Are your players counting on you to help them find a college roster spot?
As coaches, we are seen by our players as experts. We may not know everything about the recruiting process, but we do have an obligation to give our players direction, encouragement, and assistance if they want to play in college.
You need to be able to offer them direction on getting started. Here are a few guidelines you should be passing on to your players.
6 steps coaches should encourage their players to take to get recruited.
Tell your players to be Proactive. Players who are willing to market themselves are the ones who will have the most opportunities. Share these six easy to remember steps your players should take. A teenager will feel like you’re asking them to scale Mt. Everest. Encourage them (and their parents) to take one step at a time.
- Research colleges. Make a list of 10 colleges they are interested in. This list will change over time, but it will help them get started. They should research the academics, the athletic team, the area, etc., and make sure each school is a place they would be interested in even if they were no longer playing.
- Contact the coach. They should call and email each coach to introduce themselves and make the coach aware of their interest. Follow up emails and phone calls should be regular.
- Fill out the questionnaire on the team’s home page. This will get the player into the database of both the coach and the admissions department.
- Prepare a video highlight and an entire game film. Send each coach a link to these placed on Youtube.
- Keep coaches updated as to which tournaments and showcases the player will be at.
- Go to University Camps, ID Camps, and Summer Camps where coaches from schools they are interested in will be working. These are advertised on the teams’ web page. They will see a link or a banner to click on.
What is your role as their high school or club coach to help your athletes to get recruited?
Be honest with your players about what college level they can be successful at. Don’t just say one level. The continuum is NCAA D1, D2, D3, NAIA, NJCAA (JUCO’s) Give them several options to look at based on their talent, work ethic, and academic level. If you don’t know, don’t make it up. Ask another coach for their opinion.
Get your athletes access to game film. Good quality is the key to good game film. A U18 coach I know films a few games using his tripod and his iPad. He then provides the film to all the players on his team. They can use the game film as a whole or they can edit it themselves into highlight footage. If you don’t have the resources to do this, ask the parents and see who has the skill and equipment to get it done for you.
Finally, contact college coaches for your athlete. Coaches at Division 1 and Division 2 have strict guidelines governing when they contact players. The club or high school coach is often the intermediary for communication. It is your job to provide a reference for the player and relay information from the college coach to the player. This is how players are able to verbally commit to a school before a college coach is allowed to call them. Remember, your reputation is on the line each time you speak with a coach. Your honesty and integrity about a player will impact whether a college coach uses you or your players in the future.
In an interview, I did with Gary Pepin, the University of Nebraska Track and Field coach, he said plainly, “A student-athlete that has interest in a particular school should have his or her coach contact the school.”
It is incumbent on us as coaches to assist our athletes who want to go on to the next level. Our job does not stop at the sideline.
Are there athletic scholarships available for your players?
Yes, there are. However, big amounts of money and full rides are rare. There are a lot of opportunities for student-athletes financially if they will be proactive. Here is a new resource to help you share with your athletes. What is the reality of athletic scholarships at each level of college play (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, JUCO)?
In The Ultimate Guide to Athletic Scholarships, I interviewed over a hundred college coaches and asked them to help you to understand scholarships.
The truth isn’t so glamorous as promising your players may believe. But once you and they the know the truth, they will have the ability to evaluate the offers they do receive. They will have the tools to make the best decision.
LIKE WHAT YOU READ?
Here is another great article for high school and club coaches: How College Coaches Find Players
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