Will My Coach Get me Recruited?
I’ve seen this story play out many times in my role as a college recruiting expert. During these conversations the student-athlete or his parent informs me that he was hoping his coach was going to do everything. Never mind that the coach is teaching class, coaching, and possibly breaking down film and doesn’t have time to make personal phone calls and send letters on behalf of a student-athlete.
You Are Entitled to Nothing
The tone here reveals that this “service” is expected, that coaches are supposed to get the student-athlete recruited. Unfortunately for most coaches this is not true–some are good at it while most don’t even know where to start.
Worst Mistake You Can Make
The worst mistake you can make as a parent or an athlete is to lean on someone else to do the “dirty work” for you. Why is this a mistake? It’s a mistake because you’re almost guaranteed to end up with the short end of the stick.
As a parent or an athlete you have to go out and make things happen for yourself. It’s perfectly fine to get help–it’s not okay to depend on another person to handle the entire recruiting process while the player makes no effort on his own behalf.
A Common Misconception
The common misconception is that since a coach is a coach he knows exactly what college programs are looking for in student-athletes, how to prepare athletes for a college program, and have the connections to make it happen. As mentioned before, for some these could all be true statements and please feel fortunate if I just described your high school or club coach.
More often these things aren’t true and a family is left with the burden of their own recruiting.
In chatting with many high school coaches and parents I’ve come to the realization that most coaches have a reach of maybe 3-5 college coaches who they lean on for recruiting purposes. These relationships could have been built on previous playing relationships, acquaintances, past recruits and recruiting experiences, or camps.
Many families are counting on that small number of schools to get them a scholarship opportunity. In football if a coach knows 5 coaches at 5 different schools–usually all assistants– he knows coaches at roughly .58% of the 859 US programs. Basketball coaches would know .27% of the 1844 programs, baseball and softball is .30% of 1618, Volleyball is .29% of 1,667, and Soccer is .39% of 1,277 programs. Basically, they know such a small percentage that as a family or a recruit you’re placing a lot on very little.
An Often Overlooked Opportunity
Another unfortunate side of this issue is that the small percentage of coaches who do help with recruiting seem to have small windows of focus. Many coaches help only those who they feel will help them personally or make their program look good. Basically, coaches and student-athletes alike cast for big the fish, those D1 or possibly D2 opportunities.
The fact is there are many more spots available outside the upper echelons of college sports that don’t get explored for this very reason. I can remember personally watching my high school coach make a list of athletes he felt were worthy of D1 college football looks, nothing was even mentioned for D2 or below.
Six athletes made that list; we had at least six or seven more that could have played ball at a level other than D1. Needless to say those athletes–including myself–were left on their own.
A Great Asset
Your coach can be a great asset if used properly, make them an ally in your search not your search entirely. Every college coach you come across is going to be looking for a point of reference to verify your stated abilities; this should be the job for your coach. Let your coach talk you up to potential college coaches you have already impressed with your resume and video; college coaches who have reached out to them, not vice versa.
Have your coach work with you, not for you. Make sure they are proofreading information you send to coaches, helping with highlight and skills videos, helping narrow the search of schools that peak your interest. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your coach is going to do all of the above mentioned without your extensive help. If you do I can promise you that you’ll be sharing your stories of misfortune and continuing the circle. Do your best to break the circle.