If I’m Good Enough Coaches Will Find Me
I don’t know if it is more naive or self-important to think that you will be noticed by just being you. Not that you can’t be a great recruit both athletically and academically, but if you wait around for coaches to start knocking on your door you will most likely be unnecessarily limited in your college options.
Where to Start
The first step when trying to gain exposure is to gather sports-specific statisitics, game footage and letters of recommendations. College coaches are going to be interested in these items so you will want them handy. You will also want to start researching colleges you are potentially interested in.
Make a List
Start by making a list of priorities on what you are looking for in a school; geographic location, student population, majors offered and athletic division levels. Once you have identified these schools, do your research on their specific teams and how do you match up against their current athletes. Ask yourself if you fit into this school athletically and academically.
Don’t Play the Waiting Game
Now that you have narrowed down your list of schools this is when waiting around to be noticed is no longer an option. There is a big world out there with a lot of other student-athletes who are talented in your sport, a coach can not recruit you if they don’t know about you and if they don’t know you are interested in them.
NCAA rules states that a coach can only contact you with in certain times and periods, but this is not true about the athlete. Student-athletes have the right to take initiative and contact coaches whenever they like.
Introduce Yourself to the Coach
Before your initial contact with the coach, you will want to go to their website and fill out their recruiting questionnaire. This will allow the coach to be familiar with you before you approach them. If you choose to contact a coach via mail or email, you will want to put together a resume and stat sheet listing your accomplishments both academically and athletically.
Don’t forget to write a little something about yourself to introduce you to the coach and explain why you are interested in their school. It is also helpful to add personal references that coaches can call to talk to someone about your character–coaches, teachers, academic advisers are a great place to start.
Understand the Recruiting Cycle for Your Coach
If you choose to call a coach be mindful of what month of the year you are calling them. If you call during their season chances are this is a busy time and they are not focusing on returning recruits phone calls. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t immediately call you back–sometimes email is a better communication avenue for them.
Prepare in Advance
Every coach likes to communicate differently. When you do reach them make sure you are prepared and have specific questions you want to ask. What does the recruiting class look like for my year? What do you look for in a recruit? Are you recruiting for my position or event? Being confident and knowing what information you want out of the conversation will give the coach a good impression of you and make it more comfortable for both you and the coach to communicate. Remember to ask them what style of communication they prefer so that you can update them as you have improvements or updates.
Control Your Own Destiny
This is your recruiting process so you should take control of it, be proactive, professional and polite. You don’t want to find yourself with limited options because you waited around to be noticed.