USA TODAY High School Sports has a new weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com provides recruiting assistance and advice for aspiring college athletes.
This week we will tackle Step 2 of a good recruiting game plan: Get your coach involved.
A coach can be a difference maker. Your current coach is the most credible source to vouch for your athletic abilities.
Did you know that his or her opinion might be as important as the recruiting coordinator’s opinion in the eyes of college coaches? A coach who is willing to take the time to tout your abilities and character speaks volumes. Be proactive and ask them to get involved, but give them a little help!
Here is a typical first conversation between a student-athlete and his or her coach about recruiting:
Athlete: “Coach, I really want to play in college.”
Coach: “Do you have any ideas about where you want to play?”
Athlete: “Not really. I just want to keep playing.”
Coach: “How are your grades?”
Athlete: “Pretty good.”
Coach: “What are your standardized test scores?”
Athlete: “I don’t remember.”
Coach: “Do you know what you want to study?”
Athlete: “No, but I’m pretty good in math.”
Coach: “Do you want to stay close to home? Does the size of the school matter to you?”
Athlete: “I don’t care. I just want to play.”
What in the world is a coach going to do with that information?
Most coaches are willing to help their athletes make it to the next level, but you have to help them help you. They need direction and guidance in reaching out to programs that are a match for your abilities.
Be mindful that a high school coach’s time is precious; therefore, arm your coach with an easily executable game plan and the information college coaches will want. Provide the recruiting coordinator’s contact information for your top 3 to 5 college choices along with your athletic and academic resumes so your coach has all the information he or she needs when making the first contact. Be sure your coach agrees that the schools you have targeted are a good fit.
Here’s a true story on how involving a high school coach made the difference in a player’s recruiting process. Two years ago, the son of a close friend of mine had not received an offer to play in college from any schools he wanted to attend. It was June after his high school graduation, he had no idea where he would start classes, and time was running out. He considered giving up his dream and enrolling in a college where he had been accepted academically. Persistence paid off. We identified a possible need at two Division I schools and gave his coach the contact information for the college recruiting coordinators. Although the coach had not previously been involved, he was thrilled to help. He just had not been asked. In a very short period of time and a minimal amount of time invested by the coach (an email and a phone call), an offer came.
Your high school coach is simply one option. A summer coach, skills coach or even an opposing coach who is familiar with your game also can be a difference maker in your recruiting journey. Coaches take great pride in their athlete’s accomplishments.
Ask for their help to get to the next level and be sure to equip them with all they need to speak on your behalf.