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How do I get recruited to play college sports

How do I get recruited to play college sports?

How do I get recruited to play college sports? Here are 8 tips to help you succeed in the college athletic recruiting process

How important are academics in the athletic recruiting process?

1 – Be a really good Student. While big-time football and basketball programs may have some lax academic standards for recruits, most college coaches will not recruit you if you are not close to what their college looks for academically. You need to focus on your grades and research colleges where your academic record is a fit with what that college looks for in an applicant. While coaches have the ability to submit lists of student-athletes they are actively recruiting to admissions, this varies at every college as to how effective it can be!

How important is athletic skill in the athletic recruiting process?

2 – Be a good athlete. My summer coach used to talk about the pyramid where you have all the high school athletes here, then you have college athletes above and then you have pro athletes above. Some athletes are simply better than others, a fact you must accept. This doesn’t mean you cannot work on your game as well as your physical attributes (size, speed, stamina, coordination) to get better. Work on all aspects of your game. Work on your weaknesses. Work on how you approach the game mentally. Work on learning the rules of the game and so forth to try and get better.

How realistic do I need to be in the athletic recruiting process?

3 – Be realistic. You may have aspirations of playing football for Alabama or Basketball for Kentucky, but only a select few high school athletes have the skills to play for programs of that caliber. There are over 1,000 NCAA colleges and several hundred NAIA and Junior colleges that you can potentially play your sport at. It’s important to try and find a college where your skills match up with the level of play in a given program.

How proactive do I need to be in the athletic recruiting process?

4 – Be proactive. While a few students are “discovered” being found is mostly a myth. College coaches rely on high school athletes reaching out to them for the purposes of being recruited. You need to fill out online recruit forms on the college’s website, email coaches directly and in many cases, call them to introduce yourself. Do not try to get recruited from one email or one phone call, rather focus on simply introducing yourself to them as a person who is potentially interested in their school and program.

How many programs do I need to research for the athletic recruiting process?

5 – Do the research. The mistake many families make in the recruiting process is they reach out to colleges and coaches at schools they are not qualified to play at. While college coaches like to hear directly from recruits, they like to hear from recruits that have done some research on their school and program and think it might be a potential fit. So, before you are proactive in contacting them, you need to be proactive in researching many different programs. Who does the school play? who does the coach recruit? Where does the coach recruit?

How do I evaluate my athletic skill for the athletic recruiting process?

6 – Evaluate your athletic skill. Determining your athletic skill can sometimes be tricky but self-reflection helps. How do you perform against other players at your high school? How do you perform vs. other players in your league? How do you perform against other players in your State? How do you perform against other players in the country? The recruiting process is a global process. You are not competing against players on your high school team, you are competing against every qualified high school athlete in the country if not the world in some cases! You need to play in different events and venues against different competition in order to understand how your skills compare to other players.

How much athletic scholarship money is out there?

7 – Be prepared to pay for college. Many parents are chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to recoup the investment they have made in their child’s athletic career thus far. After Division 1 football and Division 1 basketball, there is very little money in the form of athletic scholarships for other sports. In reality, you might have a better chance to be an academic star and apply to colleges that have a hard time attracting applicants in the hopes of receiving academic aid and grants. Sports like baseball with 11.7 D1 scholarships or Lacrosse with 12.6 athletic scholarships divide their athletic scholarship money between many recruits, and that is if the program is even fully funded which many are not. Despite your talents, if you receive a one third athletic scholarship at a private college, you will be on the hook for an additional $40,000 in tuition money each year if you don’t qualify for financial aid.

How hard is it to be recruited by college athletic coaches?

8 – Get off the beaten path. There are colleges that receive 30,000 applications a year and colleges that many recruits gravitate to because of the success of the program, reputation, coolness factor and so forth. The John Hopkins Lacrosse team is not hurting for recruits as just about every lacrosse player of note in high school probably wants to play there. Then there are programs like Occidental College that just canceled the remainder of their D3 football schedule because they lacked enough players to continue the season. When you subtract the colleges you know from watching football or basketball on TV and the colleges you know near where you live, there are another 900+ colleges you have never heard of that all potentially offer an opportunity to play college sports. The more research you do, and the more college coaches you reach out to, the more recruiting opportunities you will create.

