USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
What would your coach have to say about you to a college coach that was recruiting you? Any idea? Would he/she sing your praises and love the opportunity to “sell” you to a college program? Would they say that you’re a good teammate, a leader and someone that deserves to play at the next level? Would your coach be a great reference for you to use during your college recruiting experience?
I’m hoping you can answer yes to those questions, because one of the few guarantees that you can count on while you’re being recruited is this: your coach’s opinion of you matters. In fact, it may be one of the only opinions a college coach considers when they’re evaluating you.
Listen, I’m not saying you need to “kiss-up” and try to earn brownie points with your coach. I’m also not telling you that it is your coach’s job to find you a college scholarship. But, you need to understand that the relationship you have with your current coach is a great indicator to what your relationship will be with a college coach. Quite simply, your history as a teammate and player predicts your future for both. College coaches know this and they make it a part of their evaluation process. Bottom line, any college coach recruiting you is going to talk to your current coach and that conversation will absolutely have an impact on the offers you receive, or don’t receive.
With that in mind, here are 3 tips on how you can help your coach help you!
This is your career
This isn’t your coach’s career. This is your college career that you’re preparing for. Helping your coach help you is simple as long as you have the right mindset. This is all you. This is you making the decision that no matter what happens, good or bad, easy or tough, you’re in control of the outcome, not your coach. I can’t make that any clearer than I can say it. “But, my coach won’t help me get noticed.” Oh well, move on to a coach that will help you get noticed. If you genuinely think that you don’t have a coach to support you through this process, then congratulations. You’re the first recruit in the history of high school athletics that can make that claim. Take ownership of your future!
The best thing you can do to help your coach help you during the college recruiting process is to honestly understand your abilities. You’ve got to be realistic with who you are as a student-athlete if you want to get to the next level. Don’t try to be something you aren’t. When it comes to recruiting, coaches don’t want to be dealing with unreasonable and irrational athletes. It’s a major red-flag and a major pain in the butt. Your coach can’t help you if you don’t see yourself for what you really are. It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Just irritating and frustrating.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re a senior and you’re the sixth man on the worst basketball team in the county. Your team didn’t win a game all year and you averaged just under 3 points-per-game. You ask your coach to help you get recruited to The University of Kansas. How would you expect your coach to respond? Honestly? A good coach will do everything in their power to help you with the recruiting process, but even the best coaches aren’t miracle workers. They can’t make you something you aren’t. So, before you ask for your coach’s help, make sure you “get” where you fit!
Get your coach to follow your lead
I can say with 100 percent certainty that every college coach in the country wants to fill their roster with leaders. They want kids that lead on the field, in the classroom and in the community. They want kids that aren’t scared to go after what they want. So when it comes to recruiting, you need to be playing the lead role. Let your current coach play a supporting role and feed off of your energy and efforts.
How do you lead?
- Organize a list of colleges you’re interested in.
- Email the coaches at those schools.
- Express specific interest in their institution and program.
- List your current coach as a reference for the college coach to contact.
- CC your current coach on every email you send.
- Send a detailed list to your current coach of what college coaches you have contacted.
- Ask your current coach to follow up with the 5 schools you have the most interest in.
- Provide your current coach all contact info, schedules, information, etc.
Your current coach is a difference-maker in the college recruiting process. If your actions show how badly you want to play at the next level, they will follow you every step of the way. Make this as easy for them as possible. Get them involved. It will make things that much more satisfying when you’re signing a National Letter of Intent!