High-SchoolVolleyball: Volleyball recruiting

By Cosy Burnett

Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams. In the latest installment of her blog, she shares her tips on how to make the most of your time on the bench.

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
My first three years of playing club were spent on the bench. I once asked a high school coach whom I respected if it was better to play for a great team and sit on the bench or play for a lesser team and get the playing time. He thought for a while and said he was asked that question a lot. His answer was “Be the best player on the best team.” OK, thanks. I think.

No doubt it’s a very frustrating time. I learned a lot from my time on the bench and I want to share some hope to all you who may find yourselves warming the sidelines.

1. Remember, you are part of the team
You can contribute to your team’s success from the sidelines, and every award and victory the team achieves is also 100 percent yours. You work just as hard as everyone else and maybe even a little harder. Those reps you contribute at practice help make the team better as a whole.

2. Let recruiters know your situation
Before a big tournament, call the schools you are interested in and let them know to come and watch you during warm-ups. This may sound funny, but I did this and was surprised how many showed up. The warm-ups are your shot, so play hard.

3. Stand up and cheer
There is no need to sit on the sidelines with a long face. Go with it ... have fun! Teams feed off each other’s energy, and this is something you can do. If there is a big point, go crazy. Your teammates will feel your support and they will know you have their backs.

4. Communicate with your coach
Talk to your coach privately and make goals and benchmarks to earn more playing time. Find out how playing time is determined and make it clear that you are hungry. Then follow up with your coach to keep him or her honest. Your coach really does want you to play and to reach your potential – that’s why you are on the team.

5. Be positive
I can’t stress this enough. Just as you can be an asset to a team as a bencher, you can also be destructive. Do not talk badly about the coaches to other teammates. If your parents are supportive, great. If they overreact, be careful; it’s hard on them, too. It’s helpful to have a friend to vent to who knows nothing about volleyball. During the season, stay committed and positive to your team. When the season is over, it’s time to evaluate your goals. Be honest with yourself and move forward. If it’s club, you can always make a change. If it’s school, use club opportunities to improve for next season.

Read the previous installment of Cosy's blog – how to stage a comeback – here.
Cosy Burnett is a junior outside and opposite hitter at La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) who also plays for Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. Her high school team competed in the state finals for Division II last season and she has competed at nationals five times with her club teams.


I’m super stoked to be blogging for ESPNHS.com!

La Costa Canyon volleyball
Cosy Burnett
My club team (Coast 17-1s) played in the MLK Speakeasy tournament this past weekend, and we won the championship! I thought I would write my first blog about things I have learned about playing in front of college recruiters.

For those of you starting the recruiting process, you may be a bit overwhelmed walking into a venue and seeing all those coaches walking around with their clipboards and silky polo shirts proudly displaying the school name. You may even see a recruiter from your “dream school.” Your eyes may even dart around the perimeter of the court to see if he saw you make that amazing kill.

It’s exciting and fun when the game gets to this level because now it’s really about your future, and the possibilities seem endless.
These are some tips that I have learned when playing in front of college recruiters that help me “stay in the game.”

1. Do not look for coaches at the venue. Send an email or call them in advance to let them know you will be playing. If they are there, great. If not, there is nothing you can do anyway, and it’s just distracting. Just focus on the tournament, your team and the game.

2. Remember you are there because you love the game. You are not there to showcase yourself. Be a team player, don’t worry about looking good, just contribute to your team any way you are needed.

3. Be yourself! Don’t try to be someone else. You would never want to be recruited to a school and have it not be a fit. For example, I get really energetic on the court. I jump around a lot after we make a point and get really excited. It’s just me. Some coaches may think I need to calm down and others may love the energy. I want to be with a program who values who I am.

4. Don’t worry if you make a mistake. I had a coach tell me that they are mainly looking at whether you are A.) teachable and B.) can bring it to the next level. They are looking at your athleticism and how you move. They don’t expect you to be able to play on their team right now. Just keep a good attitude after a mistake and move on.

5. Don’t be a sore loser. I really don’t think recruiters even remember or care what the score is. They will remember how you reacted or if you had poor sportsmanship. If you lose, that does not mean that they are no longer interested. I'm sure that as a coach they have had quite a few losses in their careers, too.

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