Respect the Process.
The recruiting process can be exciting, brutal and tiresome for you, especially if your son or daughter is currently being recruited by high major college teams. Even if your son or daughter is not currently being recruited, there are many things you can do to help in the process. A couple years ago, a good friend of mine took on the role of encouraging her 6’2” daughter to contact colleges regarding the possibility of playing volleyball for them. Last year she received a full scholarship! That means she now gets to continue playing competitive volleyball and earn a university degree for Free!
So let’s begin with a misconception believed by many student-athletes and their parents, that high school coaches, AAU coaches, or high school athletic directors are responsible for helping athletes get recruited. Many believe it is part of their job to connect you with colleges, and some will try to take over the process.
My advice to parents is this: stay involved in the recruitment process and do not let anyone take it over for you.
It’s great if your child’s high school coach can help you with recruiting, but don’t count on it. Some high school coaches can be helpful and will do the best they can to help connect their student athletes with colleges, while still keeping parents in the loop. But many coaches have their own best interest in mind, not yours. And, most high school coaches don’t have the time or recruiting knowledge needed to best help your child with the entire recruiting process. Therefore, you need to take the recruiting process into your own hands and start reaching out to college coaches on your own if they are not already contacting you. You can build relationships with college coaches and find out who will be interested in recruiting your son or daughter.
If college coaches are not contacting you or your child, be proactive and let them know you are interested in their program. Senior year is the time to start taking official visits to college campuses, but remember they have to be offered to you first! If you are not offered official visits, be sure you’re taking unofficial visits and talking to the team coaches while you’re on campus. The Early Signing Period starts the second week of November for basketball and a few other sports. Football has their Regular Signing Period starting the first week of February. And the Regular Signing Period for many other sports starts in April and ends August 1st. Many athletes like to sign their National Letter of Intent early in their senior year so that they can relax, enjoy school, and know where they will attend college and compete in their favorite sport.
ADVICE TO STUDENT ATHLETES
Only a small percentage of high school student athletes go on to play collegiate sports. Less than 1% receive scholarships to play Division I, DII, and DIII sports. Therefore, you have to help yourself become part of that elite group.
Here are some things you can do to make yourself stand out and get noticed by college coaches.
Always work hard and be responsible for yourself.
Anytime you are at games, camps or tournaments, show good sportsmanship, carry your own equipment rather than letting mom or dad carry it for you, introduce yourself and shake hands with college coaches if you have the opportunity, respect the officials and don’t argue with them, focus on your grades.
When you have the opportunity, visit college campuses – as many as you can.
Call ahead and let the coaching staff know that you will be on campus and would like to introduce yourself. Bring highlight video and transcripts, or send them in emails to coaches that include links to videos and the date you will be on campus. When you contact college coaches, also let them know what dates and times you’ll be competing with your high school or AAU team, and ask them if they will take the time to evaluate you. Show sincere interest in earning a scholarship. Remember that although you may not be talented enough to play at your dream DI college, you still may have many opportunities to play the sport you love while earning a college degree for free!
Cheer for Others.
Coaches are watching. Make them want you. Show college coaches that you are not only a dedicated athlete but also a person of good character. Shake hands with the opposing team’s coaches and with the officials when possible. If you are taken out of the game, cheer on your teammates and show them you care most about the success of the team.
Take control of your image on Social Media.
As Coach Self teaches his basketball players at KU, always be in control of ‘branding’ your image as an athlete. Remember that your ‘brand’ will represent who you are and will follow you into college and professional life. Be appropriate and never use offensive language. Ignore the haters and never post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see. Practice good sportsmanship by sending shout outs and positive messages to other athletes and teams when they do a good job. Remember that coaches will watch your social media posts when they are recruiting you.
Understand NCAA Eligibility rules.
NCAA colleges and universities set rules and regulations to ensure all student athletes meet NCAA standards, including required high school courses and GPA. The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies that college bound athletes who wish to compete in Division I or II athletic programs have met necessary academic credentials and are of amateur status. Important things to know:
You must register and be qualified through the NCAA Eligibility center before you can attend official visits.
Your best SAT or ACT scores will be considered therefore you should take the tests as often as possible in order to get your highest scores in each section.
You cannot compete in Division I or II if you have not been registered and qualified with the NCAA Eligibility center
Take academics seriously.
Your grades are vital to your success as a potential scholarship athlete from the time you enter 9th grade until your senior year. As a high school freshman it is critical that you understand the NCAA core course requirements that make student athletes eligible to play sports in college. You must stay on track with these requirements through your senior year so that you remain eligible for a full athletic scholarship to a college or university. You will need to meet these minimum requirements to be eligible through the NCAA Eligibility center. Your academic performance is also an indicator of your work ethic, which is very important to coaches.
Lastly – Parents and athletes, remember that even if you are not currently being recruited by the top D1 colleges, you may still be able to get yourself recruited if you are willing to work hard and be open to all of different opportunities that may become available to you.
Best of luck and enjoy the process!