A while ago I got an email from a young volleyball player. It presents a case I honestly haven’t dealt with before. I post it here in hopes to get some thoughts from the volleyball coaching community. Here’s the situation.

I’ve played 6 years of volleyball starting in 7th grade and playing club. My 11th grade year I was in the process of being recruited and looked by college coaches to play on there team… But unfortunately towards the middle-end of my senior year… I got pregnant & will be having the baby in January of 2016.

I was going to start college in the fall but now I’m. Taking off this 2 year to have the baby & I’m currently taking online classes so I won’t be too behind. But the next following school year I plan on going back to a university in the fall of 2016. Would it be possible for me to try out for a volleyball team with a child if I work for it? Or how would that work? I loved playing volleyball more then anything and I don’t want to let having a baby come in the way of my dream.

I certainly applaud this young woman for wanting to continue to pursue her dream of playing in college. It’s certainly a challenging situation.

Because there’s a big recruiting aspect to this question, I sent it along to Matt at The College Volleyball Coach. He focuses a lot of college recruiting questions. His response wasn’t very upbeat:

I cannot think of any college volleyball coaches who would make accommodations for a player with a baby, unless she was unreal good.  Not because the college coaches are heartless people, but rather, they can easily recruit the same talents without the distraction of being a new mother.

Her only realistic option of transitioning to a college volleyball team would be with NAIA/JC, and with the full time assistance of a parent or adult to provide supreme care for the new child.

I’m not inclined to be quite so negative as Matt. I suspect there are NCAA Division III options available as well. Division I or II may be a bit much, though. The increased demands from a more year-round schedule, greater travel, etc. are a real issue.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject, especially if you’re a coach who has had a college player with a young child in your team. Please leave a comment below.

Thanks in advance.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    3 replies to "Advice for a pregnant volleyball player?"

    • John Forman

      Below are some comments from a Facebook coaching group discussion of this post.

      Eric B: From the article: “I cannot think of any college volleyball coaches who would make accommodations for a player with a baby, unless she was unreal good.” Makes sense. Everything in life is a trade-off and having your baby will always need to take priority over playing sports.

      Dave M.: All comes down to her support team. If grandma and the father are on board sure it can be done. But thats a lot of goodnights missed. Wouldn’t be surprised if she changed her mind. Stay in shape, but no sense in worrying about it if she’s taking 2 years off. Be mom for a year and reevaluate. Priorities will probably change a lot in that year.

      Ray V.: I had 4 parents on my college team in NJ. Each worked insanely hard to make it work but I think that you can make it work if you want to. D3 might be a good option or NAIA. You have to have familial support of friends who are like family.

      Susan J.: If she wants it bad enough and she’s good, nothing will stop her in that part of the equation. She may have to go the route mentioned in the article of NAIA/Community College to get seen again but she still has the same opportunities as any other player out there, IF she has the support at home. That part is huge! I cannot see a coach giving her a break with games and practices just because she has a child. She’s got to have a plan A, B & C. And depending on how mentally mature she is she may beat out the younger players for a spot.

      Emily B: Wow, as a mom and high school and college coach, it will be impossible if she doesn’t have a support system in place.

    • Kristina Anderson

      I was in this position personally. Coming out of JC I was pregnant. I went on to play at a small DII school. The team, coaching staff and school supported me tremendously. I was able to play and be a mom. Its not easy but can be done. I am so grateful for that opportunity to continue to play, and continue my education. That child is almost 24 now. Never tell someone they can’t do it because it is possible!

      • John Forman

        Thanks for sharing that Kristina

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