In today’s post we will talk about a few of the fundamentals of College Recruiting that every prospective student-athlete and his or her family should understand as you participate in the process. Yes, that’s right. You have a role to play in your own recruiting or that of your teenage student-athlete. In future discussions we will dive into more specifics about each facet of recruiting. Whether you are being recruited for Division I, Division II or Division III Athletics, there are some truths important for you to know.
SETTING GOALS & HAVING A PLAN
I’m a proud father of three boys. Each had the experience of the recruiting process in different sports, at different levels and each with their own unique goals and objectives for playing college athletics. Despite those differences, they all had two things in common, a defined goal and a continually evolving plan to help them achieve their desire to play college athletics.
Having a set of specific goals will help you and your family develop the best plan of action to achieve them. You may have one goal “I want to play Division I Baseball” or several goals that compliment each other “I want to play college baseball and get a degree that allows me to go to medical school after my undergraduate degree is complete”. Both are tremendous goals but will need an action plan tailored to you.
Let’s talk about developing your plan. As you start the process, your plan should include a few key components.
Organize your Timeline (start in the 9th grade)
Ensure Good Grades & Test Scores
Research of College & Universities
Understand How the Sport you Play Gets Recruited
Every student-athlete’s plan will have its own details and approach. That’s what I have loved the most about helping my three boys. We at Next Gen Athletes are here to help you ensure you don’t miss any of the components of a solid plan and approach.
YOUR HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB/TRAVEL TEAM COACHES
Any solid approach to get recruited to play college athletics must include your high school coach, club or travel coach (sport dependent) and your high school guidance counselor.
Your high school coach will have a number of important roles to play in your plan. Your sport may dictate the degree to which he/she needs to play but regardless of sport, they have a role. Here are the discussion topics you want to have with your high school coach:
Do they agree with your goal? Can they help you develop realistic and stretch goals?
What role is your high school coach willing to take in your recruiting?
Based on their experience, what athletic and academic activities should you plan to help you meet your goal(s).
Some college athletics are predominantly recruited based on your high school team and results (football is probably the most well known) while others are heavily dependent on your results and participation on a club or travel team (baseball, softball, lacrosse and both men’s and women’s basketball to name a few). If you play a sport that is heavily recruited based on your club team highlights, schedule and results, you will want to sit down with your club coach and outline your plan. The questions used in conversation with your high school coach are applicable here as well. An additional topic to have as you pick your club/travel program is their approach to state, regional and national exposure. To be seen, you have to participate in events and tournaments with high competition, a history of being well-run and that is trusted by college coaches.
Finally, let’s touch on your high school guidance counselor. He or she is critical in your planning. A good guidance counselor will help you build a four-year high school plan that ensures you meet your state minimum graduation requirements, NCAA core class requirements, help you build a plan for ACT/SAT testing and for those student-athletes that wish to graduate early and start college in the Spring of their high school senior year, your guidance counselor can help build that plan.
FILM & RESULTS MATTER
We could have a full discussion on this subject by itself! There is so much to cover with this subject but I want to briefly touch on a few at a high level. Three key points I want to emphasize:
Your on-the-field (court) results and film matter the most. Without results that reflect your athletic abilities and specific skills, your recruitment will suffer or be non-existent. My point is, everything else we discuss matters but not as much as your actual performance.
Coaches don’t just look at your highlight video. Good coaches watch all your game film in coordination with your high school or club coach. They want to see your mechanics and level of effort when the play isn’t coming your way or when things aren’t going well.
The construction, content and length of highlight video is important. Different sports will use highlight videos to varying degrees. No matter the sport you play, it’s important to take the time and give the attention to your video, how you plan to communicate it to schools and coaches you hope to have recruited you, and how often you will edit, add and rearrange the content as your high school career evolves.
Hopefully you have found these fundamentals of college recruiting valuable and prompt you to get going in building your own goals and plan of attack. Good Luck and Enjoy the Process!