What do college coaches look for when recruiting high school athletes?
Attributes that college coaches seek in high school athletes
What are college coaches looking for?
While some college coaches are looking for the prototypical athlete, big, strong, & fast, most coaches are simply looking for student-athletes that are 1) – Good athletes, 2) – Good athletes at their particular sport, 3) – Good academic students, 4) – Interested in their college, and last but not least, 5) – A good person.
Coaches seek out players that want to compete at the college level, can compete at the college level and that can succeed academically and socially at the college level. While some coaches sacrifice academic achievement when recruiting athletes, it’s important for coaches to know that you can gain admission to their university on your academic merits and you have the discipline to do the academic work that is required and that you will enjoy the university you have chosen.
There are many student-athletes who concentrate too much on athletics and think their athletic skill is enough to gain admission to college and get them through college. While all schools have different criteria for admittance, if your academic achievements is insufficient to gain acceptance to the school, it will not matter how good an athlete you are. Most college coaches will ask about your academic record first, because if you can’t get accepted to their school, they aren’t going to waste any additional energy in your recruitment.
As far as athletic ability is concerned, coaches simply want student-athletes that want to compete at the next level and have displayed a passion and desire to play their chosen sport. You don’t have to be the strongest, or the biggest, or the tallest athlete to succeed in college depending on the level you choose, but you have to be better than the majority of the high school athletes you compete against. Only a small percentage of high school athletes move on to play in college.
Since the college recruiting process is now a global process, meaning, coaches now look further away for student-athletes and student-athletes look further away for schools they can play at, it’s important for you to be able to distinguish yourself as a quality student-athlete. While this is often difficult to do, it’s important for you to market yourself through phone calls, letters, videos, & recommendations from instructors and coaches.
It is also important for college coaches to see you play, and usually in meaningful games. What’s a meaningful game? It’s a game that has some importance as to the outcome. While coaches attend showcases to scout players, rarely will a coach recruit a player off a showcase performance alone. That coach needs to see that player play in meaningful games to see how they perform under pressure, how they treat their teammates, opponents and ref’s or umpires, how they handle winning (and losing) and how they prepare for the game before the game.
One of the other factors that many parents and students overlook is the fact that coaches want to recruit players that have shown an interest in not only learning about their college and program but an interest in being part of their program. While athletic and academic talent are important, a coach needs to know that you are truly interested in their team and school, otherwise they will be apprehensive about recruiting you.