For more information on succeeding in the college athletic recruiting process, check out The Making of a Student-Athlete our 241 page guide.

Perception vs. Being Realistic in the Athletic Recruiting Process

How Common misconceptions hurt families in the athletic recruiting process

Success or failure in the athletic recruiting process often is determined by a family’s beliefs about how they think the process works. Some believe good high school athletes will be found or discovered because that’s what college coaches do. Others think their high school coach will handle the recruiting process for their son or daughter. A few are also chasing athletic scholarship money that might not ever appear because of the sport you play and the level have the ability to play at. Learn some of the common myths and realities below.

 

I need athletic scholarship money so I should target D1 or D2 schools, because D3 schools do not offer athletic aid

There are two fully funded sports at the NCAA D1 level. Those would be D1 football and D1 basketball (for men and women) What’s that mean? It means if you are lucky enough to be offered an athletic scholarship in those sports, it will be for the full amount. There are no partial scholarships. No other sport at the NCAA level guarantees you will receive a full scholarship. Are there other NCAA sports that will potentially offer me a full scholarship? Yes, there are but it is more rare for two reasons. 1 – Virtually every other sport at the college level does not generate enough revenue to justify being fully funded. 2 – Most teams require more players on the roster than there are athletic scholarships available. For instance, NCAA D1 baseball is allowed 11.78 athletic scholarships, but most rosters are comprised of 30 players, so the coach (if they are lucky enough to be fully funded) will divide those scholarships up to more players.

So how does D3 fit into this equation if they cannot offer any athletic scholarships? Well, many D3 colleges offer very attractive financial aid packages for amazing students through grants and merit aid packages. What’s great about this money is, it is not tied to your athletic participation, happiness or success. If you accept a D1 athletic scholarship of any kind, your aid package is tied to your participation in your sport. If you accept academic grant money and also play lacrosse at a D3 school, but want to quit playing lacrosse after a year or two, you will still retain your academic money provided you meet the grade requirements of the academic money (assuming there are some.)

 

The major I choose is very important

Part of the benefits of college is living on your own for 4 years with new people and learning how to learn and learning how to do work on your own, or in a group and how to meet deadlines you might not want to meet. It’s a good primer for when you enter the working world and have to work both as an individual and as a team member in a company. That’s why employers like to hire college athletes. If you want to be a nurse, we would suggest attending a school with a nursing program and majoring in nursing. If you want to be an engineer, we would suggest attending a school with engineering and majoring in engineering because we want that building you design to stand up for a while. But some jobs and some majors can cross over and employers aren’t simply looking for employees that “majored” in something but employees that have various skills, drive and determination. Speaking and writing is extremely important and many successful business people were English majors. Business degrees where you study marketing, finance, or accounting can lead to jobs in thousands of additional areas. All Ivy League colleges are liberal arts degrees, but those students go on to careers in many different fields because they are smart, fast learners and highly motivated students who have been that way for years.

 

I don’t want to go to a small school because my high school was small and I didn’t like it

Two things that make your high school seem small is that it probably is small, a few buildings or one big building. But the bigger factor is that you know many or most of the students because you have lived in the same town and gone to school with them for 10+ years. Many high school students want to escape that small college feel after high school because of certain experiences they have had in high school. Any college you attend will be a fresh start. You probably won’t know a single person when you arrive and that’s a good thing. A small college with 2,000 students will have a campus much larger than your high school with students living in different areas or off-campus, so it will not be remotely like high school. You may also arrive at a school with 30,000 students and feel overwhelmed with its size.

