Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s opinion matters to colleges

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Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s opinion matters to colleges

High School Sports

Recruiting Column: Your high school coach’s opinion matters to colleges


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 This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. 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.

Your coach’s opinion of you matters. In fact, I can almost guarantee that any program interested in you is going to seek out his/her opinion. I would even say that your coach’s opinion may be the only outside opinion a college coach considers when deciding on whether to give you a scholarship, or not.

Listen, I’m not saying you need to be the coach’s pet. I’m also not telling you that it’s your coach’s job to find you a college scholarship. But you should understand that the relationship you have with your current coach is a determining factor for any college program interested in you.

Here are some tips on how you can help your coach help you become the best recruit possible.

It’s your career

This is your college career you’re preparing for, not your coach’s.

Tip No. 1 in helping your coach help you is simple, and it doesn’t require any work from your coach. It’s your mentality. This is all you. This is you making the decision that no matter what happens, good or bad, easy or tough, you bear the ultimate responsibility of whether you play in college, or not. I can’t make that any clearer than I can say it. “But my coach is a jerk and won’t help me.” Oh well, move on to a coach that will support you. And if you don’t have a coach that will help you, then congratulations. You’re the first athlete in the history of sports that can make that claim. Own it.

Be honest with yourself

The best thing you can do to help your coach help you during the college recruiting process is to honestly understand your abilities.

Tip No. 2 is to be realistic about who you are as a student-athlete. Don’t try to be something you’re not. College recruiting or not, dealing with unreasonable and irrational people is one of life’s great frustrations. To better make my point, imagine what you would think if your best friend told you unicorns were real. Sure, you’d have a quick laugh but when it comes down to it, you know that comment is ridiculous.

Now, apply that rationale to college recruiting. Let’s say you ask your coach to help you get recruited by The University of Kentucky. You’re a senior, you’re the sixth man and you’re on the worst basketball team in the city. And, you want to play for the Wildcats? How do you expect your coach to respond to that? Honestly? A good coach will do everything in their power to help you with the recruiting process, but that doesn’t mean they can perform miracles. So, before you ask for your coach’s help, make sure you “get” where you fit!

Take the lead

I can say with absolute certainty that every college coach in the country wants to fill their roster with leaders. They want kids that lead on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

That said, Tip No. 3 in helping your current coach help you with the recruiting process is for you to play the lead role in all of this. Let your current coach play a supporting role and feed off your recruiting energy. If you know that college coaches expect that of you anyway, why would you not take the bull by the horns during this journey?

How do you lead? Here are some ideas:

  • Organize a list of colleges you have interest in.
  • Email the coaches at those schools.
  • Express specific interest in their institution and program.
  • List your current coach as a reference for the college coach to contact.
  • CC your current coach on every email you send.
  • Send a detailed list to your current coach of what college coaches you have contacted.
  • Ask your current coach to follow up with the schools you have the most interest in.
  • Provide your current coach all contact info, schedules, information, etc.

Your current coach is a difference-maker in the college recruiting process. If your actions show how badly you want to play at the next level, they will follow you every step of the way! Make this as easy for them as possible, get them involved and watch what happens.


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