Now that recruiters can’t talk to your players until after June 15 of their sophomore year, they’ll need highlight reels more than ever.

If you’re a club or high school volleyball coach, a big part of your job is to help your players reach the next level. All those drills, all that training and every match go towards developing the skills and talent necessary to play in college. 

That’s why it’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest recruiting practices. Including the recent shift in NCAA Division I recruiting rules, which changed when college recruiters can communicate with your athletes. Here’s the rundown:

    If your top talent has a highlight reel, he or she can still get noticed.
    • No communication can happen between a coach and athlete until after June 15 of their sophomore year.
    • No visits or off-campus contact is allowed until August 1 of junior year.
    • Student-athletes can’t accept verbal offers or commit until after June 15 of their sophomore year.

    The volleyball recruiting landscape is crowded, and these rules compress it even further. But video opens the door for players who can’t visit or talk with recruiters yet. If your top talent has a highlight reel, he or she can still get noticed.

    That’s why even if you don’t use video as a coaching tool (which you should), your players will depend on it to get recruited. Recording and uploading your games to Hudl gives them the opportunity to create highlights and get noticed.

    “It’s like any­thing, if you want a job, you got to go apply for it." John Cook, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Volleyball Coach

    In our blog series with John Cook, head volleyball coach at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he equated getting recruited to a finding a job. “It’s like any­thing, if you want a job, you got to go apply for it,” Cook said. In the volleyball world, it’s important to start that application process way before you know where you’re going to send it.

    So what’s this mean for your players? Depending on your age of athletes, there are different stages to focus on.

    Elementary School

    Even the youngest athletes benefit from video. Aside from what they can learn by watching their own performance, highlights will help them track their progress. Say you coach ten year olds. If they create a season highlight reel while they’re on your team, they can build on it every year they keep playing. By the time they hit middle school, they’ll literally be able to see how far they’ve come.

    Middle School/Freshmen 

    Depending on their skill level, these athletes may already be thinking about playing in college. But it’s too early to be talking to those coaches. Instead they can concentrate on showing off their talent through highlights. Club tournaments are a perfect opportunity. 

    Have your players save one or two clips from every match as highlights. By the end of the tournament season, they’ll be super familiar with the highlight process—and maybe even on a college team’s radar.

    Sophomores and Older

    Now that they’re eligible to be recruited and talk to college teams, it’s time to kick it up a notch. A killer (and updated) highlight is just the first step. They need to learn how to contact colleges they’re interested in playing for. So share college coaches’ advice with your players.

    “Tell us about your­self, who you play for, your trav­el sched­ule and how you did in the fall with your high school team,” Uni­ver­si­ty of West Alaba­ma head coach Alex­is Meeks said. ​“We love emails and encour­age kids to fol­low schools they real­ly like on social media. Best way to get information.”

    No matter the age of your players, if they’re interested in eventually playing at the next level, they should create highlights to track and showcase their talent. Here’s how to get started.