Being realistic in the athletic recruiting process

Being realistic in the athletic recruiting process

The best players play at D1 colleges

We try to tell families never to judge a college athletic program by what division it is and to research every school and team on an individual basis. Past success, location or the uniqueness of a certain school can greatly affect the talent of individual athletic teams. Teams like the Wheaton (Illinois) swimming teams attract top talent from all over the country due to their unbelievable success at winning national championships. Teams like the Methodist University (North Carolina) golf teams attract top golfers from around the country because they are one a select few colleges that offer a PGM major, which is a major in professional golf management (think business major but for the golf industry). There golf teams have also won multiple national championships. College baseball teams in the State of Florida have extremely talented baseball teams because the State products a high number of high school players who play all year round and have little incentive to leave the State of Florida to play college baseball because the schools are less expensive and the level of play is high.  Hockey rules the northeast and many D3 teams have unbelievably talented players who didn’t play D1 for simply a lack of roster spots available.

 

I won’t qualify for a lot of financial aid

We could write for days on the financial aid process and we would be no closer to answering this question. There are many factors that go into how much aid a person gets and what one family might get is not necessarily what another family might get. We try to tell all families to never dismiss a college because of finances until you have gone through the aid process, either federally or institutionally or both. There are many factors that go into aid awards such as income, marital status, how many kids in the family, retirement savings, your house value and so forth. The federal government will also look at things differently than individual colleges will when determining institutional aid packages.

While there are colleges turning away students, there are other dying for students and/or college off the beaten path that are trying to attract students from farther away in the country. If you live in New England, you might find a small D3 college a 1,000 miles away looking to bring in more students from your region and might offer you Merit aid. Why? Because colleges are businesses that constantly need new business each year, and if they expand their reach of students, they expand their brand and can/will attract more students from around the country.

 

My athletic skill will get me recruited even if my grades are low

Depends how low! College coaches are allowed to submit lists of players they are actively recruiting to admissions for consideration and how much impact this has is different at every school. In order to be on this “secret list” you need to be actively recruited by the coach and you have had to tell them that you are committed to their program. Then it’s up to the school to decide how many recruits they want to bend their admissions criteria for. If you are on the bubble academically of what that school looks for, this might help you squeak in. However, bad grades will get you un-recruited faster than anything you can think of. While Big State U might be able to slide a great football player in the back door of admissions, that’s not how most colleges operate. The first thing a college coach is going to inquire about is your grades and if they sniff a problem, they are going to pass extremely fast on you.

 

College coaches will find me if I am a talented athlete

College coaches work extremely hard at recruiting. Some recruit locally, others recruit in their State, and others recruit across the country or world depending on their needs and resources. Some recruit specific areas of the country because there is good talent there and/or they have created relationships in those areas with other programs and coaches. College coaches rarely attend high school games to scout random players. Not only is it not a good use of their time, but their season takes place during your season! Think about that for second. How is a coach supposed to come to your high school games when they are in the middle of their season? If a coach attends a high school game, it is usually on an off day to see a specific player they have or are currently scouting. Your job is to research colleges that might be a good academic and athletic fit and then to reach out to those college coaches to introduce yourself and to discover the needs of the coaching staff and how you might be considered for recruitment down the road. Most athletes are not discovered, they are recruited through hard work and contacting multiple coaches on their own.

 

College coaches need my stats to recruit me

College coaches could really care less about statistics. They tell coaches very little about you as an athlete or as a person. There are roughly 20,000 high schools in the country, and thus 20,000 leading scorers or leading hitters on every team. Not all those leading scorers or leading hitters are capable of playing in college, despite leading their team in some statistical category. I like to tell the story of Dave Winfield, the former pro baseball player.  Winfield was drafted in pro baseball, pro basketball and pro football. He was an extremely talented baseball and basketball player in college, but Winfield didn’t score a single touchdown in football. He didn’t have single tackle or sack. He didn’t have a single interception or fumble recovery. He didn’t kick a single field goal or extra point. He never blocked a single person on a football field. Not only did Dave Winfield never play a down of college football in college, he never stepped foot on a college football team or put a uniform on. So how does a player get drafted for football that doesn’t have a single “football stat” and never played? Easy, he was 6’7” 250 and excelled at two other sports and pro football teams saw his athletic ability as his biggest asset. While parents are assembling 5 pages of stats to send to college coaches, those coaches are looking for talented athletes who play the game well with good instincts and techniques. Not every coach is looking for a pitcher that throws 92, but they want to see if you can get players out with what you do throw. They want to know how you handle winning, how you handle losing, how you handle adversity, how you prepare for games before the game, how you interact with teammates, coaches opposing players and umpires. Virtually none of that can come from statistics.

