Starting the Recruiting Process
You think you might want to play your sport at the next level—now what? The recruiting process can be daunting and intimidating. Here are 5 tips to consider when getting started.
Tip 1: Figure out your WHY.
Why do you want to play at the next level? Is it just to get into college?
Could you envision a college experience where ~3-4 hours of your day go towards athletics?
If possible, try and crystallize what you want out of your college athletic experience. Outside of other factors in your college search, what matters to you in your athletic experience—play time? Strength of program? Team culture? Coaching staff? Athletic facilities?
While it’s okay to not be 100% sure of the answers to these questions, it is important to go beyond considering whether or not you want to play college athletics. Not only will this come through when talking with coaches throughout the recruiting process, but it will help you go after your goals and achieve them!
Tip 2: Understand the recruiting process.
The recruiting process has lots of terminology that can be confusing. Additionally, every sport has a slightly different timeline, different contact periods, varying recruiting class sizes and more.
Try and familiarize yourself with the specifics of the recruiting process for your sport to the best of your ability. It’s also important to understand what coaches are looking for at the next level, so that you can focus on honing your skills now!
Communicate with your coaches that you have an interest in playing at the next level and consider talking to people who have recently gone through the recruiting process to learn more.
Lastly, try to have an honest, self-aware gauge of your own ability and potential. This will help you use your time and energy effectively when considering what schools to reach out to.
Tip 3: Initiative, initiative, initiative!
Many student athletes think that the recruiting process happens to them. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
If you don’t know where to begin, start with filling out the questionnaire on the athletic website, and immediately sending an “intro” email to a school’s coaching staff with some basic information about yourself and your interest in their program. Mention that you filled out the questionnaire, and also include your academic stats, club or high school tournament schedule, and any available film (the more recent, the better) in the email. Film is incredibly helpful for schools; no need to worry about it being edited to perfection.
At any point, you can also cold call coaches—don’t be afraid to pick up the phone! This shows initiative, interest, and maturity.
If the coach replies to you, great! You’re on their radar. But if you hear nothing, be persistent and send another email or call. Coaches often get lots of interest emails, and it’s easy for them to slip through the cracks. Feel free to include more recent film, updates to your tournament schedule, any recent achievements or test scores.
If you intend to visit a college campus (or are interested in visiting) communicate that! The coaches may be able to meet with you and show you around.
While reaching out can seem scary and daunting, don’t forget that the recruiting process is in your hands!
Tip 4: Stay organized during the recruiting process.
Once you are on the radar of colleges, maintain correspondence with the coaches and foster a relationship.
Whether it’s using a spreadsheet or another method, make sure that you are tracking when you last contacted each school. Try and reach out around every six weeks to make sure schools are updated on your progress.
Tip 5: Be nice to everyone.
While this may seem obvious, this can be a make-or-break in the recruiting process.
If a college expresses interest in you and you are not interested in that university, be kind and responsive. Coaching networks are incredibly tight knit—they talk to each other at tournaments, conferences, etc. (they gossip!) What’s more: coaching shifts are very common. A coach recruiting you at School A could switch to School B!
Additionally, be nice to your teammates and coaches and parents on and off the court. Some coaches intentionally watch you during games when you are on the bench, just to see how you will act.
College coaches don’t need the help of high school or club coaches to formulate their own opinions about a prospect’s athletic ability—they can judge for themselves. But they often ask high school coaches: what type of teammate are they? How do they respond to not playing? How do they talk to their parents before or after a game?
Coaches recruit on athletics and academics, but they also recruit on character!
Do you have any questions about the recruiting process?
If you have any other questions about the recruiting process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. At Moxie, we have specialists who can help with staying on track in the recruiting process. Contact us to learn more about our college consulting services.