Here is the “Best Advice: Get a College Coach to Recruit You” straight from the mouths of 17 college coaches.
The Recruiting Code truly has become the site that both college coaches and prospective college athletes trust. With that in mind, I rounded up some of the best advice on this very important question from college coaches representing 15 sports and every level of college athletics. If you want a coach to recruit you, you need to know what they want from you.
17 college coaches answered this question: “What can or should high school athletes do, from their end, to get on your radar screen?” What follows is their tips, strategies, and advice.
Contact: how to go from being a prospect to being a recruit
“Contact, contact, contact! Being from a JUCO, we normally don’t have great recruiting budgets to either fly to locations or to fly in recruits. Our best form of getting guys on a radar is by either developing relationships with high school coaches, subscribing to recruiting services, or athletes actually doing their own homework on contacting us as individuals.
Once contact is made, assuming we don’t know anything about the players, we start doing character checks with their coaches or other coaches who compete in their same league. We then move on to look at academic standards and then if those all check out we determine, hopefully through video, if the athlete has the necessary skills we need to compete at our level. If those check out, we set up a visit.”
NJCAA Baseball Coach of Miles Community College, Jeff Brabant
“Be Seen, somehow get on campus and be seen by the coach. Anymore, we are flooded with emails that are just impossible to answer in a timely manner. Good old fashioned mail and actually somehow getting on campus are the best bets.”
NAIA Men’s Basketball Coach of Lindsey Wilson College, Chris Starks
“BE PROACTIVE in your recruiting!! That is the number one thing. But the most important thing is to remember, the POTENTIAL STUDENT-ATHLETE (PSA) should be pro-active!!
When we get interest from a PSA w/out film, we immediately look at a few things. We are looking at their online presence (social media, YouTube, Facebook) to not only see if there is any game footage, but to also see what type of person they are. We have dropped quite a few kids in recruiting because of their social media accounts.
Secondly, we begin to dig into the background as much as possible. We call teachers, coaches, and other people involved in their inner-circle to really find out about them as a person and as a player.
If things check out, we definitely move towards the academic side and make sure they will be successful at school.
If everything looks great, we make contact with the PSA and start talking to them to get them excited about being recruited! I love that I can call anytime during the year (another perk of NAIA schools) and get to know them, because that is most important to me. Will they succeed here in school? Will they be a great fit for my current team, and my coaching style? It’s all about relationships that we build with them!”
NAIA Women’s Basketball Coach of Missouri Valley College, Timothy Dixon
The first step every prospective recruit needs to take
“If a high school athlete is interested in our program they should go on our athletic site and fill out our form. This will come directly to our coaching staff and we will reach out to you.”
NAIA Track and Field Coach of Taylor University, David Neville
Note: You can find a recruiting form or questionnaire on any program’s website. This is a must for reaching out to schools you are interested in.
“A student athlete that has interest in a particular school should have his or her coach contact the school. If the coach won’t help the athlete and/or their parents should contact the school. Times, heights, and distances that a recruit has achieved are important.”
NCAA Division 1 Track and Field Coach of the University of Nebraska, Gary Pepin
You are not a recruit until you develop a relationship
“The obvious step is to run fast. The nice thing about recruiting cross country and track is that determining an athlete’s ability is relatively easy.
I like it when athletes are proactive and initiate the contact and interest. There are so many athletes out there with the potential to run at the DII level that it is impossible for a coach to contact everyone with the potential to help their team.
Make your interest in a college program known to eliminate the risk of being overlooked as cross country has a very high participation rate at the high school level!”
NCAA Division 2 Cross Country Coach of Edinboro University, Rick Hammer
Reach out first
“If a high school golfer wants to get on our radar, the best thing they can do is email or call us, and submit an online recruiting questionnaire on that school’s website. Coaches in any sport can’t possibly contact every quality athlete in every single state. If you’re not hearing from a coach, that doesn’t mean the school isn’t interested in you, it just means you need to make the first contact. It’s important to me that the athlete reaches out, not his or her parents. That shows us maturity and initiative, two things that are important in college athletics. After we hear from a prospect, we will typically respond within 24 hours, if not sooner.”
NCAA Division 3 Men’s and Women’s Assistant Golf Coach of Allegheny College, Abby Sorensen
“Gymnastics is a sport where recruiting is done very early. We begin to make scholarship offers in their sophomore to junior years. In most circumstances this is late for Division 1 programs to make scholarship offers. Many D1 programs are making offers to the best gymnasts in their 8th or 9th grade years.
The best way to get on our radar is to contact us through phone or email to let us know that they are interested. Of course we are not able to initiate a phone call or email, so they will not receive a response until September 1st of their junior year. Contacts are made through coaches.
Phone messages or emails should include graduation year as well as links to YouTube or websites. It is best that their websites stay up to date with videos of practices as well as competition videos. This helps us to see the progress an athlete makes throughout the year.”
