What Do I Have Control of in the Athletic Recruiting Process?

How other high school athletes affect your college athletic recruiting process

How to stand out in the college athletic recruiting process

There is another you out there. A lot of them!

You’ve worked hard in your sport for several years. You’ve taken private lessons and attended camps. You’ve played on an elite club/AAU team that’s traveled your region or country exposing you to other good players where you have held your own. You’ve spent time in the gym lifting weights and running to get stronger and faster, maybe even with a personal trainer. You’ve worked hard in school and have the grades and SAT scores to garner acceptance to many different colleges. Your parents have sacrificed their time and money developing your athletic career in the hopes you get a shot to play at the next level. You have a bunch of trophies on your dresser and articles in your local paper.

You’ve done everything right so far. Now it’s time to try and get recruited. There is one big obstacle in your way. There is another you out there. There is another 6-foot-tall athlete that weighs 180 pounds and runs a 4.3 forty. There is another pitcher that throws 89 with a good curve. There is another goalie with a .98 goals against average. There is another golfer with a 3 handicap. There is another tennis player undefeated in match play in high school. There is another lineman who weighs 297 pounds. There is another 6’5” receiver who jumps out of the building. There is another swimmer who swims a sub 22 second 50 freestyle. There is another athlete that runs the mile in 4:30

That other you has also worked hard on the field and in the classroom. That other you also wants to play college athletics. That other you might want a scholarship or partial scholarship. That other you might even want to attend the same school(s) you want to attend.

This is what makes the college athletic recruiting process so challenging. There are thousands of other high school athletes vying for a place on a college roster. There may be high school athletes 3,000 miles away from you who are applying to schools 20 minutes from your house because those schools offer something they want! You think the college coach won’t find them.

So how do you differentiate yourself? How do you beat out that other YOU for a spot on a college roster?

The key is to focus on things within your control.

Are You Working as Hard as You Can on Your Grades and Test Scores?

Control how hard you work in the classroom. Admissions is no secret, the better your grades and test scores are, the more likely you will gain acceptance to more colleges. The first question college coaches will usually ask you is “so how are your grades and test scores?” If you can’t get in, your recruiting process is over. While there are recruits a coach might want to recruit, many of them simply will not be able to gain acceptance to many of the schools they might want to attend because of grades.

College Athletic Recruiting Process

Control your college athletic recruiting process

Are You Working as Hard as You Can on the Field?

Control how hard you work on the field or on the court or ice, pick a surface! While we aren’t all as tall, fast, strong, or big as we might want to be, we can improve our skill in a given sport through hard work, practice and dedication. We can get a little better, a little faster and quicker, a little stronger, and a little smarter.

Are You Targeting the Right Colleges?

Control what colleges you choose to pursue recruiting opportunities at. The most successful families are those that have extremely strong academic records and strong athletic skills and combine those skills by targeting the right colleges. What are the right colleges? They are colleges where your academic record and athletic skills match or exceed what the college coach at that school looks for in a recruit. There are a 1,000+ colleges to play athletics at. If you target well-known programs that have thousands of applicants and hundreds of recruits trying to get in and play there, you probably won’t stand out. No amount of recruiting effort will get you recruited at colleges where you cannot gain acceptance or do not possess the skills to play at athletically. You can send all the highlight tapes and emails you want, but it won’t matter. If you don’t have good grades and test scores, you aren’t getting into Harvard. If you aren’t one of the elite basketball players in the country, you aren’t getting recruited by Kentucky!

Are You Working Hard to be at Different Games, Tournaments and Events?

Control how you conduct your recruiting efforts. College coaches need to see you play and they usually need to see you play in person in some capacity in a meaningful game. Playing high school games is usually not enough to get it done. You need to take your academic record, and your athletic skill and then find events where you can display your skills to the colleges that you choose to target and those that are a good fit for your abilities! The other you that lives 3,000 miles away might have the qualifications to play at a college down the street from you, but if they cannot find a way to play in front of that coach in some capacity, the coach is probably going to go with a recruit they have seen play in meaningful competition. If you want to play 3,000 miles from home, you too will need to find a way to display your skills to those coaches.

Are You Being Proactive?

But to really separate yourself, control how you engage college coaches. When all things are equal (no two recruits are ever really equal), meaning a coach is evaluating many players of similar skill level and academic qualifications, what often wins out is a player’s ability to articulate their maturity and desire to play for a given coach and program. Coaches love to recruit talented athletes, but they really want to recruit athletes that want to be a part of THEIR program and athletes that can play at THEIR program and students who can get into THEIR school. College coaches get tons of emails and online recruit forms from high school athletes, and they try to pick through it as best they can. They get lots of emails from recruiting services (that are quickly deleted.) You want to make some headway in the recruiting process, do all the steps above, identify 20 schools you potentially match up with and pick up the phone and call some college coaches to express your interest in their school and program. Ask them what their needs are and how you can go about being evaluated and considered for recruitment!

Some people will tell you that in the recruiting process, you don’t get to choose who recruits you, only the college coaches choose. You are as much a part of the process as the college coach is. If you are smarter and more talented than other recruits and reach out to the right programs and the right college coaches, you will find that you have multiple offers and multiple college coaches competing for your services. You will find that you have the ability to CHOOSE! You can out-recruit the other you!


How Do I Create a Successful Athletic Recruiting Video?

How do I create and market an athletic recruiting video to college coaches?

What do I include in an athletic recruiting video for college coaches?

Recruiting video plays an important role for both families and college coaches today. Video allows college coaches to get an insight into your skills when you are not afforded the opportunity to play in front of a college coach in person. While nothing replaces performing in front of a college coach, a good video coupled with strong recommendations from qualified coaches that are familiar with your skills and ability may be a factor as to whether or not a college coach chooses to recruit you or chooses to pursue you further. In some sports (football for example) most initial recruiting activities on the part of the college coaches are done first by video. In order to get the most out of your video, it’s important to follow several rules when providing coaches video.

What do college coaches want to see on recruiting videos?

