devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

“What US coaches are looking for”

Posted by bvando on December 15, 2008

Devo has asked me to start a series of posts on Scholarships to the USA.

“So you want to play volleyball in the USA”. You want a scholarship. But do you meet these basic requirements?

What US coaches are looking for? . . . well, I think they are looking for the same things that coaches all over the world are looking for, the same things that Australian coaches are looking for.

The added consideration is that people need to keep in mind that once an American coach begins to look overseas, that the international pool of talent is HUGE. An Australian player will have to favourably compare herself with, for example, an outstanding player in Shanghai, China or someone from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

1. Athletic ability . . . I want front row players who come in with around a 9′ 10″ approach jump . . . young women that I can develop into big jumpers, capable of reaching above the rim of a basketball hoop (which is 10′).

2. Volleyball skills . . . players have to have mastered the basic skills to an exceptional level.

3. Competitiveness and game intelligence . . . players have to be smart and to play smart. I look for players who make few mistakes on the court, I am looking for young women who know how to win, what we call in America “gamers”– the people who everybody turns to when the game is on the line.

4. Personal characteristics . . .  players have to be disciplined. American coaches do not like going to all the trouble of bringing someone in from overseas, and then discover that this athlete is what we refer to as “high maintenance”, someone who is always causing problems or is always in trouble of some sort or another.

5. Players must be ELIGIBLE … Perhaps I should have started with this, but an American coach will undoubtedly look at talent first. If a player meets that criteria, then the coach will look at eligibility. There are two measures of eligibility. The first is “amateurism”: players cannot be professional, nor have ever accepted money to play. The second is “academic”: players have to have at least a 820 SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score.

From year 9 – year 12: 16 subjects for NCAA Div 1. (for other divisions and associations have different rules. More info later)
4 years of English
3 years of mathematics (Algebra I or higher)
2 years of natural/physical science (one must be a lab science)
1 year of additional English, math or science
2 years of social studies
4 years of additional core courses (from any area listed above, or from foreign language, nondoctrinal religion or philosophy)
All of these classes have to be certified by the NCAA’s Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. Every international player has to pay a fee and sign up for the Clearinghouse, and they have to take the SAT test.

The above requirements will, over the next few months, be expanded and explained. If you need info quickly please reply with a question?


6 Responses to ““What US coaches are looking for””

  1. The Hoff said

    Dammit… i once played for a mates social team and he paid me with 3 schooners of tooheys new… guess i’m out of the running for a scholarship…

  2. devo said

    And you possibly fail at point 4 also?

  3. Alexis said

    Great start Brian. Understanding what the colleges want is critical. I think its just as critical that the athlete understands what they want out of the University/Coach too.

  4. The Hoff said

    big problem was he paid me with the beers before the game…
    so point 1, 2 and 3 are also questionable…

  5. Vando said

    Good point Alexis. I will also look into the athlete understanding what they want out of the University. It was to be part of the next set of atricles. I have found that some players I have helped have not known why they want to go to the USA and thus in the end don’t go.

  6. Alexis said

    Sounds good. I think one of the things that Australian basketball do really well is that they spend a lot of time developing relationships with good quality programs and matching the athletes to the programs. Patty Mills is a great example – extraordinary player but went to a smaller school because the coach and the program suited him better.

    One thing I learned in my time coaching in the US is that there are more bad coaches than I ever would have believed!

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