Must-Know College Recruiting Strategies: Contacting Coaches

The recruiting process is constantly changing. The methods and rules are forever evolving, which makes it difficult to keep up with what you can and can’t do. It is important for high school athletes who are looking to get recruited to play college sports to stay on top of important information that can affect their ability to get recruited.

The one thing that will always remain a crucial part of the recruiting process is the importance of contacting college coaches. Unless you are in the top 1% of high school athletes who are in the elite levels for recruitment, chance are you will need to make that initial contact. There are too many high school athletes out there who assume that they are good enough in their sport that they will be found and followed by college coaches from all over the country. Or they think that their high school or club coach will do the work for them. This is almost never the case, and far too often these athletes are learning their mistakes late.

College coaches often times do not have the time, staff, or budget to search and follow all of the recruits that they could be interested in. That is why high school athletes should get in the habit of making the contact with coaches first. If you wait around for college coaches to find you, great opportunities to compete in college could pass you by.

Before you start contacting a hundred different schools, you need to do your research first. Make sure you know what you are looking for in a school to help you narrow down the list of possibilities. Think about things like location, climate, your major of study, size of school, and the academic requirements. Also, you should talk to your high school or club coach about what division level they feel you might do well in. The best way to get the most responses from coaches is to know and understand the division levels and where you would play best at. It’s always great to aim high but if you only contact the top DI schools, don’t expect many positive responses.

Once you have developed a list of schools, you will need to compile a sports resume and highlight video. These are essential to presenting yourself to the coach in best way possible; after all, first impressions are everything. By sending the information to them directly, you are saving them a lot of time and effort in having to ask you for it or go searching for it. Make sure when you also include a personalized letter to each coach you contact; nothing turns off a college coach more than an impersonal mass email sent to hundreds of schools.

When you are ready to start contacting the schools on your list, you will need to find the email addresses of the coaches at those programs. You can find this information on many of the athletic departments’ staff pages on their websites. Once you have established contact with them, it is equally as important to follow-up with them and keep them updated on your progress. Building this relationship with possible college coaches can make or break your recruiting success.

Do you have particular questions about your recruiting process? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

College Recruiting Mistakes #6: Letters & Phone Calls From Coaches

Despite all of Timmy’s mistakes, his pure athleticism has kept him in the recruiting game. Other recruits Timmy knows who have followed a relatively similar path have fallen by the wayside. At this point letters from all over the country have started to show up. Some are similar to the letter’s Timmy was receiving before while some have started arriving hand written. Timmy’s email has started to receive good action as well despite the really bad emails Timmy initially sent out.

Impressed with the letters he received, he treated them as trophies, decorating his locker and basking in his glory. If there ever was a time Timmy was on a recruiting high, this was it! When asked about the letters and who was sending them, Timmy couldn’t tell you. He couldn’t even tell you if he had read most and there was no question on if he has responded to any of them.

Timmy was getting phone calls nightly, and he was mid-way into his senior football season before he thought about returning a phone call to any coach that called. He really was just interested in having fun with his friends. He kept telling people if they are interested in me, they will keep calling.

This week I featured 4 mistakes made by Timmy. Spot them and correct them!

Timmy’s Mistakes from College Recruiting Mistakes #5: The Showcase

#1 . “By this point Timmy’s junior season has come to an end and Timmy still has never had a quality conversation with a college coach.”

Correction: Timmy should have already had multiple conversations with coaches by this point. Don’t get caught in the “I’m not allowed to speak with college coaches because I’m not a senior” garbage. Timmy should have been emailing coaches for at least one year at this point.

#2 “Timmy also decided to take time away from the weight room at this point as well.”

Correction: Taking time away from the weight room means not getting better; this is something Timmy, nor any recruit can afford to do. Timmy should strive to get better every chance he has.

#3 “Timmy had high hopes of finding a D1 school that let him play both football and baseball.”

Correction: While it’s admirable that Timmy wanted to play both sports in college it’s rather rare to find a school that allows this to happen, at least at the larger DI & sometimes II schools. Most times they want athletes to focus on one sport, and as a high school athlete it’s sometimes wise to do the same.

