Virtual College Showcases

During+a+virtual+volleyball+college+showcase%2C+college+coaches+view+the+athletes+through+live+streams+that+do+not+allow+for+them+to+properly+judge+the+players.

Media by Marin Ellington

During a virtual volleyball college showcase, college coaches view the athletes through live streams that do not allow for them to properly judge the players.

When attending a college showcase prior to the start of an out-of-town volleyball tournament, I was expecting lots of instruction about my play.

The event allows players to spend time in an environment run by college coaches and to receive feedback to help improve and show coachability.

I knew coronavirus restrictions had limited the number of players allowed to register, but I thought that would have allowed for more individualized interaction.

Instead, I was met with screens, and the variety of college-level coaches who were listed to be in attendance were nowhere to be found. The coaches watched the players on livestream through iPads set up on tripods at the back of the courts.

Though the player pool still remained decently large, at least large enough to run several courts of competitive gameplay, the lack of an in-person coaching staff took away from the interaction between coaches and players.

This dynamic is lost entirely in the virtual setting. Not only are players losing the valuable asset of direct coaching, but they are losing the constant attention of the coaches who can only look at one screen at a time.

Though the switch to virtual viewing has opened up the opportunity for more coaches to watch, it does no good if individual players aren’t even recognizable on the video feed.”

At the showcase I attended, there were five courts running, a camera for each side of the net.

With 10 cameras in total and only one or two in-person coaches, plays were left unnoticed by the very people the athletes in attendance were there to impress. 

Players are left with only each other to admire their skill on the court while coaches watch through a glitchy video stream that potentially prevents them from even reading the number of the player they are watching. 

Though the switch to virtual viewing has opened up the opportunity for more coaches to watch, it does no good if individual players aren’t even recognizable on the video feed.

In years previous, I used to see coaches all over the facility involved in active discussion with players to help them, instruct them and even open a line of communication in regards to playing at their college. 

Now, players enter and leave without any introduction or instruction to wait at home for an email that may never come without so much as fifteen dollars shaved off of their entree fee.