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 identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
“Don’t concentrate all your prospects or resources in one thing or place, you could lose everything.” According to dictionary.com, that is the definition of the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” And in the spirit of Easter eggs and baskets, there couldn’t be a better time than now to apply this adage to college recruiting!
As a high school athlete, you have to know that college recruiting is all about you. What you have experienced or what you will experience requires a good amount of balance. From figuring out what colleges make sense for you, to talking with college coaches, to using your current coach for help, a lot goes into getting to the next level. That said, the worst thing you can do as a recruit is to trust that something is happening when in reality, it is not.
If you are putting all of your eggs in only one of the following recruiting baskets, you could miss out on playing in college!
Basket #1- Someone is handling it for me
Let me reiterate; college recruiting is all about you. If ever there was a right time to be selfish and opinionated, now would be that time! You have to decide what you want out of your college career, both academically and athletically. This isn’t just a decision that will affect you right now, this is a decision that will impact the rest of your life. If you think that someone else should take care of that for you, you might want to reconsider whether you really want to play in college, or not.
Now, you might be lucky enough to have a helpful coach or play for a really good team, but never assume that someone else is doing the heavy lifting for you. Be involved in the process and express to your support system what you want and need. If someone is helping you, know exactly how they are helping and what they are doing. The bottom line is you should be driving this process, regardless of the amount of help you are getting, or not getting.
Basket #2- A college coach is showing me interest
Of all the baskets to put your eggs in, this might be the most dangerous of them all! Why? Because when a college coach actually shows interest, even if it is just one, recruits tend to put on the cruise control. They think that the scholarship offers are going to come pouring in and they can just sit back and relax. Do not let that happen to you. If a college coach is showing you interest, the process is just getting started.
The difference between a coach showing interest and a coach making an offer is like the difference between dating and marriage! There is a fact-finding, getting-to-know stage and there is a ready-to-settle down, commitment stage. Just because a college coach is expressing interest in you as a recruit, doesn’t mean they necessarily are going to commit to you a roster spot or scholarship. Mutually, you and the coach should be figuring out if you are a right-fit for that program. Until you have been given an offer and you have accepted that offer, don’t assume that it will happen.
Basket #3- I will eventually be seen
This basket is especially intended for you high school juniors and seniors. If you haven’t been seen yet, how is that going to change now? That is not meant to sound harsh, trust me. But it should serve as a reality check. With every passing day, your recruiting window is shutting, and as frightening as that can be, it’s the truth. If you have the desire to play in college and you think that eventually the college coaches will notice you, you might be right. But, are you willing to bet a college career on it?
Stay away from this basket by understanding the most basic principle of recruiting: you have to be noticed to be wanted and you have to be wanted to be offered. It is on you to do whatever it takes to get a coach to see you. Make it happen!
An overwhelming majority of high school athletes would like to continue their playing career at the collegiate level. Unfortunately, that same majority never gets the opportunity to do so. Not because they can’t, but because they put their eggs in the wrong baskets. Are you going to be one of those recruits that leaves your career to chance? Or will you be the recruit that turns into a college athlete? It’s up to you.