NCAA Division 1 Women’s Gymnastics Coach of Temple University, Umme Salim-Beasley
How video will help make you a serious recruit
“We encourage all recruits to send in game film or links to online game film. Highlight films are often disregarded by our staff in our pursuit of recruits. We prefer full games to get an accurate measure of the player’s on field endurance and full game decorum.”
NCAA Division 1 Women’s Rugby Coach of Quinnipiac University, Becky Carlson
“Put a brief video profile together and email it with a short video link showing some ‘eye popping’ highlights of them playing.
I personally like to watch short clips of video, nothing more than 10 minutes, but I want to see something that will excite me about a player.
It’s quicker for us to click a button and watch a few clips rather than read through another standard letter and resume which we get a lot of.
I also feel attending ID Camps of schools you are particularly interested in gives you a chance to see the coaching staff and players more closely and you can see how they interact with their players, assess their coaching styles, and honestly find out if they are interested in you and your abilities.
A coach will typically make it known to you if they like what they see and are interested in recruiting you!”
NCAA Division 1 Women’s Soccer Coach of the University of Arkansas Little Rock, Adrian Blewitt
Show initiative by communicating
“I love it when a recruit reaches out to us. It shows initiative and genuine interest. We will first talk about what they are looking for in a college experience to see if we may be a fit. If they are, we will want to see them play. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is if they send me their upcoming schedule.
Recruits should make themselves familiar with NCAA recruiting rules. Coaches do have restrictions on how we are allowed to contact a recruit. It doesn’t mean that a coach is not interested if you don’t hear back from them. Further, I personally have to filter through 40-50 emails a day. It can get tough sometimes to respond in a timely manner!”
NCAA Division 2 Women’s Soccer Coach, of Union University, Isaac Brooks
“First and foremost, athletes need to be proactive. College soccer is not like college football where there are a dozen plus coaches at every school. Most staffs have 3 full time coaches and recruiters, with some schools only having 2. This makes seeing every player very difficult. I encourage athletes to send emails, make phone calls, attend camps, and be proactive. Once you have a staff’s attention it is about seeing if there is a fit academically, athletically, and culturally.”
NCAA Men’s Associate Soccer Head Coach of Oregon State University, Ben Stoddard
“In order to get on a coaches radar, a high school athlete should have researched the schools they are interested in, and have a decent knowledge about the program and its accomplishments.
They then need to reach out to the coach themselves, not their parents, but on their own to introduce themselves either via phone, email or both.
Make emails personal, include specifics to that program or coach, your Year of Graduation, positions, team, coach’s information, game schedule and a video. Make the emails brief to the point and again make them PERSONAL.
Once you have reached out continue to do so when you have something to share; not necessarily every day, but you need to be somewhat persistent.
A phone call also goes a long way. It is an intimidating process, but a young athlete being able to pick up the phone and carry on a good conversation with a coach is a quality that will in the least pique our interest.
In addition, you need to get in front of the coach for face time; attend the university’s camps, camps the coach might be working at, and continue to update game schedules and invite the coach to come watch.
These are all ways to get our attention but it will ultimately be your performance, execution, and character on the field and in the classroom that will keep our attention.”
NCAA Division 1 Softball Coach of Bryant University, Shayne Lotito
“Once they contact me I usually ask them about their experience and what they are interested in studying. I can usually get a feel for what they are interested in and how well they might fit in to my specific program by first speaking with them.”
NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Coach of Wyoming University, Mark Branch
“The first step is to send an email to the coach or complete our on-line recruiting information page. Most, if not all, colleges now have a link to a questionnaire for recruits.
An e-mail expressing interest is also important. When you email make sure to include a resume with key academic and athletic information. There are many times I get a general e-mail for a recruit and that will be my first request – send me your transcripts, board scores and your best events and times.”
NCAA Division 3 Swimming and Diving Coach of Mount Holyoke College, Dave Allen
Become a recruit by putting yourself out there
“An email to introduce themselves is always a good idea. If a player contacts me by phone or email, I try to respond to their message as early as possible. I would then ask them to answer a few background questions about their tennis career, high school grades, NCAA Clearinghouse Status, and Test scores. We usually like to receive a video to have an idea of what their game looks like. If their level of tennis, academics, personality, and goals match the culture of our program we would usually want to have them come on an official visit, so that they can meet us and the team, practice, and visit our university.”
NCAA Division 2 Assistant Tennis Coach of Barry University, Maria Lopez
“First and foremost, student-athletes can reach out via email and identify themselves as being interested in learning more about our volleyball program and institution.
Secondly, fill out our online recruiting questionnaire.
Lastly, come to one of our camps! There is no better way for you as a recruit to evaluate coaches than by being actually coached by them! In the same regard, there is no better way for coaches to evaluate recruits than by working with those players.”
“As a staff we look for recruits who are willing to put themselves out there. Don’t forget to let a little bit of your personality shine through!”
NCAA Division 2 Volleyball Coach of Urbana University, Timothy Balice
Now you know what college coaches are looking for, read what you can do to grab their attention: 3 Reasons You Won’t Get an Athletic Scholarship.
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