Recruiting today is very different than it was 10-15 years ago. Gone are the days of mailing out letters via the postal service, convincing coaches to come watch you play and in are the days of using a computer for the same purpose. Computers and the internet allow coaches to view more athletes and travel less increasing the productivity of their recruiting efforts; most coaches use their resources properly and effectively.
Don’t Blast Emails
Using the same resources, student-athletes sometimes fall short. They have gone to sitting behind a computer screen blasting out emails, resumes, and highlight videos to any coach that will take a gander. Most participating student-athletes don’t have a specific direction in mind, instead hoping their information lands in the right inbox at the right time. Although I don’t condone this approach to recruiting I am well aware that it is the norm for most student-athletes.
What is interesting yet frustrating is that technology has allowed this method of contacting coaches to become a norm. It might be the fault of online services and websites providing lists of coaches’ contact information or athletic departments allowing coaches’ contact information to be readily available. No matter where fault lies, it seems they provide the contacts all while not doing the greatest job in educating student-athletes on exactly how to go about starting a relationship with a coach.
I promise with strategy comes success. The United States did not gain military superiority by going into conflicts without specific plans. Instead many people, well before the US ever fired a shot, created plans of attack to ensure success. This is where I would like to see student-athletes go with their recruiting; effective planning and precision execution.
Create a Solid Game Plan
It’s important to have a firm understanding of the process then create a game plan that is conducive to the process and your overall goal of playing your sport in college. Yes, eventually this means you will be contacting a coach but if you jump the gun, your premature start could likely end your opportunity before it begins. Remember, sending any information to a coach that doesn’t show you in the best light isn’t the best idea due to the importance of first impressions.
Understand the Importance of a Resume
So, if you cannot just blast information to coaches then where should you start? Coach’s want to learn about you, your academics, and your athletic statistics. This is going to tell them right away if you align with the type of athletes they have already recruited to their program. Building your resume would be a great first step! Place in writing how good you really are but make sure to have facts to back your statements up.
Sell Your Skills With a Highlight Video
Another option would be to start your recruiting process by putting together a good highlight video. For many sports, coaches don’t have the recruiting budgets to travel the country evaluating the best talents. Your highlight video is going to have to sell you, speak for your talent, and back up the statistical information you provided in your resume. Contrary to popular belief or what you’ve seen on YouTube, recruiting videos should not include music. Music is more an annoyance than a help and for some, an offense as well. For a coach’s ease your recruiting video should feature either a focus solely on you or a spot shadow/arrow clearly defining where you are in the play.
Build a Solid School List
Personally, my favorite starting point is creating a school list. I firmly believe before you can ever write a coach you need to know what that school can offer you so you can understand what you can offer that school. This doesn’t mean you need to know what you want to study but it does require that you do some research into the school, program, coaching staff, and area. This allows for talking points if you have a chance to catch a coach’s attention. Again, very often student-athletes are sending information to schools they have never heard of just for the sake of sending an email and if they are contacted back they know nothing about the school beyond the school having a sports team.
If you are serious about your recruiting I would follow this order: create a school list by doing research, create a quality highlight video, build an accurate and honest resume, then contact a coach with your interest in their program.
Do you have questions about when to start the recruiting process? Leave your question in the comments below or connect on Facebook or Twitter.