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Colby Hudson
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Article
High School Athlete Recruiting: Why aren't coaches attending my games?
A lot of high school athletes and parents wonder why they never see college coaches at travel league games. Being on a travel team usually means a big financial commitment – team fees, travel cost, hotels, meals, and equipment. The primary purpose of travel ball for high school athletes is college recruiting, and to a lesser extent, sharpening one’s skills. So if college coaches are not scouting your games, what are you really gaining?

College coaches do not randomly go to games in the hopes of uncovering a stud recruit. First, on any weekend or summer evening there are just too many tournaments, games, and events happening simultaneously. Second, college coaches are not detectives; unless they know about you, where and when you’re competing, they’re not going to show. When college coaches do show up, they’re there to see a specific athlete and their focus is on that athlete. Another athlete may get lucky and be noticed, but that’s no way for a high school athlete to get recruited to college.

So how do you get college coaches to scout your games and tournaments? First, you have to let them know that you exist. You might get coverage in your local media but don’t expect a college coach from Virginia to be reading the local papers from North Carolina or Maryland. Unless you are a nationally ranked athlete on an ESPN Top 100 list, getting your name out to college coaches requires a little effort for 98% of high school athletes (yes, that probably does means you).

Second, you need to give them a reason to come out and see you. Athletes are recruited to college sports programs because they meet both the athletic requirements and the academic requirements of the university. Therefore, your initial communication to coaches needs to include hard data regarding your academic performance such as GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and class rank, along with your skills video, stats, and schedule. If a coach likes what he sees and you make the academic cut, chances are he’s going to either send someone out to scout you or personally attend one of your games.

Because of internet technology today, we have a whole new opportunity to network hundreds of times better and faster than we ever have before. Sites like GetMyNameOut.com have an athletic profile system for athletes to upload their video, academic information, stats, and schedule and a database literally filled with every college coach in the country, giving athletes the opportunity to connect with coaches all over the country. Coaches are like the rest of us, they love the ease of email and clicking on a link to watch an athlete’s skill video. The days of popping in a highlight DVD are over; you might as well be sending them a VHS tape.

There are two big questions remaining; when to start contacting coaches and how many to contact. Let’s start with the when. While high school athletes are signed in their senior year, it’s their junior year and the summer of their senior year that are most important. That is especially true of winter and spring sport athletes. That doesn’t mean that you wait until your junior year to start contacting college coaches; the competitive nature of college sports recruiting demands that high school athletes start early, in their freshman and sophomore year.

Many college sports programs are scouting prospects for several years prior to making them a scholarship offer. I recall one father telling me about his conversation with the baseball coach for Florida Southern, a nationally ranked Division II program. The coach told him that they begin to follow players as young as 8th grade to make sure that the prospect fits their program. For his son who was entering his senior year of high school, it was too late to be considered.

High school athletes should have at least 30 college coaches that they are communicating with at any one time. When you begin contacting coaches you need to cast a wide net and that means contacting coaches in all levels, Division I, II, III, NAIA, and junior college. If you’re getting a lot of traction in Division II it probably means Division I is too much of a reach. The best thing to do is have three categories of college programs – your “A” schools, “B” schools, and “C” schools. You’re “A” list is your aim high group and should contain top programs in all divisions. You “B” list is your reach group and your “C” list is your last resort group. If at the end of the day your only offer comes from the “C” list, you at least have an opportunity to continue in the sport you love at the college level. So swallow your pride if you must, the overwhelming majority of high school athletes will never play at the collegiate level.

Now that you have a better idea of how high school athlete recruiting works, create a skills video and athletic profile and start contacting college coaches. You are only wasting time if you are not proactive and doing something everyday to get yourself recruited.

Colby Hudson

 

Date Submitted: Feb 29, 2012 23:49:36
 
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