The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
The top recruits in the country are noticed first and recruited early; however, there are thousands of roster spots available after those players have signed. The remaining roster spots are filled by projectable, coachable student-athletes. While every college coach in the country approaches the process of identifying and evaluating recruits a little differently, they all analyze the same information.
The successful programs are the ones good at projecting the development and maturity of a high school athlete, how well he or she will adapt to college life and whether or not they will be able to handle the rigorous schedule of being a college athlete. If you understand how college coaches identify and evaluate athletes, that will help you get noticed in the crowd of high school athletes.
How coaches identify athletes
Here are the top 3 ways college coaches identify potential athletes and some quick advice on how you can get “identified”.
1. College coaches rely on their coaching staff and personal relationships to identify athletes for their programs. They will listen to an athlete’s high school or select coach; however, they seldom listen to individuals with whom they are unfamiliar. If possible, ask your current coach to reach out to a few programs on your behalf.
2. College coaches review game film of athletes who contact them and appear to have the ability to play in their program. If they’re interested, they follow up with the athlete and his or her coach. Make sure you have a highlight video you are proud of and share it with coaches at the colleges you are interested in. A highlight video is a great way for a college coach to quickly decide if you might be a candidate for his or her program.
3. Finally, college coaches attend camps, showcase events and games to watch possible recruits compete. Typically, when they go to one of these events they’re going to watch a few athletes on their list, so you need to be on their list before they arrive. Therefore, before attending an event, send the coaches who will be there an email introducing yourself. This is critical, because if they don’t know you when they get there, they probably won’t know you when they leave.
After you are noticed, here’s how you’ll be evaluated
Player evaluation can be complicated and is certainly not an exact science. For that reason, you need to understand the areas in which you are being evaluated and strive to maximize your abilities in those areas. Each position, for each sport, is graded differently. For example, in basketball the basics are quickness, agility and size. Baseball and softball coaches look for arm strength, foot speed and power.
A simple way to gain insight into the stats that matter in your sport is to review the recruiting questionnaire for your sport on any college website. This fundamental information can provide you with a pretty good idea of what a coach is looking for in his or her players. Then, work on those areas to improve your chances.
In addition to evaluating your athletic ability, college coaches will evaluate you academically. A student’s academic standing is the first tie-breaker between two athletes of similar abilities. Don’t let your study habits be a roadblock to a college scholarship.
Finally, you need to understand that college coaches will look at your social media accounts. Right or wrong, they will assume that who you are on social media is who you will be on campus. Consistent profanity or negative posts are certainly red flags, but coaches also monitor social media for other warning signs too. Be careful what you post!
Here’s the deal
Understanding how college coaches identify and evaluate players will give you insight on what college coaches expect from athletes. It will allow you to answer the questions “How do I get noticed?” and “How do I get recruited?”