1 – Keep the video short. College coaches do not have time to watch a 2-hour game tape. Most coaches want video between 4 and 8 minutes long and will often request full game tape after they have sampled your highlights first. You have to remember they are often receiving several hundred videos a year and your video has to be short and to the point. If you wish to add full game footage, include it at the back end of the tape and let the coach know that it is available if he/she would like to watch additional footage.

2 – Don’t send unsolicited video. While most college coaches will make every effort to watch all videos that are sent to them, they are often so overwhelmed with video that they cannot get to them all. Contacting a coach via phone, email, or online recruiting forms prior to sending a video will go a long way to getting your video seen!

Mike Glavine, assistant baseball coach at Northeastern University says video plays a role in recruiting but cautions recruits about its use. “Video has a place here at Northeastern in recruiting but it does not play a major role in the process. We try to watch every DVD that is mailed to us and we also watch videos attached to the emails we receive. For us, the video can be a starter in the recruiting process but ultimately we are going to try and see recruits play in person. As a staff we will probably see thousands of kids play each summer. We always prefer to trust what we see in person more than a video.”

What should I include in my athletic recruiting video?

3 – Make sure the video is clearly labeled with your name, address, phone number, school name, graduation year, jersey number, jersey color, email address and possibly your SAT/ACT scores, and GPA. You would be amazed that recruits are still sending video to coaches and the coach has no idea what player they are supposed to watch and there is often no contact info on the tape. Most companies that create video will provide your contact info on the tapes or disks, but if you need to provide additional information an easy way is to print labels right from your computer.
“If we can’t readily get out to see a player, film is great. Even if I see a kid play in the summer, I want tape of the regular season as the circumstances often change – type of coaching, positions played, etc. I don’t want to see highlights or drills. Full game tape – maybe two unique halves. I am always surprised at how many people send a tape and don’t ID the player with uniform #, color, etc. I also look for mistakes and how the player reacts. I’m more interested in defense not offense – play off the ball – what do they do after a pass – stand or cut and screen, things like that are important to see.” Karel Jelinik (pronounced Carl), former men’s basketball coach at Washington & Jefferson College.

How do I create a college athletic recruiting video

How do I create a college athletic recruiting video

What colleges should I send my athletic recruiting video to?

4 – Perhaps the most important aspect of sending out video is identifying schools that you are interested in and will be an academic and athletic match for. You can have the best recruiting video in the world but if your grades or ability will not allow you to gain acceptance and/or play for certain programs, your video for that particular coach will be wasted. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the recruiting process and the one that causes parents and student-athletes the most angst. It is extremely important to identify programs where you think you can compete at and you have to build a relationship with the college coach in order to determine whether it’s an opportunity worth pursuing. As always, we recommend that each family purchase a copy of The Making of a Student-Athlete so they can better learn about how recruiting works and what their role and responsibility is in the recruiting process.

“I like to see a straight on golf swing or directly behind the golfer from a reasonable distance, not too far, not too close, and you have to use a tripod and turn the microphone off! A video is better than nothing but you have to do it right. I get videos with kids missing eight out of ten putts five feet from the hole, which can be funny at times. Either show the stroke or show yourself making putts!” Steve Conley, men’s golf coach Methodist College (NC).

5 – Be realistic. While many coaches have recruited players off of video and recommendations, other coaches still need to see you play in person. Video is often the first step into getting a college coaches attention and getting them interested in making an effort to see you play in person. It doesn’t happen for every athlete and every coach and there will be instances where a coach will not pursue you further even when you have provided them a compelling video. Remember, the coach is in contact with hundreds of recruits and if they do not feel you are a match or do not feel they have the ability to see you play in person, your recruiting process for that school may come to an end.

6 – Think like a college coach. I review videos for parents sometimes. It’s the same video over and over where their son or daughter gets the game winning hit, the game winning goal, or makes the game winning save and every shot is a goal and every pass is a completion. While you see the game winning hit, college coaches see a batter who strides too far forward and gets a hit with an off-balance swing. The college coach then asks, “is that swing going to work at the college level where every pitcher is better than what you are facing right now?” College coaches don’t really care about results on video, they care about technique, or lack of technique. They are more concerned with how you do what you do. Focus on technique in your video by trying to display different athletic traits that will translate to the next level.

What do I do after I have sent out my athletic recruiting video to college coaches?

7 – Follow up! Sending a video to a coach and then expecting a phone call or to be recruited might not happen. You need to follow up with the coach preferably on the phone and ask if he received the video, watched the video and what the next step might be in the recruiting process for both you and him. Your ability to communicate with college coaches will go a long way in terms of you getting recruited. Coaches want to recruit confident assertive high school athletes who can communicate their desires and abilities with them and show an interest in their college program. When two similar recruits are on a coaches radar, they will often choose the recruit who was more assertive in the process and showed more maturity.

Your Coaches Role in the College Athletic Recruiting Process

How your high school or summer athletic coach can assist your athletic recruiting process

Should my high school coach handle my athletic recruiting process?

Recently I read a recruiting article that says the greatest catalyst in getting your son or daughter recruited is their coach! But the author didn’t say WHAT COACH. I believe the greatest catalyst in getting your son or daughter recruited is you and your son or daughter, but let’s stick with the coach for now…

Your high school coach and/or summer coach is one tool in the recruiting process. How that tool functions in your recruiting efforts depends on many factors. A common myth in recruiting is that high school coaches should be responsible for getting you recruited to play college ball. For 12 years I have heard the common line, “our coach doesn’t help players get recruited!”

Don’t rely on any of your coaches to handle your athletic recruiting process

One of the challenges of simply relying on your high school coach is that many high school coaches have varying degrees of coaching knowledge and knowledge of recruiting. My high school baseball coach was a hockey player in college and somehow got a baseball coaching job. He had no network of college coaches and wasn’t a particularly good teacher of the game of baseball. My only recruiting interaction with him was when he said “you better start hitting a lot!” when I mentioned a particular college I was interested in. My high school golf coach had a golf handicap of infinity. His job was to drive the bus. When it came time for recruiting, he wrote me a glowing recommendation that discussed my golf success, work ethic, and character! But he really didn’t have any knowledge of how my skills would translate to different colleges nor did he know the skills of different college golf teams. But I understood all that, which in itself is important!