 

I cannot control what college coaches recruit me

There are some things you cannot control the athletic recruiting process, namely who a college coach chooses to recruit or not recruit. However, you can stack the deck in your favor and improve your odds. First and foremost, college coaches want to recruit high school athletes that can get accepted to their college or university. If your grades and test scores are poor, it will not really matter who good your jump shot or fastball is, if you cannot get in, your recruiting process will not get off the ground. College coaches also like to recruit players of high work ethic and character. If they sense you will be a problem for four years, then they may pass on you. College coaches like to recruit good athletes. Some players are good at just their sport, but some coaches are looking for more well-rounded athletes that not only can run fast, or jump high but have great technique and intelligence for the game and are great all-around athletes. Now, let’s take those 3 elements (good grades, great work ethic and character, and great athlete), and see how those affect the recruiting process. If you are applying or looking at colleges where your grades and test scores are on the bubble for acceptance and your athletic skill is average for what that coach and program might look for in a recruit, then you are going to find that you have less ability to choose what college you attend. You have no leverage and the coach may have a list of 100 other recruits just like you. If, however, you have amazing grades and test scores, and are a hard working talented athlete who seeks out programs where your skills are above what that college coach might look for in a recruit, you will find that you can have multiple college programs that wish to recruit you. Ultimately, if you target the right schools and enough schools, you can have the ability to choose.

 

I can get recruited off of a good showcase performance

It’s possible, but coaches need to see more. Many a player dream of dinging a few home runs at a showcase while college coaches drool over your swing and in reality, that’s not often how it works. While a showcase performance can get the ball rolling in your recruiting process and get you on a coaches’ radar, most coaches need to see much more out of you before they potentially invest in 4 years of you as a player on their team. They need to see you play in meaningful games in some capacity! What is a meaningful game? It’s a game where there is something on the line for you. They want to see how you handle winning and losing, how you handle pressure, how you interact with your coaches and teammates, how you interact with your opponents or referee’s/umpires, how you handle making a great play or a bad play, or how you react to a teammate doing the same. These are things that can rarely be learned with a few shots or a few swings at a showcase so most coaches use them to decide whether or not they want/need to see more of you.

What are the Most Common Athletic Recruiting Questions?

Learn some of the most common athletic recruiting questions we are asked

Varsityedge.com has fielded lots of questions over the years. Here are some of the more common questions we receive.

How many scholarships are there for d1 football?

Division 1 football teams are allowed to offer 85 athletic scholarships for their entire team and up to 25 new recruits each year. There is some discrepancy in football where teams can sign 28 players and then ask some to defer to the spring semester (gray shirt) which the NCAA frowns upon.

Can division 3 offer athletic scholarships?

No, athletic scholarships are only offered at the Division 1 and Division 2 level. You may, however, find a more attractive financial aid package at a Division 3 schools if you are an outstanding student and apply to colleges looking for students from your State or region to enroll.

How many division 1 baseball teams are there?

There are over 325 Division 1 baseball teams at the NCAA level as well as many at the NAIA and JUCO level.

How many scholarships for d1 basketball teams?

NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball teams can offer 13 athletic scholarships for their entire team and NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball teams can offer 15 athletic scholarships for their entire team. There are no partial scholarships at this level, you either receive a full scholarship or are considered a walk-on.

What percentage of high school athletes will play at the college level?

Below is a graphic the NCAA puts out which I despise because in no way does it factor in the number of players in each sport who were even interested in playing in college or who had the actual skills needed to play in college. This is not a probability chart in any way. If you have the skills to play in college and apply some effort to your recruiting process, your probability of playing in college is 100% If you do not have the skills and athletic ability to play at the college level, your probability is zero percent! Read more about participation numbers

NCAA Participation Numbers

How many scholarships for D1 baseball?

