Is It Ever Too Early
Can recruiting start too early? Not if you are in high school. Should coaches be trolling the little league fields looking for their next starting pitcher? Probably not.
Just in the last year one prominent football school made headlines when it got a verbal commit from a seventh grade quarterback. Really? There is being diligent and proactive and then there is crossing the line.
Recruiting can vary from sport to sport. A great rule of thumb is to actively start the recruiting process your freshman year of high school.
What You Should be Doing Freshman Year
During your freshman year you will want to meet with your high school counselor and come up with an academic game plan. Make sure you are meeting all the needs of the NCAA and NAIA in addition to the specific colleges that interest you. Look for summer camps that will help you develop as a student-athlete and gain you some valuable exposure to coaches as well.
During your sophomore year research programs you are interested in and contact coaches. Despite the common misconception, you as an athlete are allowed to contact coaches and talk to them, they are just not allowed to initiate the conversation. The summer after your sophomore year you should consider attending the camps held by those teams–this is a great way for coaches to see you in action, learn more about you, your work ethic, and your character.
Your junior year is the most important in the recruiting process. This is the year coaches will be looking at your statistics and the admissions department will be looking at your academic achievements. Make sure that you have already established a relationship with coaches so that when your senior year starts they already know that you are interested in their program.
By the time you start your senior year you should have narrowed down your list of possible schools to five or six. If you have not already established a relationship with the coach then you should do it at this point. You don’t want to miss getting recruited because you waited too long.
Find Your Happy Place
There is a happy balance when trying to get noticed by coaches. If you start too young coaches won’t want to talk to you because they are trying to focus on the next couple of years of recruits.
On the other hand if you wait too long you could miss opportunities that have already gone to other athletes since coaches were not aware of your talents or that you were interested in their program.