Tournament Recruiting

College Recruiting During Tournaments

Travel tournaments are an important component to college recruiting. Here are the three things you should plan to do before, during and after a travel tournament.

Before the tournament
Invite college coaches to watch you play. Read more about this below.

During the tournament
Take video that can be shared with college coaches. Coaches want to see video of you playing strong competition. Video from travel tournaments is typically stronger than video from local tournaments.

Before or After the Tournament
Schedule time on the way to or from the tournament to visit nearby colleges. Even if you are not interested in the school, a visit to any college campus to help shape your thinking about your college goals. 


College Coach Lists

During the week before any travel tournament, go to the tournament website and look for a list of coaches that have RSVP’d to attend  or who have attended the tournament in the past. Note: Many college coaches are very slow to RSVP for tournaments, so sometimes last year’s list of coach attendees is a better guide for which coaches will be attending that tournament. 

Now, send emails to college coaches and invite them to come watch you play at the tournament. Use the tournament RSVP list as a guide, but if your favorite school is not on the list, email them anyway. The coach may be planning to attend but hasn’t RSVP’d — or maybe he or she will decide to attend when s/he sees that you will be there!

Use our sample college recruiting letter to guide you.


Recruiting Video

Recruiting video is a must if you want to play in college. When you email college coaches to come what you play, you should send them a short video link. Many coaches only spend their time at tournaments watching players who have sent a a video link. They are seeking out many players and they  don’t want to waste their tournament time finding a player completely unknown to them.

Use travel tournaments — where the competition is the strongest — to film your matches. Many  tournaments offer video services so check out the tournament page in advance. But video is not tough to do on your own. Bring a tripod with an iPhone or iPad mount or use a regular video camera and take video. Talk to your teammates and share the burden of recording your matches. Chances are your player is very skilled at editing her own video on her iPhone.

The value of video from a travel tournament is that coaches know you are playing good teams. A block or ace serve against Texas Advantage, Triangle or Tribe is much more meaningful to a college coach than the same play against a local team.


College Visits

Travel tournaments are a great opportunity to visit college campuses. Every player should plan to visit at least one school before or after your tournament.

Even if you don’t think you are interested in attending a particular college, we encourage you to visit as many schools as you can to help your daughter get a sense of her priorities in college. During my daughter’s sophomore year attending MAPL-Raleigh, we visited Elon University and Duke University. Neither school was on our list for college, but that trip sophomore year had a huge influence on my daughter’s college recruiting goals going forward. Did she like the feeling of a new modern campus or did she respond more to old beautiful architecture? How important was the surrounding town to her? Could she see herself spending time in the campus library?