The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
It’s hard to believe, but 2017 is more than half way over. For many high school students, school will start up again in a matter of weeks. So far this year we’ve been asked thousands of recruiting questions from athletes all over the country. Of all the questions we’ve been asked, there are three that have clearly been asked the most. The questions stem from either a misconception about how college recruiting really works or the fact that high school athletes can be intimidated by the process.
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I guess everyone wants answers to these questions, so here are the top three recruiting questions of 2017 (so far) and our answers.
1. How do I get noticed by college coaches?
If you haven’t been noticed by college coaches yet, the best way to get noticed is to develop a realistic recruiting strategy. Attending a showcase camp with 200 other athletes will help, but only if you stand out. Setting up an online profile might make you feel good, but why would your profile stand out from all the others? And sending a Direct Message to a college coach telling them “Check out my highlight video” may do more harm than good.
Take ownership of your recruiting process and go directly to the source in as many ways as you can. Here are a few suggestions:
- Fill out the recruiting questionnaire on the school websites of the colleges in which you have the most interest. Pay attention to the questions they are asking. That will provide insight on what they are looking for.
- Send an introductory email expressing specific interest in their program that includes your academic standing, some relevant athletic stats, a link to your highlight video and your current coach’s contact information.
- If possible, have your current coach send an email vouching for your abilities and character.
- Send a follow up email to the coaches you have not heard back from.
- Try to connect with college coaches on Twitter. If they follow you, then send them a Direct Message expressing specific interest in their program.
- Strategically select a few camps and showcase events to attend. Send the coaches in attendance an email before the camp notifying them that you will be there. They need to know your name before the camp.
2. Do I need to use a recruiting service?
The real answer to this question is “It depends”. It depends on whether or not you are willing to do all the work yourself. Also, like any industry, it depends on which recruiting service you choose and what you expect them to deliver.
There are good recruiting services and there are companies only interested in your credit card number and expiration date. My best advice is to be careful.
A recruiting service can’t make you stronger, faster or more talented. Recruiting services can be helpful if you don’t want to do it all yourself or if you need some advice and guidance. If you decide to use a service, do your homework, read the reviews, ask the right questions and understand exactly what you are paying for. If you decide to do it yourself, make a commitment to educate yourself on the process, be persistent and don’t procrastinate.
3. A coach invited me to a camp and asked me to fill out a questionnaire. Am I being recruited?
You aren’t necessarily being recruited if you get invited to a camp. The primary purpose of camps is to make money for the school and the coaching staff. There may be legitimate recruits at the camps, but 99 percent of the attendees are not on the school’s “short list” of scholarship candidates.
If you receive a personal letter or email from a college coach asking you to fill out a recruiting questionnaire then you’ve probably been noticed, but you aren’t being recruited yet. Being recognized or noticed is the initial stage in earning a scholarship. Make sure you complete the questionnaire right away and fill it out as accurately as possible. A good rule of thumb is you are not being recruited unless a college coach specifically contacts you or your coach.
Here’s the deal
You will have questions as you go through the college recruiting process. Count on it. Don’t be afraid to ask your high school coach, your select coach, or just take a few minutes and do some research on your own.