1. The recruiting process begins early
The recruiting process for colleges begins when prospective student-athletes enter high school. That is when you become a prospect for NCAA, NAIA and college coaches. Serious athletes should treat every match and game with the utmost intensity, passion and vigor. While it is impossible to win every time, coaches are always looking to recruit players who have the best work ethic and can maturely handle defeat. Additionally, students should aim to be well rounded individuals and display leadership qualities. Coaches are not just looking for the best talent, they are actively searching for individuals who have a good academic report card and are involved with extracurricular activities. By taking an active role in one’s community, displaying strong academic scores and being a humble athlete are all aspects that will benefit a student during the recruiting process.
2. Recruiting start with the athletes commitment
If an athlete is serious about playing their sport at the collegiate level, then they need to understand that a lot of sacrifice and focus will be required to reach their goals. Below is a commitment list
Commit to working as hard as you can in the classroom and being the best student you can be!
Commit to do everything you can to improve your athletic performance during training, practices and games/matches.
Commit to taking all the necessary steps required to get recruited for an opportunity to play your sport in college.
Commit to represent yourself as a role model who has integrity and strong work ethic.
3. College coaches evaluate prospects online
Technology drives the recruiting process. College coaches can see results of games/tournaments with the click of a mouse. It is important for individuals to develop an online profile, so that coaches can view your results and scout for talent. Coaches can also view personal social media accounts and will make evaluations if they find inappropriate information or photos. However, posting about athletic accomplishments is a great way to garner positive reactions.
4. Be realistic, less than 1% of players receive a full scholarship
While the majority of student-athletes do not receive full scholarships, there are great opportunities at every level. According to the NCAA website, 59 percent of Division I student-athletes receive some level of athletic aid; 62 percent of Division II student-athletes receive some level of athletic aid; and at Division III schools 80 percent of all student-athletes receive some form of academic grant or need-based scholarship. With this information in mind, there are incredible opportunities for student-athletes to earn a partial athletic scholarship while also attending an incredible institution. So while it is important to stay grounded about scholarship funds, the long term goal is to find the best institution that fits the student’s specific interests.
5. Don’t blame your coach for results and take charge of your recruitment
While it is understandable to feel frustrated after tough losses, blaming your coach and support team will not improve your results. Prospective athletes will find a way to bounce back mentally after a tough loss, while also maintaining a busy academic schedule. It is also important for student-athletes to take charge of their recruiting and not to place all of the responsibility on the coach. While coaches, parents and recruiters can aid in the process it is ultimately the job of the athlete to be doing the research and outreach. When a player reaches college, the coach will expect the athlete to have some problem solving skills and not look for help at every turn.
By Tarek Merchant