The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Summer is right around the corner. Most high school athletes are deciding on which summer team to join. Just so you know, the right team for you isn’t necessarily the best team in your area. There are many factors to consider when you’re deciding on your summer team and schedule. The organization and the coaching staff are critical. The makeup of the roster is important.
Finally, the schedule and exposure are perhaps the most important aspects to consider. Plain and simple, you won’t be seen if you aren’t in the lineup on a regular basis and college coaches probably won’t be at your games if you’re on the wrong team. Here are my thoughts on the things you should consider when deciding on the right summer team to join.
The organization and coaching staff
The leadership and structure of the organization you play for can be very important to a great summer experience. An organization’s reputation and philosophy have to be considered. Are the goals of the organization the same as your goals? Ask some former players about the organization. Summer teams are a big financial and time commitment. Do your homework.
Even more important than the organization, you have to get to know the coaches for your team. Make sure you are comfortable with their personality and coaching style. Is he or she laid back and quiet, or intense and loud? There’s nothing wrong with either style as long as you can respond and play for them. What are their qualifications? Will they make you a better candidate for a scholarship?
Where will you fit on the roster?
The right team for you isn’t necessarily the best team. You have to play to be seen and you have to play to get better. You will accomplish neither if you aren’t on the field, even if you are on the best team in the country. You certainly don’t have to be the very best player on the team, but you don’t want to spend the summer on the bench. If you do, you might as well spend the summer at the beach.
The best situation would be where you have a great chance to compete for playing time, but the competition makes you a better player.
Schedule and exposure
One of the first things to consider about any prospective summer team is the schedule. The schedule needs to meet your personal expectations. Make sure any team you consider will be playing in the tournaments that make the most sense for you. Next, consider your exposure to college coaches. Review the team’s schedule before you make a commitment. Take the time to research the events and make sure you will be playing in front of the right coaches. You should also ask about the practice schedule and location. You want to have the clearest picture of how you will be spending your time as a member of any summer team.
Here’s the deal
Picking the right summer team can make a difference in your recruiting journey. Take the time to make an educated decision and do your homework on every team you are considering.