Recruiting Column: Quit making excuses

Recruiting Column: Quit making excuses

High School Sports

Recruiting Column: Quit making excuses


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.

I’m a happy dude. I like to smile, and I like to see other people smile. I’ve been blessed with a natural tendency of constantly trying to turn negatives, into positives. It’s in my DNA!

That said, there is one thing I just can’t stay optimistic about. Excuses! I hate excuses! There is nothing worse than listening to a completely capable human being saying they can’t. In most cases, excuses are simply a way of saying “I don’t want to” or “I don’t care enough to figure it out”. In fact, it usually takes more effort to come up with an excuse than to just get the job done. What a waste of time!

Today I want to address some common excuses that high school athletes use when it comes to their college recruiting experience. Let’s get one thing straight; there are no reasonable excuses when it comes to college recruiting. You will either do what it takes to play in college, or you won’t. There is no in-between and the choice is solely yours!

Coach won’t help me

Ok, since your coach won’t help you, then don’t play in college. Are you good with that being the reason why you won’t play at the next level? I didn’t think so.

Here is a reality check to every high school athlete that is going through or will go through the college recruiting process: this is your career, not your coach’s career. You have to understand that regardless of whether you have a total stud or a total dud for a coach, it is not your coach that will be playing for you in college. So, why would you rely so heavily on his or her efforts to secure you a roster spot? I am not saying that a good coach can’t serve as a reference for you or provide support throughout your recruiting journey. I am saying that you should be the one driving the bus, not your coach.

Unfortunately, some coaches don’t help kids with college recruiting. If that applies to you, just accept it and move on down the line. I can guarantee you this; for every coach that won’t help you, there are 5 coaches that will help you! Whether it’s an assistant coach, a skills coach or even an opposing coach, you can find the support you need. Figure out what you want out of college, connect with college coaches and use a current coach for support. That is how it works.

College coaches don’t see me play

Fine. Since college coaches aren’t coming to your games, there’s just no way for you to become a college athlete. There’s nothing you can do. Good with this being the excuse? I wouldn’t be either.

It’s May 2019. There has never been a better time to be a recruit than now! This thing called the internet connects people all over the world. If college coaches aren’t coming to your town to see your team play, give them a reason to come see you play! Send an introductory email, connect on Twitter, send some game film and let a college coach know that you have interest in their program. Technology is your friend.

There’s a starting point to the college recruiting process for every athlete. For some, the starting point might not require much effort. For others, it may require a good amount of work to get the ball rolling. The key is to recognize, quickly, which category you fall under. If you play at a school/program that doesn’t have a track record of producing college athletes, get ready to do some work. The point here is that you are in control of the process, you just have to dive in.

My emails aren’t getting responses

Bummer. You sent 5 emails to 5 different college coaches and not one of those coaches responded. Looks like it just wasn’t meant to be. Is this the obstacle that you aren’t willing to overcome? Wow, I sure hope not.

Of all three of these excuses, this one can easily be the most disappointing. But as much of a letdown as it can be to not hear back from a college coach, it can also be the excuse you can learn the most from. Not every coach that you send an email to or follow on Twitter is going to acknowledge you. In fact, they may not be able to correspond with you due to NCAA rules and regulations. Or maybe you’re sending emails to programs that you have no business sending emails to! I know that might be hard to hear, but not every program that you have interest in is going to have interest in you.

If you’re trying to connect with coaches and you’re being ignored, make an adjustment. Increase the number of connections you are trying to make. Switch up the level and type of schools you are pursuing. Bottom line, no response is a response and it is still something that you have control over.

I am willing to bet that if you have the desire to play in college, you probably have some ability to match your desire. To become a college athlete, you cannot let excuses get in your way!


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