer educational opportunities like recruiting workshops. Take advantage of those!

Who will be there?

Coaches from all levels attend. However, those who have already filled their roster for the following year are less likely to be there. Unsigned showcases are an especially big recruiting opportunity for schools with smaller recruiting budgets. Schools who can’t afford to fly their coaches all over the country each weekend for recruiting take advantage of showcases to see lots of unsigned athletes. Some showcases even film the entire event—that means that even if a coach can’t be physically present, they can still see you play!

Other players, their parents, and their coaches also attend. You’ll have the opportunity to play with and against other players.

How do I stand out?

You should treat an unsigned showcase similar to how you treat other big tournaments. Message coaches before you go, to let them know that you’ll be there. Play your best, be an a positive competitor, and be kind to everyone on and off the court. After the tournament, send emails to the coaches who watched you to thank them for your time and, if possible, send a highlight video from the showcase with a few of your best plays.

In general, always look for ways to go the extra mile. Push yourself to reach for balls that are out of reach. Encourage the players around you and celebrate their successes as loudly as you celebrate your own. Be the player who picks up trash, helps others, and shows appreciation and gratitude to coaches and parents.

Some practical information

Presidents Day weekend is an especially popular weekend each year for unsigned showcases. This year, there are multiple running at the same time: Prepvolleyball.com, Marki (SCVA), and Biokats. You can find out more about the showcases running this weekend on their websites and even see which colleges have registered to attend. Registration for players is still open, though it may be a little late to sign up unless you are already in the vicinity of these showcases (President’s Day is already just around the corner!)

If you’re interested in playing in a showcase this year, there is still hope! Check out https://prepvolleyball.com/showcases/locations#locations and http://www.biokats.com/volleyball/schedule/ to see a list of dates and locations for upcoming showcases.

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