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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. You might not be able to play at a high level D1 program (or even a highly skilled D2 or DS3 team), and you might not qualify for athletic scholarship money, but if you have the skills to play in college and apply yourself in the athletic recruiting process, there is a place for you to play! See: How do I determine what level I can play at?

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. See: How do I contact college coaches?

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. See: How do I determine what college level I can play at?

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. See: What are the odds for an athletic scholarship?

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.

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Being recruited vs. Recruiting: How to Increase your Ability to Choose What College You Attend

Can high school athletes control what college coaches recruit them?

I read an article recently about a recruiting seminar by a “renowned speaker.” He says: “You don’t choose the colleges. The colleges choose you.” I beg to differ!!!

While your non-athletic classmates are busy researching, applying to and “choosing schools”, high school athletes seem to think they are “chosen”, and they often wait for the process of recruiting to unfold around them and wait to see what coach calls them and what offers they get!

There are three kinds of student-athletes vying for college athletic roster spots, – athletes that get recruited – athletes that recruit – and athletes that do neither but expect to be recruited. While athletes that get recruited often have an easier time with the recruiting process, it’s the student-athletes that recruit a school who often are the most successful in the process and find a good balance of school and athletics. This is because the latter group chose colleges based on certain criteria, rather than having a college and a coach choose them. Many blue-chip athletes allow themselves to be chosen by a school solely based on athletic prowess and could care little about what else the school offers. One highly touted football recruit a few years ago when asked why he chose the school he picked over several others simply said, “The cafeteria had a soft serve ice cream machine!”

The recruiting process is about discovery, knowledge, desires, and making an informed decision that is the best decision for YOU, not right for the coach, not right for the school, and in some cases not even right for your parents. Best doesn’t mean the most scholarship money, the best team, the team on TV every Saturday, or the team featured in Sports Illustrated every week, or the strongest athletic program. Best we believe is the school that provides you the combination of these four ideas.

How do high school athletes choose what college is best for them?

1. The athletic program that allows you to participate at your desired level against the best competition you can compete with and against.
2. The academic programs that allow you to learn and succeed, and prepares you for gaining employment and a successful working career after college in a subject, field, or major you have an active interest in.
3. A social environment that allows you to go grow as an individual, experience things you may not otherwise get the chance to experience and make life lasting friendships.
4. A school that you can afford to pay for without incurring large student-loans that will hang around after you graduate.

Again, geographic location should be considered if you think you will be unhappy far away from home, if traveling back and forth may be a problem, or if your family will want to watch you play often. If any of these four attributes are out of balance, it can cause major problems for student-athletes.

Now, back to the question of whether the colleges choose you! There is some truth to this because college coaches will contact or come into contact with perhaps a few hundred high school athletes and then based on the coach’s needs, and the feedback they get, they reduce that list of potential recruits and eventually make offers. The coaches in a sense choose who they want. But the process works both ways and you have to take control of what you can control in your process.

What can high school athletes control in the athletic recruiting process?

You can control how hard you work in school. If you want straight A’s, that is achievable, it will just take a lot of hard work! What will straight A’s get you, you ask? Well, it will open application doors to colleges other recruits might not be able to gain acceptance to on their academic record and it will make you more attractive to admission boards and college coaches. While a college coach may start with a list of a few hundred recruits each year, I can guarantee you that list becomes pretty short when grades and test scores start arriving on the coach’s desk. Grades alone might wipe out half of their potential recruits.

What else can you control? Well, you can control how hard you work on the field or in the gym. Some high school athletes are just naturally good at sports; others have to work harder. The harder you work, the more you will improve. If you are weak in a particular area, work on your weaknesses!

What else can you control? How about how far you extend your recruiting reach. If you are simply playing high school ball for 2 months and not getting out on the road in different tournaments or camps against higher level competition, you are reducing your exposure. Very few college coaches have the time, resources or desires to recruit athletes at high school games in this day and age. Their season takes place when your season does and much of their recruiting efforts take place in the summer when they are free to recruit.

What else can you control? How about how many schools you research! We spoke earlier about how many high school athletes wait to be recruited, but it’s the families that kick the most tires that create more recruiting opportunities. If you live in New England, there are probably a 100 colleges within 200 miles of your house in ANY direction. There is no excuse for not getting out on the road and touring different colleges or spending more time online researching different colleges. If you live in a place where there are fewer schools, you are going to have to find a way to research more colleges.