Division 1 baseball offers 11.7 athletic scholarships per team (11.78 if you want to be technical). These can be divided up to up to 27 players in the form of partial athletic scholarships. Please note, some teams will have more than 27 players on their roster but only 27 are allowed to receive aid per NCAA rules. The NCAA made several rules changes to D1 baseball a few years ago, among them: Rosters could not exceed 35 players. The Minimum athletic scholarship a player could receive was 25%. Players transferring from D1 to D1 in baseball must sit out one year. If a player on the fall roster is receiving aid and leaves the team, the coach cannot use his aid for the spring with another player. Coaches cannot use players in the spring that were ineligible in the fall. The 25% minimum scholarship rule creates a bit of a problem because many D1 baseball teams only have a few athletic scholarships to offer because it’s not a revenue generating sport. If a team has 3 total athletic scholarships available and divides that into 25% portions, they have twelve 25% portions to use. That means up to 20 players on the team will potentially receive no athletic scholarship money at all!

Can my athletic scholarship be taken away?

Yes and no. This is straight from the NCAA Division 1 Manual

15.3.5.3 Reduction or Nonrenewal Not Permitted

—After the Period of the Award. [A] If a student athlete receives athletically related financial aid in the academic year of his or her initial full-time enrollment at the certifying institution, the following factors shall not be considered in the reduction or nonrenewal of such aid for the following academic year or years of the student-athlete’s five-year period of eligibility:

(a) A student-athlete’s athletics ability, performance or contribution to a team’s success (e.g., financial aid contingent upon specified performance or playing a specific position)

(b) An injury, illness, or physical or mental medical condition; or

(c) Any other athletics reason.

15.3.4.2 Reduction or Cancellation Permitted. Institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability may be reduced or canceled during the period of the award if the recipient: (a) Renders himself or herself ineligible for intercollegiate competition;

(b) Fraudulently misrepresents any information on an application, letter of intent or financial aid agreement (see Bylaw 15.3.4.2.3);

(c) Engages in serious misconduct warranting substantial disciplinary penalty (see Bylaw 15.3.4.2.4); or

(d) Voluntarily (on his or her own initiative) withdraws from a sport at any time for personal reasons; however, the recipient’s financial aid may not be awarded to another student-athlete in the academic term in which the aid was reduced or canceled.

Do division 2 schools offer athletic scholarships?

Yes, the numbers are a little lower in a few sports compared to Division 1, but they are offered.

What are the new NCAA texting rules?

DIVISION 1

Men’s basketball: Electronic correspondence can begin June 15th after sophomore year.

Women’s basketball: Electronic correspondence can begin September 1st of junior year.

Football: Electronic correspondence can begin June 15th after sophomore year. This was just changed in April of 2016 to be in line with men’s basketball.

All Other sports: Electronic correspondence can begin September 1st of junior year.

Swimming & Diving, Cross Country, Track & Field: Only email and faxes allowed until you provide a written commitment to the NCAA school

DIVISION 2 & 3

Texting is also allowed at the D2 level on/after June 15th of a prospects sophomore year.

The NCAA D3 council voted in January of 2012 on text messaging and it is now allowed at the D3 level for every sport.

What does national letter of intent mean?

The National Letter of Intent or NLI is a legal document signifying the award of athletic aid at an NCAA Division 1 or NCAA Division 2 school. When you sign an NLI, you must attend the institution with which you signed for a minimum of one year. Wondering what happens if you sign and then the coach leaves? You are stuck! You sign with a school, not a coach. You an appeal to the school for your release, but they do not have to let you out of it. This might be the first important legal document you sign, so when you sign it, understand with it comes responsibility and repercussions.

Can you uncommitt to a college?

A verbal commitment to a college has no legal authority until a college coach offers an award letter and a recruit signs a National Letter of Intent.

How do I respond to a college coach email?