High school coaches are also often teachers who have papers and tests to grade when they go home and lesson plans to, well, plan! They are often also mothers and fathers who have families to take care of, so it is hard for them to get involved in the recruiting process as much as parents think they should. College coaches will most often turn to high school football coaches for advice as football is a very technical sport to coach and those coaches usually have a higher degree of skill. Since there really isn’t a summer AAU football circuit, it’s usually the only coach to turn to. This is not an example of every high school coach. Some have been coaching for (pick a number) years and have more knowledge of the game they coach as well as knowledge of how to help you get recruited. But it’s up to you to determine if that is the case.

What role will your coach play in the athletic recruiting process

What role will your coach play in the athletic recruiting process

Are college athletic coaches getting input from Club or AAU coaches?

The recruiting trend in the last several years has been to simply bypass the high school coach and to seek out travel and AAU coaches for advice on players. College coaches build relationships with high school and summer coaches as their career progresses. They talk to coaches and recruit players, and if those players work out, they will recruit more players from a particular school.
If a high school coach tells a college coach that a player he/she has is the best thing since sliced bread and that player is recruited and doesn’t work out, that high school coach has lost their credibility for future recruits. A random high school coach calling a college coach isn’t much different than a random player calling.

We met one player years ago who got an apology from his high school coach 10 years after that player graduated college. The high school coach told the player that bigger schools had inquired about this player, but the coach was reluctant to recommend him because he didn’t want the player to fail and ruin his reputation as a talent evaluator and hurt future recruits. The player went on to play 1AA football, but possibly could have played 1A football had his coach been more honest!

My summer coach was in his college baseball hall of fame, was drafted to play baseball professionally, had coached youth ball for 15 years, and had a network of college coaches he had developed relationships with over the years. When he called a college coach, they listened because he had the resume to back up what he was saying and he had the ability to evaluate where his players might fit into different colleges. The college coaches didn’t have to worry about him being right, because he was right, he was honest and they trusted his opinion! This scenario doesn’t exist for every coach so you really need to evaluate the evaluator when deciding to lean on your coach for recruiting success. At the least, your high school coach should speak to your character and work ethic, but it may be more difficult for them to evaluate your talents as it applies to different colleges because they may have little or no knowledge of different colleges. The recruiting process is your responsibility and what colleges you pursue and attend is your decision. You need to do the research and contact and you can seek guidance from your coach if they can provide guidance. But you shouldn’t expect or request that they research 50 schools for you and make your recruiting calls. it is quite possible you have a coach that can greatly assist in your recruiting efforts, but determining what role he/she will play and how helpful they can be is one of the steps of the recruiting process.

What are the Odds for an Athletic Scholarship?

How does the number of high school athlete affect my chances of receiving an athletic scholarship?

How does the number of high school athlete affect my ability to get recruited?

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

Some recruiting services pitch exposure as the ultimate recruiting tool and the number one reason that you won’t be recruited, using the theory that if college coaches do not know you, they cannot recruit you.

While exposure is important, it’s exposure at the right level coupled with what a coach needs for their team and what a coach looks for in a player. No amount of exposure will help you get recruited by any college coach in any sport if you lack the size or skill to play for that particular coach and/or team.

According to the National Federation of High Schools, the greatest participation by high school athletes is in high school football, with 1,023,142 boys participating at the high school level? What does this mean for your recruiting efforts? Well, nothing really!

A recent recruiting services pitch we came across was as follows…. “There are 6.9 million high school athletes, how will you stand out?” – “There are 254,000 seniors who play high school football. There are only 5,042 athletic scholarships awarded at the D1 level. Your odds are 1-50 that you get a scholarship.”

Let’s look at these figures a little more closely…

The “6.9 million high school athletes” participation figure has nothing to do with YOUR recruiting process mainly because over 6 million of those kids are underclassmen and don’t play your sport and quite frankly, it’s a meaningless number. If you want to know how meaningless it is, consider this – Nationally, out of 100 9th graders, 68 will graduate from high school, 40 will enter college directly, 27 are still enrolled in college in their second year, and 18 will graduate from college. – US Dept. of Education – So right away that 6.9 million number has been shrunk greatly because not all of those kids will even make it out of high school, which will probably make it difficult for them to be college athletes.

Now let’s look at the second statement in more detail about high school football participation.

There are several problems with looking at the football participation number. First off, not every high school athlete who plays football in high school is interested in playing in college, just as not every person who goes to high school goes to college. Some students play sports in high school just to play sports and have no desire to continue after high school. My high school baseball team senior year had 6 seniors. Only myself and one other player attempted (and succeeded) to continue our baseball career at the college level. So the number of players I was competing against on my team dropped 66 percent because 4 of them didn’t try to get recruited.

I despise graphic the NCAA puts out 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 have 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!

What are the odds of receiving an athletic scholarship

What are the odds of receiving an athletic scholarship

Now let’s look at the second figure about 5,042 athletic scholarships each year at the D1 level for football.

D1 football team are required to offer 85 athletic scholarships (and no more per team) and there are roughly 130 football teams at the 1A level and you can divide 85 by 4 because each coach has about 21.25 scholarships per year. In reality, Division 1 football coaches can sign 28 recruits under the NLI program but can only have 25 players receive a scholarship in the new year, but for use of this example I will stick with 21.25 because they cannot have more than 85 players on the team under full scholarship.

At the D1 level, there are roughly 2,762 athletic football scholarships available each year. (21.25 scholarships x 130 schools) give or take a few scholarships as no coach can recruit .25 players.

There are about 116 1-AA football teams. These teams are allowed to offer 63 athletic scholarships per team. 63 athletic scholarships divided by 4 years equals about 16 scholarships a year. 16 scholarships a year times 116 teams equals 1,856 athletic scholarships available per year. But wait, each football team in the Ivy League competes at the 1AA level, but they do not offer athletic scholarships. Now we have to deduct about 150 scholarships to maybe 1,706 at the 1AA level. It’s also unlikely that every 1AA team offers 63 scholarships but for the sake of argument, we will say they do.

Now, let’s say there are roughly 4,468 football scholarships (2,762+1,706) awarded at the Division 1 level and Division 1AA level each year, and that’s assuming every 1AA team offers the maximum of 63 athletic scholarships (highly unlikely).

