Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
-Knowledge/understanding of the game, Volleyball IQ – While talent is important, I need players that have a decent amount of understanding of the game. At the college level it should be about refining techniques, teaching plays to raise our level of play, have them become stronger and more complete players. But when many players come or write that they have played volleyball and when they go on the court and I watch them play I see that most of them just want to hit the ball and really don’t understand where they need to be, why we rotate, where he needs to be at certain points. It is very hard to move the whole team at the same or a faster pace and become competitive. As the students prepare for a test, and look for the answers to the question they don’t know in google, they need to work outside of practice and look for information that will help them improve their volleyball IQ. I don’t mind helping them and answering all their questions, but to play at the college level they must know the game. So they should not be afraid to ask questions to their high school or club coaches. Asking questions is a great way to learn. Not always the hardest hitter is the best scorer, but most of the time the smartest one is.
-Leadership while being humble- I love a player with awesome talent, but I can’t deal with uncoachable players that think they know it all and bring negativity to the team. I need players that are always ready to listen and that always want to get better and that are not afraid to carry the team if I ask him/her to, and encourage their teammates.
-Disciplined- If I tell them to run, I want players to do it, not complain or ask why we run. That takes the season seriously and comes to practice on time, make good sacrifices (party till 3 am or go to the gym and study? Go to a party before a game, or go to bed early because we have a game or early practice tomorrow?) because it will make them better and because teammates count on him/her. If he is a Setter, but I need him to be an Outside Hitter he doesn’t say no, he works twice as hard to help the team.
Could you give an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
Our first year as a team in 2008, we just posted flyer’s for current male students that were interested in being part of the team. This tall kid comes and says he was interested and that he never played volleyball, only baseball. So we said yes no problem and we taught him the game. He absorbed all the information, asked questions and took criticism very well. He learned the game sooo fast. He still has a long way to go, but for a kid that never touched a volleyball before, he as done exceptionally awesome!!!!! He is our captain this year and I might move him to the Outside hitter from his original middle hitter position. He is doing very good at the new position so far. He is disciplined, works very very hard at practice and outside practice.