With hundreds of athletes interacting with us over the course of the year, one of the things that I have to step in and assist with a lot if the college recruiting process. Whether it is contacting coaches in my network, speaking with parents about expectations, or giving parents even the most basic of info – most families have no idea what to truly expect.
While every athletes dream is to “play D1” often times it can be more personally, and financially rewarding to forgo that level in favor of better opportunities at other schools.
Here are some quick thoughts on the recruiting process:
If you are good, they will find you!
Yes and no.
Obviously, if you want to be drafted in baseball or earn a college scholarship, you have to be able to play! Yet, it is important to remember that you do need to take some initiative in your recruiting process. Filling out recruiting papers, working on highlight videos, creating an athletic and academic resume are all important steps in the process.
While the top 5% of athletes in any area will have coaches wanting them, the other athletes have to garner attention and create their own opportunities.
Play well, but make sure you have done the back end so coaches know you have your hand up to be selected.
Coaches will call you and find you, just play well and it will take care of itself.
No it won’t. See part 1.
Additionally, coaches cannot contact athletes until into their junior year. You may get letters, or see a coach at a camp who speaks with you, but if you think they are coming after you early and often you are mistaken. Only the truly elite get this attention, and coaches will have boards pegged early, you better be on it
Contacting coaches with your athletic and academic resume and asking what camps are available that their school will be at is important. Do some homework though! If you contact a coach but don’t know the name of the team or how they have played in the last year or more, people will notice.
I want to go to a D1 school to play on a scholarship!
Why? Is it for prestige or because you are good enough to play at that level and compete well.
There are tons of athletes at the D2 level that can play D1. Heck, there are players at the D3 level that can play D1. Being honest with why this is important is essential to your success. Is it because you believe D1 schools have all the money? Or that you best chance of making it pro is at a D1 school?
Here is the truth: Most athletes who are good enough to go pro, know this fairly young. Whether they make it often comes down to a number of factors, not solely where they went to school. If you aren’t in a highly competitive school and aren’t playing varsity sports as a Freshman/Sophmore you aren’t going pro.
So the next question comes down to what level you have played, how well you have played, and what your coaches (not your parents) have said are your abilities.
If they say low level D1 to D2, you have to make a choice.
What is important? Is it money, area, competitiveness, team success, playing time, or development? All of these are important and should be waited in any scenario. Yet when you do, you may see that the D3 school may be able to get you financial aid help for academics, and that it is also $3,000 cheaper. On top of that they won a conference title and played in regionals. A player got drafted from their school as well the year before. The best part, they have a great business program and access to a lot of resources that would benefit you.
See where I am going?
At the end of the day, barely anyone athletes gets a full scholarship outside of football or basketball. Then those athletes have to contend with playing time and roles on the team. Do you want to be the first guy off the bench for a good D1 team, or a key starter for a championship level D2 school.
Don’t get caught up in hype, follow what feels right and make sure you are following what I said in step 1
Going to team’s camps and showcases is the best chance for me to get a college scholarship!
Camps and showcases can be awesome places to highlight your skills and make a name for yourself in the college recruiting process. However, it takes homework and a game plan first before you really start to get the fruit from this process.
Showing up at a camp without reaching out to the coach first with your athletic and academic resume makes you just another face in the crowd. If you have a solid but not outstanding day, you may not get the full attention you wanted.
Contact coaches about the camp (with your info), tell them you are excited for the chance to workout with them and see more about the school, and try and work your way into introducing yourself in person when you get there.
Don’t go in with the plan that you will go 5 for 5 with 3 home-runs, or lock down the #1 tight-end in the country, or score a goal on an ESPN ranked goalie in lacrosse. Make it hard to ignore you at a few different steps in the process.
Don’t make this mistake
Waiting is the biggest mistake I see in college recruiting. Oh I am just a freshman, I have time.
Nope, there are kids on better teams, having better days at better camps than you are. They are trying for the same goals that you are, and they live possible 15 minutes away from you and you don’t even know them.
Get involved as early as possible, set a plan, and move action-ably towards the goals each year.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get what you always wanted.
Though it might look different then you had planned.