The University of West Alabama volleyball team held an open tryout on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Hughes Gymnasium. The tryout was open to high school seniors and junior college sophomores.

“It’s really big for our university, with how small and local we are, to try and get as many Alabama kids to come and play for us,” head coach, Alexis Meeks said. “It is another way to brand ourselves and help people learn about our program.”

This method of tryouts is different compared to other programs. Bigger schools do not hold open tryouts because there is no need for them due to more students showing interest in their programs.

“The most common way to recruit players is to go out and watch games,” Meeks said. “A lot of kids are putting videos out online and posting them to recruiting sites.” However, many players still struggle to make connections to teams and scouts.

“I looked forward to playing in college but no scouts came to our school this year,” Destiny Anderson, a tryout attendant from Choctaw County High School, said. “I have talent that I want to broadcast so maybe next year they will come look at the younger kids that are there now.”

Meeks has spent her first year as head coach rebuilding the program. The changes have tremendously affected the turnout to the tryout in numbers, with this year’s reaching 27 participants. “As the assistant coach last year we only had 8 kids come so we have definitely improved this year which is important,” said Meeks.

Attendees had the opportunity to experience a real practice and interact with current team members. “I have a great group of girls,” said Meeks, “The biggest thing we strive to change is the culture and teaching them how to be successful and how to win.”

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