We hosted a live webinar with Anna Collier, former head coach at USC and seven-time NCCA Beach National Champion to discover how best to handle the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic when it comes to recruiting. Her biggest advice is to take action, and do it now! Here’s a recap of her session:
KNOW THE RULES
Stay Up-To-Date on Recruiting Dead Period Changes
- During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period. NCAA
- For beach volleyball, the dead period has been extended until June 30, 2020 (as of May 22, 2020). This may continue to be extended, so stay up-to-date. Continue to email, text, phone, and/or direct message coaches.
- On June 15, 2020, after an athlete's sophomore year in high school is when a coach can answer phone calls and/or return written correspondence. In the meantime, coaches will be preparing their recruiting lists by gathering information.
Unofficial and Official Visits
- According to the NCAA, any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by college-bound student-athletes or their parents are unofficial visits. During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the prospect, lodging, and three meals per day for both the prospect and the parent or guardian, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event. The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.
- For beach volleyball official visits can begin August 1, 2020 of an athletes junior year.
- Schools have a limited number of opportunities to host official (paid for) visits. These visits typically involve an athlete going to a class, observing a strength and conditioning session, observing a full practice, and attending an athletic event.
- Schools have an unlimited amount of unofficial visits.
- Know the top three schools and plan to visit them in advance.
NCAA DI Scholarship Opportunities
- There are six scholarships that can be divided up between 14 players for beach volleyball.
- An example of allocation is: 1’s Pair - 75-100%, 2’s Pair - 50-75%, 3’s Pair - 50%, 4’s Pair - 35-50%, 5’s Pair - 25-30%
Find the Best Fit for the Individual
- Spending time selecting a school is time well spent. Academics must come first and match the aspirations and goals of the student-athlete.
- Right now with campuses being closed take virtual tours online. Schools will begin to release more online content to help athletes get a feel for their culture. If an athlete is of a recruitable age, they should contact student academic services. Ask what majors they are known for and what could be possible areas of study for a student-athlete to be successful in.
- Follow schools and teams on Instagram, YouTube and any other media outlets to get a feel for their community and sense of identity. Take advantage of any free webinars available that may help gain information to make a better decision. Discover a team’s culture, the coach-athlete interactions, and their philosophy and style. See what type of athletes the coach typically recruits and who future teammates may be.
- Athletes should take some time to learn about themselves as an athlete through watching film of themselves. Noting areas of strength and improvement. Communicating this reflection with coaches shows the athlete is serious about self-improvement and engagement in the next level of beach volleyball.
- Right now it's hard to ‘see’ an athlete on the court or through film but there is so much an athlete can know about themselves to share with coaches. What type of leader are they, what is their communication style, what type of teammate they want to be? These off-court skills are just as essential to spend time developing and communicating to coaches.
ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS
- Right now opportunities to produce the best film footage may be hard to do with limited to no playing opportunities. With Stay in Place, use clips that show an athlete is still fully engaged and continuing their development. Include at-home exercises and varying volleyball challenges that show what an athlete is doing during this time.
- Make film engaging and be creative! Include shots of the athletes' face, list their full name and graduation year. Show coaches leadership, discipline, self-motivation, and engagement.
- Once an athlete is able to record new footage, keep it simple, short, and to the point. Some suggestions:
- Receive 10 serves to demonstrate side-out skills
- Have a partner receive serves to demonstrate setting skills
- Show clips in a somewhat controlled environment to fully demonstrate fundamentals
- Show game film which is good for demonstrating body language, competitiveness, interactions with opponents and partner
Making Phone Calls
- Roleplay with athletes before they make the call. This makes them more relaxed, prepare for asking questions, and communicate clearly about what they know about the program.
- As an athlete, be transparent and ask the hard questions. How many openings for the recruiting class? Where are you on their list? Are they interested in you? How many people are on the coaches recruiting list?
- Share with the coach if you resonate with one of their rostered athletes.
Using Social Media
- A lot of programs and beach athletes are on Instagram. Have a recruiting specific account. In the bio, put your full name, recruiting year, coach contact, beach club, position, and accolades. Use stories to share schedules, identify yourself at tournaments, and tag coaches.
- Keep your media professional because college coaches (and potentially rostered athletes) are following!
- When opportunities to be watched resume, continue to communicate with coaches. Text coaches the day of a tournament with the schedule, how they can identify the athlete and updates throughout the event.