By answering the questions the college coach asked. Even if you are not interested in the college at this time, respond to the coach in a professional manner by thanking him for contacting you. If you are truly not interested, we would advise you to say something like: “Coach (Name), Thank you for contacting me. Right now I am pursuing other opportunities, but if my situation changes I will contact you immediately!”

When can colleges offer scholarships?

When you are born. Yes, we have all heard about the 7th grade phenom who already has a standing athletic scholarship offer from some college. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt and trying to get a kid excited about a school. Most of these usually fall through because kids don’t pan out or the coach is long gone from the school. There are specific signing dates for NCAA sports, and athletic scholarship offers can come before those. The offers coaches make to 7th and 8th graders are not real!

What is juco football?

There are 120+ Junior College Football teams that compete at the NJCAA in three different divisions. These sports offer athletic scholarships and have national championships. See NJCCA.org

Is it too late to get recruited senior year?

It depends on the sport you play. If you play a spring sport like baseball or softball, it is too late to have any real recruiting impact because applications have already been sent in, and in reality, college coaches are recruiting sophomores and juniors in the spring. If you play a fall sport like football, or basketball, a strong senior season can impact your recruiting process if the college coach has time to evaluate you before applications are due. Since colleges have different application schedules, it can vary from school to school and coach to coach.

Can junior colleges offer athletic scholarships?

There are 3 divisions of Junior College (D1, D2 and D3). D1 can offer full athletic scholarships. D2 can offer scholarships for tuition and books but not room and board. D3 cannot offer any athletic scholarships.

When can division 1 coaches contact you? When can d3 coaches contact players? When can division 2 coaches contact you?

NCAA D1 – College coaches can begin to call you after September 1st at beginning of your junior year.
NCAA D2 – College coaches can begin to call you beginning June 15th before your junior year.
NCAA D3 – Unlike D1 and D2, there are no restrictions as to when a D3 coach can call a prospect in high school. The NCAA feels that smaller D3 schools do not have the time, money, or resources to abuse this privilege, which will often be true.

Football Specific (Junior Year): In Division I & IAA, one call from April 15 to May 31 of your junior year. Additional calls cannot be made before September 1st of your senior year

Men’s Basketball Specific: In the summer of 2012 The NCAA adopted new contact rules for men’s D1 basketball. Coaches will be allowed unlimited phone calls starting June 15 after a recruit’s sophomore year. Private messages on social networks also will be deregulated. Women’s basketball calls can begin on September 1st of your junior year. Once that begins, the calls from coaches are unlimited.

Women’s Ice Hockey – A college coach may call International college-bound student-athletes once on or after July 7th after sophomore year. One call per week beginning July 7th after junior year.

Men’s Ice Hockey – College coaches may begin calling on January 1st of your sophomore year.

Other Sports: Swimming & diving, cross country, track and field may not be made before July 1st following junior year.

What is the Academic Index or AI that Ivy colleges use?

As a league, the Ivy’s monitor athletic admissions via a concept called the Academic Index or AI. The academic index is not a secret, but it’s not something readily discussed by coaches and administrators. The academic index is a computed score of three components – SAT I, SAT II, and GPA (Class rank was removed in 2011 from the calculation).  The minimum AI for all IVY League Schools was raised to 176 in 2011 (the max is 240). Also, the mean score at each school depends on the quality of the student body; therefore, it will vary (slightly) from school to school, so Harvard will have a higher AI than Dartmouth.

Steps of the College Athletic Recruiting Process

What is the best way to succeed in the college athletic recruiting process?

Question: How do you eat an elephant?

Answer: One bite at a time.

I talk to a lot of parents about recruiting. The word I hear over and over again is “overwhelming.” The quote about eating an elephant was in a Navy SEAL book I am read. The author says one of the keys to success at BUDS, possibly the hardest training program on the face of the earth, is to apply the elephant quote. Not simply one day at a time, but one exercise at a time. The author describes being able to get through the training by simply trying to complete the next exercise and then telling himself, “that’s one less set of log lifts I ever have to do, now let’s make it to lunch.” “That’s one less beach run I ever have to do, now let’s eat dinner!” Worrying about what was to come tomorrow or next week at BUDS was a sure form of failure he said. One bite at a time!

