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. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of Playced Athletic Recruiting. 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 platform for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of the word assumption is; the act of taking for granted or supposing. In many instances, assuming is not something you want to find yourself doing because when you assume, there’s a great chance you’re not accounting for every detail. In other words, you’re simply not seeing the whole picture.
So, I have a question for you high school athletes looking to play at the next level: Do you know the truth about where you stand as a college recruit, or are you just assuming you do? I sure hope you know exactly where you stand! Because, one of the worst things you can do is to trust something is happening, when in reality it’s not. In fact, not knowing the truth just might cost you the opportunity of playing in college. Here are a few assumptions you need to absolutely avoid as you navigate your recruiting journey.
Don’t assume someone else is handling it for you
For the record; 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 should probably reconsider whether you really want to play in college, or not.
Now, you might be fortunate enough to have a helpful coach or play for a really good team. Even then, 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’re helping and what they’re doing. Bottom line: you should be driving this process, regardless of the amount of help you are getting, or not getting.
Don’t assume getting attention is going to lead to an offer
Of all the assumptions you can make, this might be the most dangerous of them all! Why? Because when you land on a coach’s radar, even if it is just one, recruits tend to put it on cruise control. They think that the scholarship offers are going to come pouring in and they can just sit back and chill. Don’t let that happen to you. If a college coach takes notice of you, the process is just beginning.
The difference between a coach noticing you and a coach making an offer is like the difference between dating and marriage! There’s a fact-finding, getting-to-know stage and there’s a ready-to-settle down, commitment stage. Just because a college coach is paying attention to you, doesn’t mean they’re going to offer you roster spot or scholarship. Mutually, you and the coach should be figuring out if you’re a good fit for that program. Until you’ve received and accepted an offer from an interested coach, don’t assume it’s going to happen.
Don’t assume it’s just going to happen one day
This one’s especially intended for you high school juniors and seniors. If you haven’t been seen yet, how is that going to change now? That’s not meant to sound sarcastic, trust me. But it should serve as a dose of reality. 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 assumption 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!