A Guide for High School Players and Parents
As a former high school volleyball player who went on to play in college and now coaches, I understand the struggles and uncertainties that come with committing to a college to play volleyball. In this blog, I’ll share my personal journey of finding my volleyball home away from home and provide tips for high school players and parents on how to navigate the process.
About Coach Alyx
Coach Alyx Kruse is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Katy in 2011 to continue her passion for volleyball by joining the club experience. Coach Alyx played as a setter in junior high and then middle and right-side hitter in high school. As a former player from Schreiner University in Kerrville, TX, she brings experience from playing middle, right-side, and outside hitter for all 4 years. She has been coaching club volleyball for 7 years from summer camps to her own teams.
View Some of Coach Alyx's Schreiner University Memories!
#1 The Search Begins
As you start to consider playing volleyball in college, it’s important to do your research and start early. Talk to your high school and club coaches, and make sure they know your goals. They may have connections to college coaches or can provide guidance on the recruitment process.
"As I was playing my last few yeas of club volleyball, I was given advice from my coaches that if you wanted to play in college, there are more schools that you could play for than you think. I decided to take matters in my own hands and learn the recruitment process to start putting myself out there."
#2 Casting a Wide Net
Don’t limit yourself to just the big-name schools. There are many smaller schools and programs that could be a great fit for you. Create a profile with your information and reach out to coaches at schools that interest you. Send videos of your games and highlights to showcase your skills.
"I was lucky enough for my club coach to have recorded some matches as well as my mother's recordings as well. I searched colleges that I would want to go to, made a proﬁle made with my information, and began the emails."
#3 Finding Unexpected Opportunities
Be open to unexpected opportunities. Sometimes, coaches from schools you’ve never heard of will reach out to you. Don’t be quick to dismiss them without doing your research. You never know what hidden gem you might find.
"I was about to give up on playing at the next level, until my coach asked me, “have you heard about Schreiner University?” to which I replied back saying, “no, not at all.” After researching what this school was all about, my initial thought was, “absolutely not! It’s too small, not far away enough, and the record is horrible! But I decided to email the coach and still test the waters."
#4 Touring Potential Schools
When you’re invited to visit a school, take advantage of the opportunity to tour the campus and meet with coaches and players. This will give you a feel for the atmosphere and culture of the program. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes.
"With Kerrville only being 4 hours away, my grandma and I made it a weekend trip. I stayed with 2 of the freshman players in their dorm room. I met with the coaches, athletic training staff, team, and attended a couple of classes. I slowly started to realize that the small class sizes were something I needed to fulfill the main reason to go to college (succeeding academically). "
#5 The Power of a Personal Connection
The personal connection you make with coaches and players is crucial. It’s important to find a program where you feel welcomed and like you belong.
"When I found my home at Schreiner University, it was because of the personal connection I made with the team and coaches during my visit. By the time I left, I felt like I was already part of the team."
#6 Creating a New Home
Once you commit to a college to play volleyball, make it your home away from home. Get involved on campus, join organizations, and make connections with your teammates. Embrace the new experience and make the most of it.
"When it was time to leave the nest, I knew I had another family waiting for me in Kerrville. I joined Greek Life to expand my relationships outside of volleyball and became part of the peer tutoring team on campus. Although volleyball was my main focus, I knew it was critical to have experiences around campus and college life to make me a well-rounded student athlete."
#7 The Importance of Being Patient and Flexible
As a player, you have to be patient and flexible. Change is inevitable, and you have to be willing to adapt and grow. Remember that you are part of a bigger picture and trust the process.
"Although our record stayed the same, the memories I made throughout college volleyball are my most cherished. As a player, you have to be able to adapt and become a better individual for yourself and your team. You are part of the stepping stones to create a stronger program and you have to trust that the coaches see the great future that is ahead of us."
In summary, don’t stop until you find your home away from home. Cast a wide net, be open to unexpected opportunities, and tour potential schools. Find a program where you feel a personal connection and a sense of belonging. Embrace the experience and be patient and flexible. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding your volleyball home away from home.