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.
Often, the start to the college recruiting process seems much harder than it really is. High school kids are fooled into thinking that simple recruiting questions don’t have simple answers. And, they wind up hurting their recruiting process with wrong information, instead of helping it with the right information. This article is dedicated to the athletes that just want simple answers to the most fundamental recruiting questions that exist. In fact, these answers prove there really is a simple, easy way to game plan your college experience!
Let’s get you recruits in the right mindset. Here are logical answers to three of the most commonly asked recruiting questions.
How do I get a coach to notice me?
By far, this is the most commonly-asked question high school athletes have when it comes to college recruiting. And really, there are only two answers to this question, and both answers depend on the recruit who’s asking.
- The quickest way to get a college coach to notice you is to have the physical talent they’re looking for. If you want to play in college, you’re going to need a physical skill-set that separates you from other potential recruits. You need to perform well against good competition and you need to perform well when college coaches are watching. Realistically, you shouldn’t expect college coaches to notice you if you’re sitting on the bench, or you keep laying an egg every time they’re in the stands. The way you play needs to leave a great impression on college coaches. The truth is coaches talk, and when you leave a good impression on one, it leads to more attention from others.
- If college coaches aren’t noticing you like you think they should, you need do something about it. Quite simply, you need to make an adjustment and figure out how to get yourself in front of them. Whether it’s sending an email, going to a camp or just picking up the phone, it’s your job to grab a college coach’s attention. Don’t settle for using the excuse that you play at a small school or for the wrong team or your coach isn’t helping you out. Find out what needs to be done and do it! If you aren’t getting noticed, you don’t have any other option and if you want to play in college badly enough, you will do whatever it takes.
Is a coach really interested in knowing I want to play for his/her program?
Yes. That’s the only way to answer this question! Every student-athlete going through the recruiting process should take ownership of their experience, and that includes communicating with coaches. I know that might sound scary, but it is what college coaches want and expect from you. The reality is that most coaches are great people! They are coaches because they want to help develop young men and women into their fullest potential. For that reason alone, you should feel good about introducing yourself and starting a conversation.
Look at it this way; if you were a college coach in 10 years, how would you want a recruit to talk to you? How would you want that recruit to introduce himself/herself? I’m assuming you would be excited to have a respectful young man/woman express interest in the program you’re running, especially if they have what it takes to play for you! The point is this; you are going to have to talk to coaches during the recruiting process. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation, especially if they aren’t starting one with you!
What if I don’t get a reply or they don’t like me?
Oh no, your life is ruined! Get real! As a student-athlete, you must have a “whatever” kind of an attitude about the college recruiting process. There are so many things that are out of your control. It’s just the nature of the business. Think about it this way; it’s better to get a “no” than to never know. That’s feedback you can adjust to. And, what if you reach out to a coach and that coach replies, likes what you have to offer, and you end up playing for that program for the next four years? You have so much more to gain, than you do to lose, by communicating your interest to a coach.
The real questions you need to answer here are: would you rather be ignored by a coach, told no from a coach or would you rather not know what could have been for the rest of your life? Don’t always assume the worst possible outcome when putting yourself out there. Things usually work out well for people that aren’t afraid to fail. Take risks, talk to college coaches and don’t fear rejection. Remember, if coaches aren’t blowing up your cell… You don’t have any other option!