Now to the important stuff!

Not every high school football player is going to play D1, wants to play D1, or can play D1. How can someone say that you are competing for a scholarship at the D1 level against a 150 pound backup receiver at pick a name high school who would be lucky to play at a low level D3 program if anywhere?

Let’s say 50% of all high school (senior) football players want to play in college (which I think is a very generous estimate), the total number drops to 127,000 senior football players. Now there are 130 1A teams, 116 1AA teams, 151 D2 teams and 229 D3 teams. That’s 626 teams. If each team had 50 players, there are enough spots for 30,750 high school football players to play in college. Some college programs carry over 100 players even 120 and sometimes might only have 40, it all depends on the program, but 50 per team I think is a fairly generous estimate on my part.

Let’s now say that out of those 127,000 kids who want to play football in college, only 20% have the skill, the size, the speed, and desire to play at the highest D1 level. Now the number is 25,400 players. A far cry from the 1-50 odds of getting a D1 scholarship and more like 1 in 6. (25,000+ players for roughly 4,000+ spots). This doesn’t factor in the fact that many of these players might be basketball or baseball players who have no interest of playing football in college, but are still playing football in high school and get counted in the pool of 1 million plus players. And this will go for many sports, as there is so much overlap at the high school level. If a football player is really a baseball player trying to get recruited for baseball only, you aren’t competing against that player for a college football roster spot, because they aren’t interested in football at the college level. But they are getting counted twice in the above graphic which throws the numbers off even more.

It has nothing to do with numbers of high school players and all to do with how many players want to continue at the D1 level and have the skills to continue at the D1 level.

If you don’t have the size, speed and skill to play at the D1 level, you have NO odds (It would be like trying to win the lottery without actually purchasing a ticket!), but if you do have the size, speed, skill and desire to play D1 football, the odds of you receiving an athletic scholarship are better than people might lead you to believe. In reality, you are not competing against 254,000 other high school football players, you are competing against a few thousand kids who possess the size, skill and speed to play at that level. Again, while exposure is important, it’s exposure at the right level that will help you get recruited. No amount of exposure will make up for a lack of size, speed and skill, especially at the D1 football level (or any level for that matter).

These same arguments apply to any sport, regardless of exposure. In order to receive an athletic scholarship, three things have to happen. One, you have to find a program that has available scholarships to offer. Two – you have to find a program that has a pressing need that the coach is trying to fill, meaning if you are a catcher or a goalie and the coach has 3 catchers or 3 goalies already, they might not be recruiting for your position despite your success or skills. And three, you have to be extremely talented and you have to contact the coach and find a way to display your skills to that coach. While there are hundreds of thousands of high school athletes, there are not hundreds of thousands of high school athletes that have the skills to compete at the high D1 level or the skills to be awarded an athletic scholarship.

How Do I Determine What College Level I Can Play At?

What is the right college division for me to get recruited at?

How do I determine what level of college athletics I can play at?

“The No. 5-ranked Ohio Northern football team began preseason practice for the 2005 season on Sunday beneath overcast skies. One hundred and eighty six players, including 107 freshman, were expected to report to camp on Aug. 13” – Quote from Ohio Northern Website, September 2005.

 That is from page 133 of The Making of a Student-Athlete. Let it serve as a reminder that Division 3 college athletic programs can be VERY competitive!

I hear it all the time from parents; “I know my son isn’t a D1 player.” “We are looking at D3 schools.” “I know we can’t get a scholarship, but my daughter would like to play at a D3 school.” “I know we can’t play D1 so we are looking at D2 and D3 schools!”

This is a common problem in the athletic recruiting process. Without some perspective on individual colleges parents and high school athletes start to make assumptions. Their assumption is that all D1 colleges are better than all D2 colleges and all D2 colleges are better than all D3 colleges. That often guides them on the recruiting process to look at or eliminate schools solely by what division they are.

One of the challenges in the college athletic recruiting process is determining your skill level and how that applies to not only different divisions, but different colleges. Many parents and high school athletes assume that if they cannot play D1, they can play D2, and if they cannot play D2, they can play D3 and then they target schools accordingly. Often, this causes them to miss out on opportunities to be recruited by other schools, or reverse, they are still targeting the wrong colleges and no recruiting opportunity is created. There are over 330 D1 colleges alone and they all have vastly different athletic programs.

After D1 football and D1 basketball, I would ask you to please not evaluate any college programs simply by division. There are so many other factors that contribute to a team’s talent level, and unless you evaluate a variety factors, you will find a lot of parity among schools that compete at different divisions and you will find many differences between individual sports at a given school (meaning one school could have a very talented baseball team, but their swimming team might not be so good).

Without factoring in a school’s individual success, strength of their league, geographic location, and the climate they play in, there is no way you can choose a school (or any school for that matter) simply by what division they are. The Making of a Student-Athlete discusses in great detail how to research and evaluate individual programs as they relate to you and your ability, but let’s look at 4 factors in more detail. For more, see How Do I Get Recruited to Play College Sports

How does individual success of different college programs affect my recruiting process?

Individual Success – Some programs, regardless of division have built up a reputation and have a track record for being successful and because of this, these teams continue to attract talented recruits who individually want to compete at a high level. In Fayettville, NC, a small D3 University called Methodist University exists with 2,500 students. Methodist University (formerly called Methodist College) has won 12 Division 3 golf championships since 1990, including 6 in a row at one point and most recently in 2018. The secret to their success is two-fold. One, head coach Steve Conley recruits some of the best golfers in the country. Their 2019 roster boasts players from 13 different States. Two, Methodist University is one of a select few colleges that offers a college degree in professional golf management (PGM program) There are 19 colleges in the entire country that offer this program. This unique major as well as the success of the team, attracts talented high school golfers throughout the country to Methodist. If you are unaware of the success of this D3 University, and you have determined your talent is of the D3 variety for recruiting purposes, you may think you can play here because the school is a “Division 3” school. The fact is that Methodist is recruiting some of the top high school golfers from around the country that want to come to this school to for the Professional Golf Management program and are not concerned with playing D1 golf because this program isn’t offered at other colleges.

