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.
Teacher, Leader, Motivator, Role Model, Mentor. These are the qualities of a great coach. Nearly every athlete has played for at least one coach who possessed these attributes. You might have noticed that “personal scholarship finder” isn’t on the list. Although finding your college scholarship isn’t on the list, a coach who is willing to help can have a very positive impact on your chances of landing on a college roster. In fact, there are many reasons why having your current coach involved in your recruiting process will pay big dividends. Here are three of those reasons to consider.
Someone needs to vouch for you
The college recruiting process is very similar to the process of searching for a job. In a job search, a good reference from a previous employer or college professor can go a long way in securing employment. The same holds true in college recruiting. If your coach is willing to vouch for your character, work ethic and abilities, then a college coach is much more likely to be interested in you for his or her program.
You really need to be sure that a great recommendation will come from your current coach. I’m not telling you to be the coach’s pet, but he or she needs to be in your corner. And how can your coach give a glowing review if you’re consistently late for practice, aren’t a hard worker or you aren’t a team player? Your coach sees your effort in practice every day, sees how you react to game situations and is the best source for a college coach to gain insight on you as a player. So, it’s important for you to earn that recommendation!
A proper evaluation will point you in the right direction
Attempting to communicate with the unrealistic schools is probably the No. 1 source of frustration for college recruits and their parents. There is nothing worse than sending multiple emails to numerous college coaches and receiving no responses. If this is happening to you, you’re probably contacting the wrong schools. If that’s the case, you’re wasting your time! To avoid this frustration in the recruiting process you have to know which programs are right for you. That’s where your current coach can be very helpful.
Identifying the right schools is not simple, but it’s not really that hard either. The first step is to understand which level colleges match your athletic abilities. To do that, have an honest conversation with your current coach. Ask your coach how he/she thinks you stack up and where you might belong, at the next level. Because, once you have an accurate evaluation in hand, identifying appropriate schools isn’t that hard.
College coaches will pay attention to your coach’s opinion
Here is what some of the best college coaches had to say when discussing the importance of a high school/select coach’s opinion. Their comments are proof to why having your coach behind you will make your recruiting journey much easier.
“A great way to let us know you are interested in our program is to have your coach reach out to us, on your behalf. Have them send us an email with a link to some video highlights.”
-Steve Gomez, Lubbock Christian Women’s Head Basketball Coach
“Bottom line, the alpha and the omega of the list of people we trust regarding a recruit is the high school coach or high school coaches.”
-Mark Henninger, Head Football Coach of Marian University
“For our program specifically, I would advise a young man to have his high school coach or AAU coach reach out to our staff, on his behalf. If that recruit truly has the ability to play at this level, it is going to take a personal conversation with his coach for us to even consider taking the next step.”
-Billy Kennedy, Head Basketball Coach Texas A&M University
“Really we didn’t trust anyone other than our coaching staff and the player’s high school coach. Our coaching staff handled all aspects of recruiting. We didn’t rely on anyone else, but if a high school coach had any hesitation about a player, we were out!”
-Mack Brown, Head Football coach at University of North Carolina