#4 “While Timmy was at the showcase he played well, well enough that he thought he should be called by most of the coaches in “attendance.”

Correction: Playing well at a showcase isn’t a guarantee of anyone getting recruited. Just because Timmy played well doesn’t mean he was noticed by any coaches. Furthermore, just because showcases advertise all the coaches showing up, it doesn’t mean they are actually in attendance. Many times showcases use this to boost attendance while advertised coaching staffs never make the trip. It’s very important to contact any coach who is “supposed” to be in attendance before signing up for the showcase once his attendance has been confirmed.

Do you have particular questions about your recruiting process? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Start Preparing for College Now

Knowing you want to play sports in college is one thing, being able to maintain and juggle sports and college is going to be something completely new to incoming student-athletes. It’s often one of the last things considered by incoming freshman, but is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy college life.

The recruiting process can be intense and extremely time consuming which can lead potential college athletes in many directions as they work on preparing for college. As recruits move forward in high school and their recruitment they need to start to ask themselves what it is they will need to work on before they are enter into college life, this can range from specific athletic skills, to making sure their grades will maintain, but the most important skill recruits will need to prepare for early is managing their time.

Part of the process of becoming academically eligible to play at the college level is to ensure potential recruits will be able to keep up with college academics while maintain their athletic obligations. Don’t think that because you are a top athlete who carries the team and can put up the stats that you are exempt from making the grades. College athletes are held to a higher standard and are expected to meet and exceed the standards of the rest of the college student-body.

What the vets are saying

The number one advice veteran college athletes are going to give to freshman coming into a program is to be prepared to manage all of your time. Knowing how to manage time and to keep up to date with important tasks will take the stress out of day to day activities. Start connecting with potential teammates and ask them how they coped with the change of high school to college. The more insights you are able to get the better your chances of using your time wisely.

Have a plan

Because college athletes will be asked to manage a lot, they will need to begin preparing early on how they plan to juggle, school, practice, homework, games, etc. Recruits need to be able to accomplish all of the tasks while in High school, which will be great practice for college sports. Athletes need to start planning early; get familiar with planning out your upcoming day, week and month in advance. This will show you where your free-time is and how you are expected to meet deadlines.

Managing time is a valuable tool for all student-athletes and those who are able to do it well will have a greater appreciation for the free-time they do have. They will be able to take the skill with them wherever they go.

If you have more questions about how to prepare for college than leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Get Recruited in the World’s Most Popular Sport

Why Soccer Recruiting is Tough Work

Here in the U.S., sports like football, basketball, and baseball seem to dominate our
society’s favorite hobbies. These sports are very popular at all levels, from elementary school recreation leagues to college teams and the pros. Sports are a huge part of our culture and millions of fans identify with these sports in some way.

Internationally, however, soccer is considered the most popular sport. It has a huge European following and there are tons of countries in Africa and South America who have been playing some version of soccer for decades. While soccer consumption is growing in the U.S., its popularity worldwide has been significant for a long time and has a rich history in the cultures of many countries.

There are thousands of international student-athletes who are looking for an opportunity to come to the U.S. and earn a soccer scholarship while attending college. We get tons of athletes from all over asking us questions about getting a scholarship to play soccer in college. Because of the interest from students both here in the States and internationally, soccer has become a highly competitive college sport, which means it makes it that much harder to earn a scholarship for it.

To give yourself an edge in soccer recruiting, you should take these tips into consideration:

Know Where to Target Your Efforts

In order for you to find your best chance at a soccer scholarship, you have to know what level you fit best in. Elite level soccer players with competitive club success and possible Olympic Development experience should aim for Division I programs. By knowing what level you fit best in, you can take more time and effort focusing on those opportunities that you have a better chance of earning. You will have more time to develop relationships with the coaches who have a genuine interest in you and find out more about their school so you can make a more informed decision.

Have a Polished Resume and Highlight Video

College coaches don’t have the time to constantly ask athletes for more information about their skill level. That is why you should be prepared with all the necessary information to send to coaches from the first contact. Your soccer resume should have a personalized cover letter and a summary of your academic and athletic statistics. Make sure you are giving the coaches the most recent and most updated information. They don’t want your soccer stats from two years ago; they want to know that you are still playing competitively and collecting stats.