But if you want to talk success, then the conversation starts and ends with the Kenyon College (D3) swimming program. Since 1980, The Kenyon College men’s swimming team has won 34 NCAA swimming championship. The women are not far behind with 23 NCAA championship. The top 50 freestyle swimmer on Kenyon in 2016 has a 50 times that is better than 10 swimmers on the Stanford University roster, the number 3 Division 1 team in the country at the time. 5 Kenyon men’s swimmers had 50 times better than 6 Stanford swimmers.

Kenyon College has some extremely talented swimmers on their team, who, had they chosen to, could have swam at the D1 level. Why did they choose to go to a D3 school? Well, I have no idea, personal preference maybe? The question is not why are they there, but how does their presence affect your recruiting process? And the answer is, unless you are extremely talented, there are many D3 programs that you will not be able to play at and some D3 teams have D1 caliber players.

Evaluate your athletic skill for the college recruiting process

Evaluate your athletic skill for the college recruiting process

How does the strength of different college leagues affect my athletic recruiting process?

Strength of league – Most leagues have teams consisting of schools that play at a similar level. This isn’t an accident. While there always seems to be one dominant team in a league, by and large the level of competition should be roughly the same across the league. This is usually because the schools share several common traits that attract roughly the same type of athletes to the school. At Fairfield, we played in the MAAC which consists of Fairfield, Iona, Canisius, Manhattan, Marist, Monmouth, Niagara, Quinnipiac, Rider, Saint Peters and Siena . Now, what do these schools have in common? They are all located in the Northeast, in relative proximity to each other, most are Catholic and some are Jesuit, and they are all roughly the same size in terms of the number of students that attend the school. While individual teams at certain schools are sometimes more successful, by and large, if you have the skills to play athletics at one of these schools, you probably have the ability to play at many of these schools. If that weren’t the case, then the league would not be very fair. Now, there are always exceptions.

Let’s look at a few talented teams in the ACC. For basketball the conversation starts and ends with Duke and North Carolina which have teams that are routinely ranked near the top in the country. Baseball, well, last time I checked Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Florida State fielded some pretty good baseball teams, ditto for Golf as some of these schools attract the top college golfers in the country if not the world. Soccer, well North Carolina has probably the most famous women’s soccer program in the country. So what does all of this mean? Nothing if you are the University of Miami and are moving to the ACC, but for a team like Boston College, it meant a little reality check for some athletic teams. Boston College just went winless in in the ACC for men’s basketball and football in 2015-2016. Many of these ACC schools attract a different type of athlete, due to their past success and location (i.e. warm weather) If you are a top golfer or baseball player do you want to go to Boston College where your season is played in March and April and it is usually struggling to break 40 degrees out and it’s cold and wet? Or do you want to go to Clemson where it is sunny and 70 in the spring. Having tried out for a college team in Orlando and played in snow flurries in games in Connecticut, do I need to point out which climate is more suitable for baseball?

How does the location of different colleges affect my athletic recruiting process?

Geographic location – Some states simply have more participation in one sport over another, which contributes to the success of individual teams within that state and the state of Ohio is an excellent example for football. Mount Union College, a small D3 school in Ohio in the fall of 2003 had victories of 58-0 and 66-0, had won 46 straight games and 100 of its last 101 games at one point. In 2015 they were champs again. That my friends is a D3 powerhouse, and they have players that could compete at the D1 and D2 level, but chose not to. Ohio is a hotbed for high school football and there is another strong D3 team called Ohio Northern. Ohio Northern has about 100 players listed on its roster and only 19 are from outside of Ohio. This is a good example of a coach not having to do a lot of outside recruiting because there is so much talent in their own state. If you wanted to play football for Ohio Northern or Mount Union and lived in say, New Hampshire, you’d better have some compelling information and skills for the coach to recruit you. The Ohio State men’s hockey team (a D1 program) on the other hand shows us another perspective. In 2003 the hockey roster listed ZERO players from Ohio, and Ohio is obviously not known for their youth hockey programs. In 2016 they had 3 players from Ohio. It’s no secret either that Florida is filled with many talented high school baseball players, and the majority of the baseball programs in Florida (regardless of division) are very competitive. The next section will illustrate this point.

How does climate affect my athletic recruiting process?

Climate – Is it any surprise that baseball teams in Florida compete at a high level? Not only is baseball the most popular youth sport in Florida, but the players get to play and practice 365 days out of the year if they want to. So not only are there a high number of baseball players in the State, but talented baseball players. Due to Florida’s size, the number of talented baseball teams, and Florida’s tuition reciprocity program at state schools for academic achievers, there is little incentive for local players to leave the State to play. Sure, we have all heard of the success of the Miami Hurricanes baseball program, but smaller schools like Rollins College (D2), Florida Southern (2), or Nova Southeastern (D3), attract extremely talented players as well; while many of these teams are “D2” or “D3”, realistically, you have to be a top D1 caliber player to attend these schools. The lure of playing baseball in Florida for many recruits from other states is a powerful one. Unfortunately, many players coming from colder climates do not understand the talent needed to play college baseball in Florida. Other states have similar patterns. In the New England area, hockey is king and the majority of schools that have competitive hockey programs can put their rosters together with local players from the 100 plus private schools that attract top hockey players from around the country. Ditto for Minnesota and hockey, the majority of schools that compete in hockey in Minnesota have no problem finding local players or players just over the border in Canada. The 2016 Golden Gophers hockey roster has 23 players from Minnesota. California is another state with nice weather and a high participation in athletics. California also has a huge state school system and many coaches at all levels do not have to recruit far from their state, and since their scholarship dollars stretch further with in-state players, there is little incentive to leave the state to recruit if they can find the talent locally. For more information on this see our post on How Weather and Climate can affect your athletic recruiting process.

Obviously there are many factors to evaluate when trying to select individual colleges that might be a good fit for you. This is why simply choosing schools by division does not work. You need to look deeper at individual colleges and teams to see how successful they are and to see what types of players they are recruiting and where those players are from. I can spend 30 seconds looking at a college roster and tell how competitive the program is and how they conduct their recruiting process. It is also one of the reasons why sending mass marketing emails or letters to college coaches does not work either. If you are having trouble trying to figure out the individual talents of a particular team, ask the coach and they may be able to explain the level they play at in more detail.