The recruiting process can be as overwhelming as you make it. It can be more overwhelming if you are a marginal student or athlete because your choices will be more limited. What often makes it overwhelming is that families make the recruiting process one all-encompassing process, rather than breaking it down into small steps. Where you live, or your personal finances can make it even harder to get recruited or pay for school, which again, makes it overwhelming.

Before you step onto the field for your first college game, there are (pick a number) of steps that need to happen before that happens. You cannot step onto the field, until you show up at college. You cannot enroll in college until you accept your acceptance and send in a deposit. You cannot get accepted until you apply. You cannot apply until you have toured the school. You cannot know if your finances are in order until you have crunched some numbers and compared different financial aid options. You cannot pay for school until your finances are in order. You cannot apply until you have decided this is a college you can get into and are interested in. You cannot decide if this is a college you are interested in until you have done some research on it. You cannot show up for practice or your first game until you have signed a letter of intent or were recruited by the coach. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have accepted their offer. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have personally met with that coach in some capacity. You cannot get recruited by the coach until that coach has seen you play in a meaningful setting. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have expressed interest in that school and program. You cannot get recruited by the coach until that coach contacts you. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have supplied them with something tangible to evaluate your skills. You cannot get recruited by the coach until your grades are within what that college looks for in a student. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you and the coaching staff have had multiple conversations. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you contact that coach or the coach contacts you multiple times. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you do some research on different colleges to see where might be a good fit. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have a realistic idea of what your skills are and how they apply to different colleges. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you have decided to you actually want to play college athletics. You cannot get recruited by the coach until you are physically, mentally and emotionally ready to tackle this “overwhelming” list.

So, how do you get recruited? One step at a time!

There is a big list of steps up there. Very few of them cannot be accomplished in one day, nor should they be. You should spend months online forming a list of colleges that might interest you before you send a single email or make a single phone call to a coach. There are 1,200+ NCAA colleges and several hundred NAIA and NJCAA colleges that are a potential fit for you. If your list of colleges just includes those you see on CBS or ESPN playing football on Saturday, you will probably fail at the recruiting process. There are colleges you have never heard of in places you have never heard of. Every one of them is a potential college for you to attend! You must dismiss funny names and strange places in order to succeed, because Big State U down the street from you is getting 40,000 applications and recruiting athletes from all over the world.

You need to spend time evaluating yourself as a person, as an athlete, and as a student, to decide who you are and what you want in and out of college. This will help you decide what colleges you might be able to or want to attend and what colleges you can potentially play at athletically. This is the hard stuff, and it’s the stuff that unsuccessful families DO NOT DO! College coaches spend countless hours in meetings with families telling them that their grades or athletic ability will not allow them to get into or play at that school. The reason they do this is because these families tried to eat the elephant in one bite. They didn’t do the research and evaluations they should have. They didn’t go step by step and decided to call or visit a coach at a school they didn’t fully research and match with their abilities. One of the things I hear most from the families that purchased The Making of a Student-Athlete is how attentive college coaches were to them throughout the recruiting process. That’s because they learned to do all the hard work ahead of time so when they contact college coaches, there is already a potential match in place academically and athletically.

Do not try to eat the elephant in one bite.

Tackle the recruiting process step by step. Spend some time online evaluating not only colleges in your state or region but colleges outside of your region. I can spend 20 seconds looking at a college roster and tell you how competitive or well-known a school is, what the coaches recruiting philosophy is and how good the team is without ever looking at their record.

Do not try to contact coaches with the goal of being recruited. Contact coaches with the goal of introducing yourself to them and expressing your interest in their program. You cannot get recruited off of one email, one online recruit form, or one phone call just like you can’t get marriage proposal by asking someone out on a first date. There is a process, that is why it’s called the “recruiting process.” It takes time and effort and doesn’t happen overnight. Start at the beginning and slowly work your way through the long list of steps you need to take in order to succeed.