Your highlight video should be a compilation of footage that demonstrates your ball handling skills, offense and defense plays, and your ability to play the field and work with your team. It is important that you are clearly visible to the college coach so they can pick you out easily in the video. They can’t evaluate you if they can’t see you!

Do you have particular questions about your recruiting process? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

College Recruiting Mistakes #5: The Showcase

college recruiting mistakes showcasesTimmy’s second sent out wasn’t much more successful than his first; coaches just didn’t seem to respond to the information Timmy’s mom sent out on Timmy’s behalf. By this point Timmy’s junior season has come to an end and Timmy still has never had a quality conversation with a college coach. After the debacle Timmy had last season with basketball he decided to sit this year out, taking the entire winter off from sports. Timmy also decided to take time away weight room at this point as well.

As the winter turned into spring Timmy faced the choice of running track as he did last season or playing baseball which he skipped last year to run track; Timmy decided baseball was his best bet. Not being sure of which sport he wanted to play in college Timmy felt baseball opened up another avenue if football were to fall through. Timmy had high hopes of finding a D1 school that let him play both football and baseball.

To further his opportunities at getting noticed Timmy’s parents enrolled him into a national baseball showcase being held a couple hours away. Timmy jumped at the chance to show his skills! While Timmy was at the showcase he played well, well enough to where he thought he should be called by most of the coaches in “attendance.” When Timmy got home from the showcase he spent the next week hovering near the mailbox practically tackling the mailman every time he came around. Timmy’s disappointment grew each day passes because nothing was coming in the mail for him.

Timmy’s Mistakes

This week features 4 mistakes made by Timmy, SPOT THEM, and CORRECT THEM!

Mistakes from College Recruiting Mistakes: Contacting Coaches

#1 “They figured that Timmy’s coaches would be on the phone daily marketing him to college coaches all over the country who would want Timmy to play for their school.”
Correction: The biggest mistake a recruit can make is to rely on their coach for recruiting. It’s not your coach’s responsibility, it’s yours. If you are lucky your coach will lend a helping hand but don’t count on it being there.

#2 “Timmy’s mom did most of the work and then when finished she put together an email to send to these coaches.”
Correction: I always hear about Mom’s and Dad’s doing their kids recruiting for them. Again, it’s not Mom and Dad’s responsibility, it’s yours! Coaches don’t enjoy hearing from Mommy and Daddy, they want to hear directly from you because you are the person that COULD be playing for them. You need to step up and start working for something you want!

#3 “Check out my son, he’s the greatest football player ever! www.Timmy’”
Correction: Quite possibly the worst title an email can have. It screams “I don’t have a clue who you are, what you can offer me, what I’m doing, I’m immature,” and much more. Email titles should list the Athlete’s name, height, weight, position, & GPA. If it fits add it some accomplishment as well
Ex. Timmy Sims, 6’1 205lbs, LB/TE, 3.86GPA, 2x 1st Team All-Conference Honors
This title is intriguing, I want to open the email and learn about this young man.

#4 “Timmy’s Mom copied every contact address she could find online into the email and sent it out.”
Correction: College coaches aren’t very positive towards mass email send outs. It tells them you are lazy and you didn’t care enough to learn about them or their program; why should they want to learn about you? Coaches enjoy responding to athletes who have clearly thought out why they have a particular interest in the school is it academics, a major offered, coaching staff, location, etc.?

#5 “With his mother’s help again they decided to give it another try sending out the same email to the same list of coaches…”
Correction: If responses weren’t good the first time doesn’t it make sense to change the method? Timmy’s first send out was clearly unsuccessful which meant he should have scrapped it, done some research about better ways to contact coaches , and followed a new plan of action.

Do you have particular questions about your recruiting process? Leave them in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Easiest Way To Speak With College Coaches

Introduce Yourself to College CoachesThe most important part of the recruiting process can be summed up into one essential item; getting in contact and building relationships with college coaches. Many recruits come to us asking how to get recruited and begin to explain that they have had no college coaches or college scouts contact them or attend any of their games.

