Feel like your athletic talents are going unnoticed? Not sure how to get recruited ? Here are the most effective strategies many athletes overlook when trying to earn a collegiate scholarship. You have all the keys to achieving your dreams and these simple steps will teach you how to get recruited…and better yet, how to recruit yourself.
- Recruit Yourself
- Build Your Recruiting Network
- Recruiters are watching everything
- Coaches Recruit Character
- Coaches Look at Grades
- Camps and Showcases
- Extra Tips
Key 1: Recruit Yourself
Yep, you read that right. You need to recruit yourself! Ever heard of being your own biggest fan? That is exactly the mindset that you need to get on college coaches’ radars. At first this may sound like an obvious step, but for me personally, this was the hardest to bring to fruition. Many athletes, similar to myself, have the mindset that schools will come to them, recruit them, or at least initiate contact. This is the first and perhaps the most lethal mistake to make as a striving collegiate athlete. If you think other athletes aren’t reaching out to these coaches sending emails and letters then you are mistaken. It is the sports-world after all and everyone is a competitor.
So what does this look like? How do you “recruit yourself ?” You’re are an athletically gifted individual who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to display their talents in front of the right people. This is very common and I promise have been in your shoes! Coaches are very busy recruiting, traveling, attending meetings…oh yeah and coaching an entire team! So, one great way to at least have them or someone on staff watch you play would be to send them film. Depending on the sport, many leagues have a platform where they upload game footage. For example Apps such as Hudl and MaxPreps, allow athletes to access game footage as well as clipping and editing videos. Check out this video below for more details on how to make a highlight tape that catches recruiters’ attention!
“You need to grab our attention in the first 90 seconds, if not before that. The footage is such a critical piece when you’re wanting to make that great, initial impression. We see a lot of mistakes on those videos, that I think neither the player, or the people helping them put the video together really consider. They don’t consider what that footage looks like through the eyes of a coach. They end up putting highlights on there, that aren’t really highlights.”Dan Stratford, University of Charleston
If neither of these apps work for you, having a close friend or family member film your events is also a great option! The most important thing is capturing this footage and being able to share it effectively. Like I mentioned above, it is very important that you are the catalyst of communication. Reach out first showing your interest and while you’re at it, attach your highlight tape in the email to add even more value to the conversation.
Key 2: Build Your Recruiting Network
I’m sure you have heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Like many areas of life, knowing people definitely can have it perks. Sometimes in more ways than you may have considered. This can play a key role is how to get recruited by certain coaches. For instance, my AAU basketball team was filled with really good players. Players that I viewed as being at a much higher level than myself. Playing with them not only made me better, but gained more traffic to my recruiting spectrum. Yes, many schools would come to watch my teammates play, but if I had a particularly good game they reached out to me. Coincidentally that is how I ended up earning my first division I basketball scholarship.
Having hosted too many recruit visits to count throughout my collegiate career, under two different coaching administrations, I have gained a tremendous insight on what coaches look for when recruiting a player. One major component that has skyrocketed in recent years is social media. You can tell a lot about a person through their posts, how they communicate and who they associate with online. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook seem to be most popular to today’s youth so use these to your advantage! Acknowledge your accomplishments, and share your goals. Follow your favorite teams, players, and coaches! It is a great way to show support as well as your interest in the program.
Before doing this, you want to make sure all your profiles are an accurate depiction of your character. Be aware of how you represent yourself. I have witnessed too many players, of whom were on the border of being offered a full-ride, be passed up on because of their vulgar language or explicit content on their social media pages. To combat that, be cautious of what you make public on your profiles. If you are debating whether or not to post something, odds are deep down you already know it is wrong. Im sure you have gotten this lecture several times already, but to drive home the message…”Once something is posted online it is out there forever!” Don’t let this discourage your online presence. When used the correct way, social media is a fantastic tool to advertise your accomplishments and put you on the map!
*Moral of this key (if you haven’t caught on yet) is to take advantage of social media. Post your accolades and future opportunities. Also support your friends achievements just as much as your own! Forget the misconception that it makes you look underachieving, because by doing this you are inadvertently building your recruiting own network! Online platforms are the rising future of how to get recruited!
For more tips on how to get recruited using social media, e-mailing and calling coaches, check out these awesome sites!
Key 3: Recruiters Are Watching EVERYTHING!
“We communicate all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Be aware of body language.”Pat Summit
Sports typically consist of one team competing against another. Add recruiting into the mix and athletes will even compete with their own teammates for a coach’s attention. We have all witnessed it. The boy who shoots everytime he touches the ball or the girl who tries to dribble through 5 players while her teammate is wide open up the field. I have been to enough showcase basketball camps to know exactly how frustrating these instances can be. Although it may seem like this is necessary to get noticed, this is not how to get recruited by your dream school. A common misconception is that players on the same team need to compete with one another for scouts’ attention, but this could not be further from the truth. Don’t be that player. Recruiters can sense these things and often turn the other direction. Be the player that is having fun. The one that other players enjoy being around. Exemplifying that you can work well with others is huge. Exemplifying that you can do all these things while experiencing adversity is even bigger.