How do Summer Athletic Camps Help my Athletic Recruiting Process

Will a summer athletic camp help high school athletes get recruited?

How do college coaches use summer athletic camps for recruitment?

Many families inquire as to the effectiveness of attending college athletic camps for the purposes of getting recruited. Some people will have you believe that college camps are a waste of money if you are trying to get recruited and others believe they are the best thing since sliced bread. The truth lies somewhere in between.

Most college camps are run for a few purposes: (1) to provide the coach, staff, and program with some additional income and (2) to provide a venue to see several hundred players who may be interested in attending your school and playing for your program. There are other coaches that simply love coaching and run camps as a benefit to local athletes and the community because they enjoy passing on their knowledge to younger students but let’s stick with the first two.

A summer camp for a college coach is an easy way to see several hundred players in one place over the course of a week. Not just to see them play but to meet them and learn about them as a person. The summer for a college coach is the time of the year when they are free to really recruit at camps, tournaments, summer games, and showcases and they take full advantage of the summer in any way they can. During their season, they are not really afforded the opportunity to attend your high school games because they are playing their games at the same time.

With that being said, it’s extremely important to be realistic about certain camps. Many kids sign up for camps at schools they have no realistic shot of playing at and they then wonder why they weren’t recruited after the camp. This sometimes has a residual affect as they tell future families not to waste their money attending camps for recruiting purposes because “you won’t get recruited!”

How do I choose what college summer camp to attend?

The first step is to identify this school as a school you “might” like to attend. If you honestly don’t have any interest in a school, then going to that camp for the purposes of trying to get recruited doesn’t make sense. If you want to go for skill-building purposes, then that is up to you.

The second step you need to take is to identify whether your skills would allow you to play for this particular program in the near future. If you are a 170-pound linebacker, attending camps at Notre Dame, Michigan, and Ohio State won’t get you recruited by those programs to play linebacker. This is a fact of life that some people don’t want to accept and they keep attending camps at colleges they won’t be able to play for. There are 1,100 NCAA schools and your ability to find a program where your skills match up will in the end be the most important recruiting task you can perform.

The third important step is communicating with the college coach. Many people simply sign up for camp, run past the coach for a few days and then expect a phone call a few weeks later from the coach because they scored a bunch goals at camp. Some college camps may have 100 players or multiple sessions so if the coach doesn’t know who you are or that you are interested in their program, they simply may not notice you the way you want to be noticed.

Summer Camps and the Athletic Recruiting Process

Summer Camps and the Athletic Recruiting Process

If you call the coach before the camp and begin to build a relationship with them and communicate that their school is a place of interest for you, you will have a far better chance of being noticed by that coach and making the camp circuit work. But you have to do some research on the school and program first and you have to be realistic about your athletic skill. It doesn’t matter if you attend 1 camp or 100 camps, if you cannot realistically play for that school, the camp circuit might not work for you. If you find schools and programs that better fit your skills and desires, and you communicate with the coach prior to the camp, you will have a far better chance of getting recruited via a summer camp at a college.

At the end of the day you have to realize that the coach may only be recruiting 5 or 10 players a year and may already have recruits in their pipeline or committed, so the odds of you simply being discovered at a camp are not always in your favor. There is a process that needs to take place before you attend camp. We also know that virtually every college coach we have spoken to places a great deal of emphasis on their college camp each year and sees it as a valuable tool in allowing them to see athletes and allowing athletes to see them and we have met many players who have all benefited from attending college camps.

There is also a hidden benefit to some camps. Many college camps have other college coaches working at the camp. A rule of thumb is that two colleges that compete for the same type of recruits will not work each other’s camp, but many D1 camps have D2 and D3 coaches working and vice versa. This allows you the opportunity to be seen by other coaches from other schools where you might be a better fit at and we have met several players who were discovered by coaches working at an entirely different camp.

A college camp is one step in the recruiting process and requires some research and communication with coaches on your part prior to the attending a camp. You may find you are getting many camp flyers in the mail or personal requests from college coaches you are speaking to. It doesn’t mean they are recruiting you, but it’s an opportunity to possibly get recruited.

View it as an opportunity to expand your skills, meet some new players, get a sense of your ability, and as a way to be seen by college coaches.

5 Tips for Parents to Succeed in the College Athletic Recruiting Process

Five tips to help parents and high school athletes succeed in the college athletic recruiting process

1 – Understand who is responsible. Many families assume that their high school coach is responsible for their recruiting process. High school coaches are great people; they work really hard and usually don’t earn much money. Often, they are teachers who have papers and tests to grade or work other jobs to make a living, and most of them have families to take care of as well. The recruiting process is ultimately your responsibility. You are responsible for researching and evaluating schools, contacting college coaches, visiting schools and making decisions along the way. Your high school coach can help you with the process by determining where your skills might fit in with different college levels and programs, writing recommendations, and even placing phone calls on your behalf to college coaches after you have initiated contact. Don’t be the parent that senior year says, “I thought our coach would take care of the recruiting process for us.”

2 – Be proactive in the college athletic recruiting process. Now that you know the process is your responsibility, it’s important to be proactive and research as many schools as possible. The recruiting and college selection process is not something that should sneak up on you senior year. Success in recruiting is about matching up your son or daughter’s academic talents, athletic talents, and desires with a given college program. The families that come the closest to finding an athletic, academic, and social match are the ones who usually have the best success in the recruiting process. They have already done much of the work for the college coach, and the coach has confidence in recruiting a smart and talented athlete who wants to attend their school. There are over 1,100 NCAA colleges at the D1, D2, and D3 level, and 500+ Junior College and NAIA schools, most of which you have never heard of.

