6 Mistakes Athletes Should Avoid During The Recruiting Process
Recruit Look regularly talks about the things each potential recruit needs to accomplish to maximize their chances of landing an athletic scholarship. Please make sure to avoid these mistakes…mostly caused from massive misinformation out there. Keep in mind, sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as what you do.
Throughout the college recruiting process, potential recruits have many opportunities to communicate with college coaches. Every conversation, email, post on social media, or text message can positively or negatively affect a coach’s perception of you. The same is true with when you start the process and any information you might provide to a coach during the process.
Don’t wait until your senior year to start the college recruiting process
If you wait until your senior year in high school to get started, you probably won’t end up at one of your top colleges. All college coaches recruit differently… some sooner or later than others. However, if you wait too late, you will be causing a lot of unnecessary stress to yourself, family, and others trying to help you. The sooner you start the recruiting process, the better chance you have to land a scholarship at the right college. College coaches are identifying potential recruits earlier and earlier every year. There is absolutely no reason to wait to get started. As a freshman, you can familiarize yourself with the process and get more involved each year in high school. Do you have a game plan already?
When to start the college recruiting process
Don’t compare yourself to other players
Talking to a college coach about another player just isn’t a good idea. There are only two possible outcomes and both have bad endings: (1) you build the other player up because you are too complementary, or (2) your character comes into question because you are speaking negatively about a teammate or opponent.
Focus on yourself and how you can help their program. Let your abilities speak for themselves. College coaches don’t need your help in evaluating talent.
Focus on building your recruiting brand
Don’t brag about your intangibles
Coaches look at more than just scouting reports. Why do you think they come to see you play? They want to know who you are, how you approach the game, how you react to different situations, and how hard you work. Intangibles can be crucial to your success at the next level, unfortunately, they are not easily quantifiable.
Every college coach wants hard-working, coachable, leaders who play the game with passion. Unfortunately, you aren’t the right person to be delivering that message to a college coach. They either need to see it for themselves or be told by an independently credible source. You can definitely talk about your intangibles and how they would translate to the next level, especially how they would help a team win at the next level. However, you don’t want to brag about your intangibles or overstate how great they are. If you’re a good teammate on the field/court, then a college coach is going to recognize that. You don’t want to talk about how “coachable” you are, only to find out your high school or club coach is telling college coaches differently. Do you know what to be prepared to answer when talking with a college coach?
How to talk with college coaches
Don’t be foolish on social media
One of the most common mistakes by potential college athletes is being foolish on social media. College coaches aren’t expecting high school athletes to be public relations experts. They just want players that will make good decisions and positively represent their university. “Live your life, don’t tweet your life.” Use your common sense. Don’t post or tweet anything you don’t want a coach to see. Do you know how to market yourself on social media?
Learn how to conduct yourself on social media
Don’t overstate your statistics or grades
There is never a good reason to overstate or even project your athletic or academic statistics and accomplishments when communicating with college coaches. If you think they won’t cross-check this information, you are fooling yourself. Be honest about your abilities and work hard to improve. Coaches know that for underclassmen they need to project where each player might be as a senior. They also understand that some athletes develop later than others. If you are realistic about your abilities, your chances to find a college scholarship increase dramatically. Do not oversell yourself! That coach is interested in you for a reason. Upside is what a college coach is looking at… do you know what that is?
Never lie about your grades. Your grades are the single most important thing in the college recruiting process. It is easy to lie about your height -- add an inch, to lie about your bench press, add a few more pounds, lie about your 40-yard dash, shave a few tenths, etc -- however, you will never be able to stretch the truth about your grades. Transcripts and test scores are what they are. Be honest and upfront with college coaches about them. If they are low, then explain how hard you are working to get them up.
Don’t give up just because the first few colleges don’t work out
High school student-athletes need to understand that they won’t land a college scholarship with an introductory email to a college coach. Also, unless you are being highly recruited, then to some extent the success of your recruiting process might be dependent on the number of colleges you contact. The more coaches you connect with, the better your chances are to find a scholarship.
Understand that when you are reaching out to coaches, everything has to line up for you to receive a response: (1) the coach has to open your email or letter, (2) he or she has to actually read it, (3) there has to be a need at your position, (4) there has to be a way to verify your abilities and (5) you have to come to an agreement. Be persistent and don’t get discouraged, good things will happen. Stay the course, be open-minded, and be realistic.