College Sports Recruiting – Know the Basics
How do I get started and what do I do first?
There are a few critical things that you must do to get recruited.
Get Evaluated. Get realistic feedback from reliable and credible sources to understand where your talent level is and what you need to improve upon to increase your chances of being recruited, and increase your value to a college coach. A credible source would be a high school coach, club/travel team coach, or 3rd party scouting source like Select College Athlete Recruiting.
Create your athletic resume or profile online so that it is easily accessed and viewed by college coaches. Initially, this is how coaches will build their list of prospects. Online sourcing of information is much more efficient for today’s coaches than opening hundreds of pieces of mail a day. College coaches rely on our verified athletes to build their prospect lists and gives them greater recruiting reach across the country. Don’t wait, build your athletic profile today!
Create your highlight/skills video. As previously stated, coaches do not possess the budget or time to prospect for athletes by attending individual games. They do initial prospecting through watching video and following up on credible sources of information.
Get Exposure to as many college coaches as you can. When you start looking for interested college coaches you need to cast a wide net initially. Giving yourself options is an important factor in making a good decision about how to spend the next 4 years. It adds to your value as an athlete when you have multiple offers to negotiate with when you are narrowing your choice. Proactive communication in all formats (email, telephone, letters, notes, mail etc.) is key to staying connected and building relationships with coaches.
Stay connected with college coaches and begin building relationships. Athletic and academic talent is critically important but when all is said and done; coaches will make scholarship offers to athletes they have gotten to know and trust. If you have remained consistent in your follow up and communication, you will hold an advantage over an athlete with equal talent and ability who did not stay connected to a coach.
THE RECRUITING PROCESS
There are a few key things you need to understand prior to starting the sports recruiting process. Most importantly, you must understand how and why colleges and coaches recruit. At any level of competition whether it be grade school, high school, college, or professional, coaches are driven by a desire to compete and to win. I doubt that you will ever run into a coach that says they got into coaching for the money. Coaches coach because they have a passion for the game, a need to compete, and a desire to teach and mentor young people. As coaches work their way up in the ranks the main differences that occur are the level of competition, talent available, and level of expectations from their employers/institutions. Therefore, it is easily recognized that recruiting plays a significant role in a coach’s success. If you can recruit the best available players, better than your competition, then in the long run you should be more successful.
It is important to realize that you as a high school athlete bring potential “value” to a coach and athletic program. And for that “value” you are offered financial assistance or, college athletic scholarship money to bring your athletic and academic talents to a particular school and program. As with anything of value you must market it and make it known! Exposure to as many college coaches as possible is how you can establish and increase your “value” as a student athlete. But, exposure does not simply happen by itself. It requires you to proactively take ownership of your recruiting.
The process a college coach goes through to recruit high school athletes is designed so that they give themselves multiple options to chose from as they may not be successful signing every preferred prospect at the top of their list. The start of the coach’s recruitment process should be very similar to the start of your process- “cast a wide net.” This simply means a coach starts with a large pool of prospective recruits. The coach will send a general form of communication (usually a questionnaire via mail) to student-athletes to determine interest and potential. Depending on the sport, division level, and coach’s specific need, they may start with a list of 10 or more prospects per position that they will begin to track. As the process continues, this list will be narrowed to only 3 or 4 prospects per position that will be force ranked in order of priority- 1 being highest potential/priority. As time goes and as the coach evaluate the needs of the team and skills of an athlete, they increase their recruiting intensity and commitment with an athlete. Until they receive a signed letter of intent from a chosen athlete it is important that they continue to keep their other options open. Or, in other words, keep the other prospects in the mix. This is commonly known as “stringing along”. It is one of the necessary evils of recruiting but nonetheless an important aspect of successful recruiting.
Many high school athletes and their families are disheartened and unprepared, when a college coach suddenly stops communicating or actively pursuing them as a prospective recruit. It is because the college coach has done a good job of recruiting them, but the athlete and family did not do a good job managing their own recruitment. As the famous quote states “life is not fair”; so too statement can be applied to athletic recruiting. Recognize that there will be student-athletes each year who receive athletic scholarship offers instead of more qualified candidates simply because they managed the recruitment process better. That is a fact.
In today’s world of athletic competition there are thousands upon thousands of great athletes each year that could or should be playing at the college level but do not, simply because there are hundreds of athletes with the same skill level playing the same position with the same academic credentials. The only difference is their management and ownership of the recruiting process.
As an example, think of how many great high school basketball forwards there are in the nation aside from the clearly identified “blue chip” players; (or top 100+ in the country). If you took 2 identical players, with identical academic and athletic profiles, which one would get scholarship offers over the other? The answer is simple- the athlete who commits to taking proactive ownership of their recruiting process and whose talents are exposed to more college coaches will be the most successful.
So how do you get that exposure? You get exposure to college coaches by first communicating your interest in their program. You should have a video highlighting your athletic skills and game footage. Just like a job search you will need an athletic profile or resume outlining your athletic and academic achievements and statistics. Obviously, the more college coaches you contact, the greater your chances of receiving multiple scholarship offers.
However, the sports recruiting process is far from done. Throughout the recruiting process there are numerous opportunities to move up on a coaches recruitment list as well as fall back on a coaches list. It can be confusing and overwhelming for many student-athletes and their families. If you are inexperienced or not knowledgeable, it is easy to make critical mistakes during the recruiting process that can seriously hurt your chances of receiving scholarship offers. Select College Athlete Recruiting provides you with the experienced direction and teaching that allow you to navigate through the many twists and turns of recruiting (and ensure that you stand apart from other athletes).
KNOW YOUR S.P.O.R.T!
To simplify the basics of what you need to KNOW to successfully start the recruiting process we provide the following easily referenced acronym SPORT:
Strategy- Have a game plan as to how, when, and where you plan to start your recruiting search. Put your goals and your strategy on paper and refer to it often. Recruiting is a dynamic process and things will change throughout so you will need to revisit and revise your game plan to keep moving forward. As a “Select Athlete” member we help you keep your strategy flexible and effective in achieving positive results.
Proactive– Waiting is not an option! You must take ownership of your recruiting future and get exposure to as many coaches as you can. This is not only true of getting your recruitment started but throughout the process you will set yourself apart from other student athletes by remaining consistent and taking a proactive approach to everything you do. SelectCollegeAthlete.com will get you exposure to college coaches from around the nation. Sign up today!
Organized- If done effectively, you will be pursuing and communicating with many different programs/coaches at once. It is critical that you keep organized and detailed notes so that you do not miss out on opportunities or deadlines. SelectCollegeAthlete.com will help you stay organized and on time with your own folder notes section and regular email recruiting reminders.
Realistic- This can be the most difficult thing to do when starting the recruiting game. Many athletes and their families may overestimate their college level potential. It is important that you receive realistic feedback from credible sources on your strengths, weaknesses, and college level potential. SelectCollegeAthlete.com can provide you with a talent evaluation in addition to your coaches.
Time- Time is either working for you or against you in the recruiting game. It is far too often that you hear parents and athletes who assumed that recruiting would take care of itself and later found they were “out of time”. You only have this opportunity once in your life- you must devote the necessary time to make it successful. It is not just a 4 year decision it is a lifetime decision. SelectCollegeAthlete.com can get you started on your recruiting journey today!
If you are serious about your recruiting future and would like to speak with one of our scouts call 1-877-569-4002.
QUICK RECRUITING FACT:
Every year thousands of deserving student athletes will not be offered scholarships simply because they did not effectively manage their recruitment process.