How to succeed in the college athletic Recruiting Process

Stay on track in the college athletic recruiting process

3 – Don’t follow the herd in the college athletic recruiting process. Many students put themselves in a position to fail by simply following the herd and applying to well-known popular schools. The problem is that everyone is applying to these schools and competition for admission is extremely difficult. Harvard annually receives over 30,000 applications and admits roughly 10% of applicants each year. Despite your academic record, Harvard is going to turn down over 28,000 students each year, some of them being incredibly smart and gifted students. Juniata, a small D3 school in Pennsylvania received just over 1,500 applications last year and accepted about 1,100 students or roughly 75%. Few have heard of Juniata because they are not Harvard and you won’t find their basketball team on TV in March Madness or their football team in a bowl game. Juniata recently appeared in the Unofficial Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges, published by Kaplan Publishing and their girls volleyball team won the 2004 D3 national championship. If your list of colleges includes only those well-known schools everyone has heard of, you will find competition for athletic spots and acceptance extremely difficult.

4 – Be realistic in the college athletic recruiting process. One of the best quotes I ever saw was the following, “There are roughly 20,000 high schools in the country and thus 20,000 leading scorers on every team at every high school, but it doesn’t mean those 20,000 leading scorers are all talented enough to play college athletics.” – The love, time, money, and passion you have poured into your son or daughters athletic career can often cloud your judgment of their potential for a college scholarship. Most parents’ dream of athletic scholarships and all the money they will save and are not realistic about the chances of receiving athletic scholarship money. While your talents may garner some athletic scholarship money, after D1 football and basketball, there is very little scholarship money to go around. Most coaches, even at the D1 level, have a limited amount of money for their team that they divide up amongst 10-20 players (even more for some sports). There is far more money in the form of grants, Merit aid, outside scholarships, institutional aid, and federal financial aid, than there is athletic scholarship money. You need to explore your options at all programs at all levels, and not focus your search solely on an athletic scholarship. You also need to seek out people that can give you a realistic evaluation of your son or daughters ability and how it applies to different levels. Ultimately, only a college coach can determine whether or not you can play for them.

5 – Be Educated about the college athletic recruiting process. There are a lot of confusing topics and terms that you will come across in the recruiting process; official visits, early decision, EFC, red shirts, scholarship blending, head-count sports, NLI, Clearinghouse, Dead period, and so on. Your job is to learn the basics, understand your role in the recruiting process, understand how coaches recruit and what they look for, and understand what admission departments and schools look for. It’s not about rules; it’s about understanding and working with the process. That’s why we developed The Making of a Student-Athlete, the most complete college recruiting guide on the market today! We took the secrets out of the recruiting process and provide you everything you need to know to succeed!

How Important Is Exposure in the Athletic Recruiting Process

What is the most important factor in the college athletic recruiting process?

Can I increase my exposure in the college athletic recruiting process?

If I asked you who Phillip Phillips, Carrie Underwood, or Kelly Clarkson are, that might be an easy answer for you. They were all American Idol winners and immensely talented singers who have gone on to successful music careers since the show. But can you tell me who Shannon Magrane, Paul Jolley, or Andrew Garcia are? They finished in the top 10 of American Idol in the last several years out of a pool of millions of contestants. While some contestants are still in the music business in some capacity, you probably won’t find them performing at any large concert venues or award shows.

Each week I seem to come across the latest and greatest in recruiting services and apps and widgets to help high school athletes connect with college coaches. Most of them are based on some form of social media, web, or email app. The underlying theme: EXPOSURE

Is exposure the most important factor in the athletic recruiting process?

It is true; you cannot get recruited unless a college coach knows your name or unless you are exposed to them somehow. But a college coach knowing your name is hardly the deciding factor in whether or not you get recruited. Each week the three top ten finishers listed above sang in front of not only millions of viewers on TV, but in front of every music executive in the country if not the world. The tenth best singer out of a pool of possibly a million people that show up at the American Idol auditions wasn’t offered a record deal or a job in the music business after the show. How can this be, as they had more EXPOSURE than any musician in the world could possibly ask for??

There is no magic bullet to recruiting. Exposure is not a path to success. To succeed in recruiting, you have to have a unique set of skills (academic, athletic, social, work ethic, desire) that other recruits do not have. Then you have to find a college and a college coach that has a need and a desire for your skills. Then you need to personally communicate with that college coach. And after all that, you might fail to get recruited. You might be a great goalie, but if a college has three already, there will be no need to recruit you. You might be a great center, but if your grades are sub-par, the ability for the coach to recruit you will be diminished. You might be fast, but the coach needs someone faster. You might be big, but the coach needs someone bigger.

The last service I came across said the following…

“It does not matter how good you are, to be recruited and be in line for a college scholarship, you need to aggressively reach out to college Coaches and Recruiters.”

Yes, and after you reach out to them, the next thing that matters is HOW GOOD YOU ARE! And it matters a LOT! How good are you on the field, how good are you in the classroom, how good of a person are you? How good you are matters! Anyone can reach out to any coach, their email is plastered all over their school’s website or through a recruit contact form. But that will get you nowhere if you don’t have several other things going for you.

Exposure and the college athletic recruiting process

Exposure and the college athletic recruiting process

What factors do college coaches consider when evaluating high school athletes and recruits?

1 – Can this recruit get accepted to my school based in their academic record?
2 – Does this recruit possess the athletic skills to play for our program?
3 – Do I have the ability to evaluate their skills to make a fair evaluation?
4 – Is this recruit truly interested in playing for my program?
5 – Can this recruit afford to come to our school?
6 – Does our school offer academic programs this recruit is interested in?
7 – Will this recruit be happy and successful at our school?

If the answer to ANY of those questions is NO, then your recruiting process is probably over for that school. You can expose yourself as much as you want to as many schools as you want to, but no amount of exposure will get you recruited if those questions above are not met by you!

The most successful families in the recruiting process work backwards. They research the colleges that are a potential fit athletically, academically, socially, financially, and even geographically and then they make personal contact with the college coach to discuss a potential fit. They do the grunt work for the college coach. Then when they hear twenty “thank you but no thank you” from college coaches who work at colleges that might have been a perfect match for “the recruit”, they move onto the 21st school on their list because it only takes one yes to succeed in this process. Every “no” they hear is a chance to move on and succeed at another school. Exposure is their goal, but exposure is the last trait on a long list of traits that will lead them to success in this process.

Your college recruiting process is extremely important. Don’t leave success in the hands of an app, or widget, or website that promise the world; that promise to make things easy! It’s a personal process that takes a lot of time, dedication and research to succeed in.