The truth is it’s up to the recruit to make contact with college coaches

Potential sports recruits have lots of added pressure when making their decision on where to attend college, including, performance in their sport, keeping up with their grades, and to get their name out to college coaches. It’s no wonder most get burnt out and don’t make it through a successful recruiting process.

Keep in mind college coaches, especially ones at smaller less known schools have limited budget for their recruiting; they have to rely on recruits finding them. This is why it is important to get your name and information out to college coaches early in your recruitment.

How early is too early?

We recommend you begin contacting college coaches during your tenth grade year. This way you will have some sense of where you want to play, what division level you will be aiming for and what you will want to major in.

In order for college coaches to see the type of player you are you will need to send them the right information. They will need to know all about you, including your grades, playing experience and teams you have participated on. Another great way to get their attention is to send them current video. This will allow them to easily access your level and see if you will be a good match for their program.

You may not hear from them right away

College coaches are busy people, even at smaller colleges. They will not always have the time to reply to a potential recruits email and they certainly will not waste their time on replying to mass emails; addressed to hundreds of college coaches at a time. Make sure you are sending coaches personalized information regarding why you are interested in their program and details and to what drew you to their program.

Another reason coaches will not be able to reply to potential recruits is due to NCAA division I and NCAA division II recruiting time periods. These time periods are strict, in a sense, coaches must follow through and only talk with recruits during specific NCAA specified times or they risk being penalized in their future recruiting ventures.

Not all colleges are bound to the recruiting time periods

NCAA division III, NAIA and junior college coaches have less restrictive recruiting periods of when they can talk with coaches. Being able to talk to college coaches is a great way to get feedback and ask for advice. Don’t feel restricted on the division level you choose instead, reach out to college programs you are truly interested in and want to play for.

If you have more questions about getting in touch with college coaches than leave a comment below of connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Read This Before You Register with the Eligibility Center

Understanding NCAA or NAIA EligibilityDo more in your recruiting

Many high school athletes are under the impression that registering with the NCAA or NAIA eligibility center early will get them recruited to play college sports. Unfortunately, this is not the case. High school athletes will need to put in a lot more effort in getting recruited besides meeting initial eligibility.

Registering with either the NCAA or the NAIA eligibility centers is a process in which potential student-athletes must go through in order to be ELIGIBLE to participate in college sports at those levels. That’s right the NCAA, NAIA and individual college institutions want to make sure their future student-athletes have what it takes to play at the college level and to meet academic standards at or above the rest of the student body population.

Why you need to be eligible

The NCAA, NAIA and individual colleges require athletes to continue meeting eligibility requirements throughout their college career. Keep in mind student-athletes are students first and athletes second. College student-athletes will be required to work on meeting their degree requirement’s each semester. Athletes must be able to perform in the classroom along with on the court in order to keep their athletic scholarship and remain eligible to continuing playing on the team.

Why you will not need to register with the eligibility center

Student-athletes often hear from their current coaches or a friend-of- a-friend who tells them; in order to play college sports you need to register with the clearinghouse/eligibility center. This is true if you are planning to play at the NCAA division I or NCAA division II level; however there are more college levels available to student-athletes looking to compete. Other college levels such as NCAA division III and NJCAA (junior colleges) do not require athletes to register with an eligibility center. The NAIA also has its own eligibility center where athletes must register in order to compete at that level.

Why you will not get recruited once you meet initial eligibility

Because the NAIA and NCAA (division I and division II) levels offer student-athletes funding in terms of athletic scholarships they need to ensure student-athletes are prepared for college both academically and athletically. The eligibility process assists college coaches by making sure athletes they are interested in; meet general requirements to play at the college level.

Athletes need to be aware of what it means to register with the NAIA and NCAA eligibility center

Registering with the NAIA or NCAA eligibility center does not mean an athlete’s information will automatically be viewed by college coaches. In any case college coaches do not even access potential student-athletes information until they are serious about recruiting them. Thousands of students each year register with the NCAA eligibility and their information is never fully processed because college coaches are not interested in recruiting them; most likely because coaches do not know anything about the player.

