This is a question that I am sure club directors and coaches all over the world are asking themselves. With the dead period for recruiting extended through the end of June and rumored to be possibly all the way through the summer, what steps can current high school athletes take to keep the dream alive? With some universities feeling the affects of the economic downturn due to coronavirus and some programs rumored to be folding, what can the athletes that are at those schools do? What ARE the next steps during this uncertain time?
These are all great questions and, quite frankly, not questions that I think anyone can truly say they have the answers for right now. Let’s look at sole of the issues that Coronavirus has caused just from a beach volleyball recruiting standpoint. In a world where it seems that every single bit of information we can find seems to be saturated with some sort of political spin, it’s increasingly hard to find hard facts and make informed decisions. Let’s check out the current facts that we DO know. Each player, each coach, and each club director is going to take a different approach to moving forward with these facts, but let’s lay them out all in one place to try to paint a picture of the current beach volleyball scene.
The NCAA extended red shirt offers to all 2020 seniors to allow them the chance to play another year. This created a bottleneco affect in some, but not all universities, where seniors decided to accept that offer and come back for another season.
Only certain states have even opened back up to allow beach volleyball to be played again and even in these states, tournament directors, club directors, and coaches are scrambling to figure out how to reopen safely If at all.
The AVP and p1440 have decided to cancel their juniors national championships due to restrictions in California. since these are two of the big recruiting events of the summer, this makes things more challenging in itself.
The dead period for recruiting has been extended until the end of June meaning coaches can not actively recruit until it ends.
With some universities being forced to scrub their programs, the transfer portal may be looking quite full real soon if it isn’t already.
While there may be tournaments this summer, if the dead period is extended all the way through the end of July, even a large tournament in Texas, Florida, or even Atlantic City May be a tough sell without the college coaches there to recruit at it.
So how do you process all of this information? What does it mean for YOU? For some of you it will be gut check time. Maybe you are a high school senior who had already committed to a college whose program ended up being canceled. Maybe you were in talks with a coach who found a transfer in the portal that he/she missed out on the first time around, but really likes and has some college experience under her belt. Maybe you are a junior who is just starting the recruiting process. There truly is no one size fits all solution.
All you can do is make sure that if your opportunity DOES arise, you take full advantage of it. You make sure that you are prepared for it. You make sure that you have done the research to see where tournaments are with great competition in order to keep growing your game. If you are a coach or a club director, you make sure you are reaching out and using your contacts. Call the other clubs who bring the best competition to the beach. See where they are headed. Even if you can’t get seen by a coach right now, this is your opportunity to get some good film on tape against the best competition you can find. Do your homework! Is the tournament you are going to sign up for full of players you will walk through easily, or are there names in that tournament you know have already garnered the attention of the coach you are looking to play for. Sign up for those events where when do end up eventually sending that film off to schools, the coach can see how you stack up against great competitors. If they have already recruited a player and you play them, even better.
Stay diligent about your training. Continue to find ways to get touches even if you are in a state where the lockdown continues. Polish your mental game. Read books such as Dr. Jim Afermow’s “The Champion’s Mind”. Watch film. Your film film of other players your age, film of a pro whose style matches yours. Anything that you can do right now to help give yourself an advantage will be something that you can take back to the court being confident about. That confidence shows.
We are all in this together and for the sake of the athletes that play our sport, we Have to continue to work hard to make sure we gather information and form the most educated plans possible with the information we have.