One major feature that coaches are always watching is body language. Sure this means cheering a teammate on when they do something good, but it also means being the first one to help them up when they get knocked down. It is observing how a player adapts when something does not go their way. Do they shut down and blame others or do they face their battles head on. Body language is more than just eye contact and posture. While of course those things are important, so is making sure you high five each teammate when you are taken out of the game. It is your reaction to the referee when he makes a bad call or how you hide your exhaustion at the end of a long game. Always be aware of your body language both on and off the court because it could be the difference maker.
Key 4: Coaches Recruit Character
Before offering someone a full scholarship, coaches want to know that they are investing their time into someone worthy of this opportunity. Are you a hard worker? How do you respond when the going gets tough? How do you treat your friends, your family, or even a complete stranger? Finding a way to check all these additional boxes is how to get recruited. I have witnessed a coach retract a full scholarship he offered to a recruit after he observed the recruit be rude to her parents in their meeting. And this is not rare by any means. Many coaches will dig even deeper into your personal life by talking to your teachers, counselors, and classmates. These are the details that give them a better all-around understanding of the type of individual they are recruiting, and unless you are the next LeBron James, these details really matter. Don’t believe me? Check out Mike Brey, Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Coach, who claims character trumps talent in their program. (He also looks at social media!)
Key 5: Recruiters Look at Grades!
The very first thing we do after we see a young man play, is request his transcripts. That happens immediately and can be the first separator in determining whether we move forward with a young man. I think there’s a direct correlation between how a young man performs in the classroom and the kind of commitment or self-discipline he has. We need young men that are prepared for college work, and most of the time, the transcripts tell the other side of the story.Mike Fox, North Carolina
Grades are a major key in how to get recruited. One reason coaches love to recruit students with great grades is because it makes these athletes eligible for a better financial aid package, which makes college more affordable. This also better insures these athletes stick around for their full 4 years of eligibility. If coaches recruit players with good grades, they can spend less of their budget on each individual player because they have the financial flexibility to recruit even more talent for their teams. So just as much as coaches look at talent and character, coaches recruit student-athletes (in that order).
Another reason grades are extremely important is that the NCAA has a minimum grade point average that athletes must keep in order to stay eligible and participate in team competitions. An athlete struggling to pass high school classes may be a sign that they are not ready for the academic commitment that comes with a college education. So another way to keep recruiters’ attention away from the court or field is to grow and produce in the classroom.
Step 6: Camps and Showcases
Many people think traveling all around the country is how to get recruited. This is not necessarily true. You can save a lot of time and money by picking a few big showcases that you know many schools you are interested in will be attending. Coaching staffs typically advertise which tournaments they will be at in advance through their social media like below. Even so, reaching out to them with your schedule is another great way to show your interest and get on their radar.
Now unless you are a high school standout football star, the odds of a college scout attending your regular season high school games are slim to none. This is because it can be hard for coaches to compare players of different ages, skill level, and athletic capabilities. Coaches prefer to see you play in a more competitive setting surrounded by players of higher skill levels. In addition, not only are club teams easier to contact for recruiting purposes, but they are an essential key for how to get recruited during major scouting periods (Summer and Spring). This makes it easier for these coaches to make the commute and observe more players. Try to be aware of when these recruiting periods are as well as the dead periods (when coaches are not allowed to be in contact with recruits). They will also inform you of when coaches are allowed to contact you or have you visit their school. Understanding these rules can help your process go seamlessly. To learn more about NCAA recruiting rules check out this site!
Step 7: Extra Recruiting Tips
- Keep an open mind. You may have an idea of what you think you would like in school, but you may also find out a school has more to offer than what you assumed. Keeping an open mind is how to get recruited by a variety of schools with different coaching styles, sizes, and other features.
- Visit as many places as you can! Look at as many schools, attend as many meetings, and overnight visits with teams as possible because this is what will give you the best insight to what your 4 years would look like at each school.
- It is never too early to start your recruiting process. Coaches are recruiting younger and younger each year. Today some athletes are committing to their dream schools as early as the 7th grade.
- Always be polite. Even if a school that you are not interested in reaches out to you, being respectful is still of utmost importance. Coaches all talk and know each other. Sticking your nose up at smaller schools could be what bites you in the butt later when word gets around to the coaches at bigger schools. This is how to get recruited by a wide variety of coaches and expand your potential horizons for your dream search.
- Respond in a Prompt Manner. College coaches are busy people. If they are taking time out of their day to leave you voicemails, make sure you get back to them as soon as you can. This is how to get recruited faster and speed up the decision process.
If you are anything like I was, you are anxiously awaiting the end of this dreadful process. Being recruited is an exciting, yet very stressful time. One thing to remember on these visits and when interacting with these coaches is to be yourself. Anyone can put on a persona for a phone call or a quick day meeting, but these are your four years. Pick a place where you can surround yourself with people who accept and believe in you. If you are lucky enough to choose between many schools, choose the school who is fighting for you. Those are the people who believe in your potential and that is where your growth as a player and an individual will lye. I am rooting for you!