The NAIA eligibility center has some extra options

During the eligibility process for the NAIA there are added options, where potential student-athletes will be able to send their sports resume and eligibility registration to 5 NAIA coaches they choose. This is a great tool which may spark conversations between athletes and coaches. It’s not recommend for athletes to rely solely on this type of communication, but it can help with the recruiting process.

College sports scholarship and recruiting tips and insights.

If you have more questions about either eligibility center than leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Discuss Athletic Scholarships With Coaches

discussing scholarships with coachesHigh school athletes in the recruiting process understand all the work that goes into it. Not only are you working hard to perform your best on the field and in school, but you also need to stay organized as you search for the college program that is right for you. Between emails, letters, and phone calls, it’s very easy to lose track of your progress when trying to get recruited.

High school athletes who are looking to get recruited will compile a sports resume and a highlight video to send to college coaches. These items are crucial in your introduction to college coaches because they won’t respond to you without them. College coaches are busy and need your information put right in front of them if they are ever going to garner interest in you.

After you get in contact with college coaches, you will start a series of conversations with them if they are interested in you. These contacts are all about getting to know you and watching your progress on your high school or club team. Developing a relationship with a college coach is something that happens slowly and over a long period of time. It is important to take the time to become familiar with each other and make sure that this school is the right fit for you.

As the conversations continue and you know for sure that the coach is interested in pursuing you as a potential student-athlete, you will start to get curious about where you stand against other recruits. If you are looking for an athletic scholarship, it may be time to start asking the college coach these questions. The timing of these questions can be crucial, so make sure not to ask them too early in the process; coaches will be turned off by athletes who are just looking for money and not truly dedicated to contributing to the team.

When you feel ready to discuss scholarships with college coaches, here are some tips to help you negotiate a better scholarship opportunity:

  1. Be realistic: Earning a full ride scholarship is rare and only saved for the top-tier athletes. You need to understand and realize that an opportunity for any scholarship at all is great and not to snuff at coaches who don’t offer you more than you think you deserve. Make sure to have a discussion with your family about what you can afford to pay for college, and be honest to the coach about it.
  2. Watch your commitments: Make sure to take the time to talk to college coaches about scholarships before you make any verbal commitments. Be honest to the coaches about who else you are talking to but you don’t have to share what the other schools may be offering. You don’t want to rush into a verbal commitment that you back out of because the coaching community is well connected and your value as a potential student athlete may crumble.
  3. Don’t wait too long: As you start getting scholarship offers, you will want to take time to make the right decision. It’s about more than just the money; you want to consider the school, coach, and many other things that will affect your experience. But if you take too long in making your decision, coaches will move on to the next athlete of their choice. Never assume that the coach will wait to hear from you because their goal is to get their roster set. If they have another athlete who is ready to commit, chances are they will offer the scholarship to them.

Need more help talking about scholarships? Ask us your questions on Facebook and Twitter

College Recruiting Mistakes #4: Contacting Coaches

common college recruiting mistakesPicking up from last week, Timmy is mid junior year and loving football . He knew it was his time to shine and he isn’t disappointing his coaches or the crowds that seem to continue to grow each week. What was frustrating Timmy and his family was the lack of college coach attention he was receiving. They figured that Timmy’s coaches would be on the phone daily marketing him to college coaches all over the country who would want Timmy to play for their school.

Realizing that Timmy’s coaches were dropping the ball Timmy’s family decided to start contacting coaches on their own. They spent hours scouring the internet compiling coaches contact information. Timmy’s mom did most of the work and then when finished she put together an email to send to these coaches. Her email said:

“Check out my son, he’s the greatest football player ever! www.Timmy’”

Timmy’s Mom copied every contact address she could find online into the email and sent it out. Both Timmy and his mom were very pleased with their work knowing that as soon as coaches watched that highlight reel they would fall in line for Timmy’s services.

Days then a couple weeks past and Timmy hadn’t received one response from anyone an email was sent to. With his mother’s help again they decided to give it another try sending out the same email to the same list of coaches…

Timmy’s Mistakes

This week Timmy committed 5 mistakes! Can you find and correct them in the comment section of this blog?

