USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jaimie Duffek was one of the top 50 high school softball players in Illinois and went on to play outfield for Drake University. Jaimie is just one of many former college athletes who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
College volleyball camps are a great opportunity to get evaluated by college coaches and show off your skillset against elite competition. Check out NCSA’s complete list of 2019 college volleyball camps to find a college volleyball camp near you. Our list of nearly 2,300 camps covers every NCAA Division I, Division I, Division III, NAIA and Junior College camp in the country and includes state, division, camp type, age/grade level and cost.
Which 2019 college volleyball camp should you attend?
With thousands of college volleyball camps across the country, how do you decide which one to attend? First, consider camps at schools you’re interested in attending. These camps are an opportunity for you to get a better feel for the school. During your stay, walk around campus, get to know the coaching staff, tour the dorms and consider talking to an academic advisor.
In addition, it can benefit your recruiting process to attend camps based on the coaches in attendance. It is common for Division II, Division III and NAIA coaches to volunteer at major Division I camps. If you are interested in a specific program, these large camps can be an opportunity to get in front of the coach.
In general, there are four types of college volleyball camps. Prospect/ID camps typically give volleyball recruits the best chance of catching the attention of a college program. Be advised — if you’re hoping to get discovered, it is best to establish contact with a program before the camp. Position-specific volleyball camps focus on developing skills for your particular position. Whether you’re a libero or an outside hitter, position-specific camps offer in-depth training. These camps are usually recruiting-focused, but it’s always a good idea to check with the camp before you register.
Skills camps provide general skills development and are usually geared toward younger athletes, while team camps are a great opportunity for programs to develop their team chemistry. Skills camps and team camps are usually less recruiting-focused, but both offer campers a chance to improve their skills and have fun.
Know what to expect before you arrive
College volleyball camps can be a great experience for volleyball players who want to play at the next level — as long as you go into it with the right expectations. Got your heart set on a specific volleyball program? Attending the program’s camp can be a good way to catch their attention. However, if you are seriously considering a school, we recommend trying to establish contact to get on the coach’s radar before camps season.
At the camp, keep in mind that coaches are evaluating more than your athletic ability. Coaches want to see how you compete against top competition and how you react to success and failure. They are evaluating your body language and how you interact with your teammates. Seize the moment — show enthusiasm and confidence without coming across as cocky.
During volleyball camps, you can expect to receive instruction from coaches and college athletes. You’ll participate in drills to sharpen your skills and positioning. Many volleyball camps also include tournament play and personal evaluations.
Read more: How to make the most of college camps
How should you respond to a volleyball camp invite?
Always get back to the coach promptly—no matter who the invite is from. Even if you can’t make the camp or aren’t interested in the volleyball program, a respectful decline is a much smarter recruiting play than no response. College volleyball coaches have a reputation for jumping from school to school. You never want to burn any bridges.
Email the coach before the camp
Once you register for a 2019 college volleyball camp, reach out to the coach to let them know. Tell them your schedule and which court you’ll be on to help them find you during the camp. Also include your highlight video, verified measurables, academic info and social media handles. Keep it short and sweet!
Read more: How to email college coaches
Remember to follow up after the camp
Ride the momentum of your 2019 college volleyball camp. After the camp ends and you go home, follow up with the coach and send over any new verified stats. Thank them for the opportunity and ask for feedback on which skills you need to improve. Keep the conversation going by letting them know about your athletic progress and any upcoming volleyball tournaments or showcases.