The ultimate control you have is how you package this all together. College coaches want to recruit smart, talented, hardworking and dedicated athletes who express a desire to attend their college or university. It is as simple as that. They start with academics. If you cannot get in, they will not recruit you. Then they move onto athletic skill and they ask themselves if this recruit can play and succeed at their program. Then they move onto personal character, meaning is this recruit a good person? Then they move onto desire, meaning, does this recruit have a real interest in being a college athlete and attending my institution? And somewhere in that process they might ask themselves if this recruit can afford to attend their institution?

Ok, let’s tie all this together. If you are a successful academic student who is a good person and a successful athlete who works hard on the field and you research colleges that will be a good fit for your skills and you connect with coaches personally to express your desire to attend their institution, you can increase your ability to CHOOSE what school and program you attend. The best blue chip athletes in the country are choosing the schools they attend because their skills are so high and every coach wants them. You have that same ability, but you cannot apply to the same schools they are applying to or take the same approach! You have to find colleges where your “skills” might exceed what the college coach typically looks for in a recruit. When you package that with a strong academic record and the desire to succeed on the field, in the classroom and in life, you will have the ability to choose what college you attend and what athletic program you play for!

How Do I Contact College Coaches?

How do I contact college athletic coaches to try and get recruited?

What is the best way to contact college athletic coaches?

I recently got an email from a student asking how they should contact a coach. They asked via email or formal letter? The easy answer is as follows. Fill out the online recruit form found on most college websites which will capture your academic and contact information. Follow up with an email introducing yourself to the coach and alerting them that you recently filled out the online recruit form. Don’t bombard them with worthless stats that tell them virtually nothing about you as a person or as an athlete but describe yourself as a person, an athlete, a student and tell them why you are interested in their school and program. Then follow up with a phone call to the coach to see what the next step might be in possibly getting considered for recruitment. You CANNOT get recruited off of one online form, an email, or a phone call, so don’t even try! The point of contact is simply to introduce yourself to a coaching staff, to express your interest in their school and program, and to see how you could possibly be considered for recruitment.

When can a college coach contact me?

If it is not the appropriate time for the coach to call you back as NCAA Contact Rules dictate when they can, they may not be able to, but you can keep calling on your dime as often as you want! The bigger picture here is not HOW you contact the coach, but what research you have done prior to contacting coaches and what you have to offer. If you aren’t qualified academically to be accepted to a particular school or you aren’t gifted enough athletically to play at a particular school, then no form of contact will get you recruited at that school! You can rent a plane and fly over the coach’s field with a banner that says “RECRUIT ME” and it won’t make a bit of difference if you aren’t qualified. How you contact a coach is so far down on the list of important recruiting steps you need to take before you even consider contacting any coach!

Before you contact any coach via email, letter, fax, phone, smoke signals, etc., try and answer yes to the following 7 questions.

1 – Can I get accepted to this school based on my academic record?
2 – Do I possess the athletic skill to play for this program?
3 – Do I have the ability to display my skills to this coaching staff in some capacity?
4 – Am I interested in this program?
5 – Can I afford this school?
6 – Does this school offer academic programs that I am interested in?
7 – Will I be happy at this school (with and without) athletics?

Before any coach considers recruiting you or making you an offer, he or she is asking the exact same 7 questions.

If the answer to ANY of these questions is NO, then it’s possible a fit does not exist. One and two are easy. If you can’t get in based on your academic record, there is no recruiting process and you can send all the emails and formal letters you want to the coaching staff that will do absolutely nothing. If you are just not skilled enough to play at a certain level, then there is no recruiting process for that school. Don’t dwell on where you can’t play, find a place where you CAN play!

Now, I recognize that the answer to some of these might take more time to discover. You might need to be evaluated by the financial aid department for aid considerations. You might need to tour the school before you know if you truly like it or not. The coach may need more time to evaluate you. That’s all okay!

The point of all of this is that there is so much you need to do in researching a particular school and program before you ever have to worry about how you contact a coach and that is what you should be focusing on. Build a list of colleges that you think might be a good fit based on academic, athletic, financial, social, and geographical factors and then worry about how to contact coaches later!

See: What are the NCAA contact rules