Mistakes from College Recruiting Mistakes: Summer Camps

#1 “This excited his parents, they thought the more Timmy was featured in the newspaper, the more coaches were going to notice him.”
Correction- College coaches don’t pay attention to which student-athletes are or are not in the newspaper for recruiting purposes. Furthermore, sending newspaper clips to college coaches does not help a student-athletes opportunities.

#2 “As Timmy ventured into basketball season he felt disconnected with the sport subsequently affecting his playing ability and statistics.”
Correction- College coaches pay attention to your participation in other sports, if you slack in playing another sport a coach could question your character and commitment further hurting your scholarship opportunities. Best advice is play hard or don’t play at all.

#3 “Timmy decided to give Track a try during the spring and forwent an opportunity with the varsity baseball team.”
Correction- While injuries can never be foreseen Timmy gave up a sport he had long played for a new adventure, admirable but risky.

#4 “This injury ended his track season and ended his opportunity to attend any combines, tournaments, or showcases during the spring and early summer.”
Correction- Since Timmy was hurt, likely from continuous participation in sports every season, he lost out on great opportunities to be evaluated by college coaches.

#5 “Not knowing much about the camps other than which ones his teammates previously selected, Timmy went all in.”
Correction- You should never enter into a camp blind. Make sure to do serious research into what the camp is going to offer you beyond an opportunity to learn some new skills. Reach out to the coaches, learn about the school, the city, etc.

#6 “Timmy was one of the best players on his team, he had the stats, and he started getting form letters from schools ranging in division; Timmy thought his time to be recruited had started… his dreams were coming true!”
Correction- Timmy, like many high school athletes, started receiving form letters which are to garner your interest in their school. THEY ARE NOT RECRUITING YOU. If Timmy had gotten a hand written letter then we would have a different story.

#7 “He thought he might start to contact coaches after the season but for now since he was getting letters they were obviously interested in him.”
Correction- Timmy should have thought about contacting coaches before his junior summer not after his junior season. His junior year should have been filled with evaluations and now coaches don’t even know who Timmy is.

Do you have questions about recruiting mistakes you might be making? Leave your questions in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

How to be Better at Recruiting Than Your Competition

Stay With The Recruiting ProcessIt’s one thing to say you have what it takes to get recruited, but another to be willing to make your recruiting happen for you. Many potential high school recruits contact us looking for direction; they have multiple questions about how to get recruited and are extremely enthusiastic about getting started, but soon enough they do not see the results they had hoped for and give up.

Don’t get frustrated

The recruiting process can be a complicated web of procedures, eligibility standards and compliance rules which is why we are here to help recruits understand. Getting recruited will no doubt be frustrating; the results you are hoping for will not be there right away. This is just the way it goes. Too many times we see once eager recruits throwing in the towel too soon before they have a chance to see the opportunities they could have had.

Many times athletes have a great junior year and wonder why college coaches have not found them. They wonder if they have what it takes to compete at the college level, since no college coaches have showed any interest in them. Some athletes give up their dream to play at the college level, because they don’t receive the gratification from coaches they are looking for. What recruits need to do is dedicate enough time to being recruited and to locating the right college program for them.

You are not going to see quick results

If you are looking for immediate satisfaction, you’re probably not going to find it with the recruiting process. Potential athletic recruits want to feel they are the best and want to have coach’s competing over them. Of course, this is what all potential college athletes want, but unfortunately it’s not going to happen unless you are the top of the top in the country.

Asking questions is the best way to learn

Athletes who are going to be successful in their recruiting are going to need to learn the ins and outs of the recruiting process. They are going to need to ask many questions. And put in the time to seek out the best college program for them.

Being Successful

In order to be successful in your recruiting process, you will need to understand the recruiting process and reach out to college coaches. College coaches want to hear from athletes they do not always have the time or money to see all potential athletes’ play which is why making contact and letting coaches know of your interest will be beneficial in your recruitment.

Remember to be patient, ask questions and stick with your goal of getting recruited. The more time you put into the process the better your chances of playing at the college level.

If you have any other questions about sticking with your recruiting process than leave a comment below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.