How Do Athletic Showcases Help Me Get Recruited?

Do athletic showcases help high school athletes get recruited?

Do high school athletes need to attend athletic showcases?

Players looking to broaden their exposure in the college recruiting process will often turn to showcases. These one or two day events offer high school players the opportunity to display their skills to college coaches and are a way for coaches to prospective recruits display their skills. While showcases offer can offer exposure to a larger number of schools in one place, a college coach will rarely recruit from a showcase performance alone, but use that event to decide if they want to pursue certain players further. One of the challenges of showcases is that despite the attendance of many colleges at a given event, a certain recruit might not have the skills or academic background to play or gain acceptance to several of the schools in attendance.

While you may be “showcasing” your skills to 30 colleges in one day, realistically, a recruit might be only to play at 4 or 5 of those schools based on their ability. Rather than attending random showcases, it is important to evaluate your ability as it may apply to different colleges in the area and then try to determine what colleges will be attending a given showcase. Northeastern University assistant baseball coach James Pinzino approaches showcases as follows. “Showcases have become an important recruiting tool because of the numbers of players we can see at once. However, a player’s ability to compete, particularly in the pressure of an important game, is a huge component of success at the college level. The only way to evaluate this is to see players compete in real games where something is on the line. So like video, we use showcase performances as a tool to decide who we want to pursue further!”

Many families attend showcases hoping for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and it’s not that simple. Simply showing up, hitting a few home runs or 3-pointers probably will not get you a scholarship offer the next day!

How do I choose what athletic showcase to attend?

1 – WHAT COLLEGES ARE GOING TO BE IN ATTENDANCE? That’s so important that I put it in capital letters! As I mentioned above, there may be 30 colleges at a given showcase, but if your academic record or athletic skills do not warrant acceptance or recruitment to 25 of the schools in attendance, then you will not get the benefit of showcasing yourself to the 30 schools in attendance. Do not focus on how many schools are there, focus on what schools are there! More on this below!

2 – What facilities are being used? Some showcases take place on multiple fields. A coach cannot be in two places at once, so if you are on field 1 and the coach is one field 2, you might not get the benefit of performing well.

3 – Is the event a multi-day event? Some coaches do not attend the second day because they have seen what they need to see in day one.

4 – What drills and/or tests will be required. Will there be any weight lifting tests or running or agility tests that you can prepare for in advance? We have heard instances of 60-yard dashes being run on gravel or high grass which hadn’t been mowed in two weeks, now 80 recruits have a slow 60 yard dash time listed on a sheet of paper.


athletic showcaes

How do I use showcases to help me get recruited by college coaches?

1 – Communicate with college coaches prior to the showcase. In step 1, we recommend trying to find out what colleges will be in attendance at a given showcase. In order to accomplish this, you often need to perform some type of communication with college coaches prior to the showcase. While coaches have different rules as to when they can communicate with you via phone (at the D1 and D2 level), they can respond to email and they can receive your phone calls at any time. Trying to find out what showcases a given coach/school will be attending is an innocent way to introduce yourself to a college coach. I don’t want to get into researching colleges at this point as that is an entirely different and long topic, but a simple email or phone call saying “Coach Stevens, my name is Dave Smith, I am completing my junior year at Town High School and am interested in continuing my baseball career at the college level and am interested in your school and program. I am trying to plan my summer recruiting activity and wanted to inquire as to what showcases if any you will be attending this summer?” Coaches like to recruit good athletes, but they also like to recruit athletes that want to attend THEIR college. It is important in the recruiting process that you indicate to college coaches that you are interested in their program time and time again.

2 – Follow up with coaches you are in communication with prior to the showcase. Finding out what colleges might be in attendance in step 5 above and following up with college coaches are two different things. In this scenario, you have developed a prior relationship with a college coach through previous recruiting activity and in this case, you are communicating with the college coach that you are attending a specific showcase that he/she is attending and that you look forward to meeting them and speaking to them personally! The goal here is to one, alert the college coach that you are attending a specific event that he/she is attending, and two, that you are being proactive about your recruiting process. If the coach is interested in watching you perform and you have developed a prior relationship with them, they will be more apt to watch YOUR showcase performance amongst all the other athletes in attendance.

3 – Manage your actions and emotions. Several years ago, I met a coach who attended a baseball game to see a particular recruit. The coach arrived prior to the game and saw the player with his shirt off talking to a bunch of girls when he should have been getting ready to play the game. The coach packed up his stuff and left. Coaches watch and notice everything, so conduct yourself accordingly. Run hard, accept feedback, don’t take plays off, don’t berate your fellow athletes, don’t style a home run and so on!

4 – Follow up with college coaches after the showcase. You are as much a part of the college athletic recruiting process as the college coach is. You have dreams and desires and will be paying for college, so it is important that the decisions you make about college are made for you, not by someone else. If there is a particular school you are interested in, you need to communicate that to the college coach to move the process to the next step. If the coach is interested, they will most likely tell you. And, if the coach is not interested, they will most likely tell you. You don’t want to string them along and they do not want to string you along. Following up with the coach after a showcase performance will get right down to it. They may want to learn more about you, they may request video, they may tell you they want to see you play more, or they may tell you they have other recruits they are evaluating right now but to keep in touch. Getting a NO from a coach may be devastating to you, but it’s simply an indication that you need to focus on other schools. In reality, getting a no is a good thing, it tells you where you might be at in the recruiting process and frees more time up for you to research other colleges that might be a better fit! If there isn’t a match right now, do not burn any bridges with that college coach. That coach might have a list of 50 other players they rank higher than you, but 49 of those players might fall of that list for one reason or another over the next 5 months. Thank the coach for their time and tell them to keep in touch if anything in their recruiting process changes!

Showcases are not magic; they are one recruiting tool that you can use to increase your chances to be recruited. College coaches really need to see you play in person in some capacity, but seeing you play in person in a showcase is not the beginning or end of your recruitment. It is important to evaluate your abilities, evaluate different colleges and communicate with college coaches as to what they look for and what their needs are and then find way to display your skills to them. Don’t simply show up at a showcase hoping to be noticed or recruited by any college.

Want more? See our new article, How do I Get Recruited to Play College Sports

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