How Can You Know What Level of Play You Fit?
Is it possible to know what kind of colleges you could compete at?
We would all love to play basketball at Duke (my wife’s favorite team). Or soccer at North Carolina. Or run track at Oregon. But we won’t. Thousands of us won’t. Your goal isn’t to be at the very best program; your goal is to be at the best program for you.
A program you will succeed in and love every minute of it. Or, almost every minute of it. The vast majority of players and their parents overestimate their ability and where they will fit in. Many have unrealistic expectations.
I often talk to seniors who tell me they plan on playing Division 1. I ask them if coaches are contacting them. They will say, “No,” but are hoping they will be seen at the winter showcase. They don’t know any better, but the Division 1 train has already passed them by. Division 1 coaches have already narrowed their recruiting pool, offered scholarships, and are just waiting on signing day.
You need to be proactive early in high school, primarily your sophomore and junior year to discover what your realistic options will be. Division 1 may be where you belong, but how can you know?
How can you figure out what level you can play in college?
One way is to ask your club coach, high school coach, or another coach who has watched you play. Ask for an honest opinion and be willing to hear it.
Shortly after The Recruiting Code was published, a brave young lady took my advice and contacted me. I had watched her play over the past couple of years to recruit her. I was honored and was glad to give her my opinions to assist her as she narrowed down her college options.
Be brave and ask a coach from a team you compete against, if you respect them. You might be surprised; most coaches would be glad to take a minute to help you out.
Consider Who is Already Contacting You
Have coaches already called you? Consider what type of schools have called, and look for others at the same level. Look carefully at the rosters. What type of high school and club teams do they come from? Are they mainly players from one location or doe the team have more of a national look? What does it tell you if there are few to no players on the team from your area?
Watch College Games
Another way to estimate where you belong is to go watch a few college games. Go watch a Division 1 game and other colleges near you. You will see a stark difference in the level of athletes. Be honest with yourself. Imagine yourself on the field. Would the coach play you? Could you compete if you were out there? How far away are you developmentally? Could you get to that point or is it beyond you?
Why Is it so important?
Finding the right fit for you will give you the most satisfaction over your collegiate years. If you aim to high, you will have years of frustration. If you do nothing, you will be throwing yourself into a program like a blind dart thrower.
Parents are also an important part of the process. If you are a parent, be honest with your son or daughter about what you see. Help them find a level at which they will thrive and enjoy their experience as a player.
Next, take a look at Being Recruited: Prospects Vs. Recruits.
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