The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
The college recruiting process for athletes is not an exact science. Because every athlete is different, there is no sure-fire process that will lead to a college scholarship. Every athlete’s recruiting journey is different and every recruit will have to make individual decisions. For example, you’ll have to decide which showcases or camps make sense for your situation, which summer team to play for and which colleges might actually have a spot for a player like you. While most of the decisions are different for each recruit, there are two very common mistakes every recruit should be aware of and try to avoid.
Focusing on too few schools
If college coaches aren’t burning up your cell phone, then you have to contact them and to some extent your recruiting process becomes a numbers game. You may have to contact numerous schools, numerous times. It’s a simple concept, the more appropriate colleges you contact, the better your chances to play at the next level. You can’t afford to put all your recruiting eggs in one or two college baskets. Just because you are interested in a college doesn’t mean they will be interested in you. What if they already have three other players at your position?
Sending emails is the most common method recruits use to introduce themselves to college coaches. While sending emails to college coaches can be effective, you still need to target as many colleges as you can. Understand that when you send an email to a coach everything has to line up for you to get a response: (1) the coach has to open your email or correspondence, (2) he or she has to actually read it, (3) the email has to be personalized, (4) there has to be a need at your position, (5) there has to be a way to verify your abilities and (6) they need an easy way to contact you. There are ways to write effective emails, but the point is that you probably need to email quite a few appropriate schools to have any chance of success.
Contacting the wrong colleges
Pursuing the wrong schools is the most common reason why many talented athletes don’t find a college team. You have to be realistic about who you are as a student and an athlete. Then you need to pursue schools that make sense for your abilities. Not every high school baseball player can make the roster at LSU and not every female basketball player can play at UConn, and that’s okay. Also, not every student-athlete has the academic profile for Stanford or Harvard.
Contacting coaches at schools that don’t make sense for you athletically and/or academically and hoping for a miracle is a waste of time. Focus on the colleges that will be just as interested in you as you are in them.