Recruiting is a hard world, and if you don’t have your act together, it can beat you up. Here are the first three of a dozen recruiting rules that I’ve laid out for families. I hope these three help. You can get the full dozen (and three bonus rules!) by downloading the Guide I’ve put together.
Recruiting Rule #1: Know When to Start.
The number one question I get from parents is, “When should we start the recruiting process?”
I remember getting an email from one parent whose son was a senior, asking if it was too late. A moment later, I received an email from a freshman parent asking if it was too early! So, as you can see, there is some confusion out there.
You should start early. In fact, as early as the freshman year, if that’s possible. But, even if you are in the senior year, it’s still probably not too late. You just have to work faster.
Coaches normally can’t contact you until your junior year (except in certain cases), but there is so much you can do before that year. There’s a lot of ground work to be done. Without overwhelming you with a list of things, let me tell you that you can be researching schools and programs now. Get an education in what’s out there. That way, you will be miles ahead when it’s time to kick the recruiting engine into gear.
If your son or daughter is a senior. then you do need to get on it right away. Contact coaches right away, be honest with them that you know it’s late, and be convincing that you are truly interested in their school. You want to flag their attention right away and you want them to sense your urgency.
Without a doubt, when I was working with my sons on an athletic scholarship, one of the things I learned is that it takes hard work.
And that’s still true today.
Recently, I read the story about a high school senior, Lindsay Brown, who accepted a scholarship offer for volleyball. She had interest from several schools, including New Hampshire, Oregon State, Louisiana Tech, Lewis & Clark College, Dominican University, Menlo College, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. She chose Sonoma State, which was near her home town.
“I like working hard to play well. I don’t mind breaking a sweat,” Lindsay said. “I’ll do everything I can to improve my game and be there for the team.”
At that time, her high school coach said that as long as she maintained her work ethic, she didn’t have anything to worry about.
How’s your work ethic? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself? Hard work is an ingredient most athletes need to perform at their best and to have the best chance at an athletic scholarship.
An athlete’s work ethic says a lot about his or her character, as well as his or her willingness to pay the price to be the best and to help the team.
And that’s what a college coach is looking for.
There’s no shortage of school choices when it comes to seeking the place you want to compete. In fact, the whole process can be overwhelming.
How many players do you hear about that transfer after one or two years because the program wasn’t what they had expected? It happens all the time, and one of the reasons is that your emotions can rule your decision, rather than thinking objectively.
I remember one high school athlete who achieved his lifelong dream, and that was to get an athletic scholarship at a particular well-known, top school in the nation. He transferred out after a year, because there was a cancer on that team that he had been blinded from seeing when he was looking at the program.
Although you are looking for a good athletic scholarship, don’t let it rule your decision, if at all possible. There are a lot of other factors when choosing a college and athletic program. The decision you make is one you’ll have to live with for a long time.
So how can you end up where at the school that is the right fit for you?
I’ve come up with a tool that I call the “Report Card.” You better believe that coaches are keeping a “report card” on you, so why not keep a report card on them? That way, if you’ve got a list of 20-25 schools that you’re considering, you can narrow down the choice as you go along.
What is this “report card?” Simply put, you’re grading each school on various categories, such as cost, quality of program, coaches, distance from home, etc. In the report card that I’ve developed, you have an organized approach to grading each of the schools you’re looking at. As a result, the final choice will be a lot easier to make.
There are so many things to look at when you’re choosing a place to compete. Believe me, it does not really come down to how much of a scholarship they are offering you. For instance, a school that costs $20,000 (tuition and room and board) could offer you a $10,000 scholarship, but a school that costs $12,000 would likely be a better financial choice if they offered you a tuition-only scholarship.
I highly advise high school athletes to keep their options open as long as they can. Get to know the coaches and programs through phone calls and talking with players on the team, visit schools high on your list, and don’t get wrapped up in the “recruiting glitz” that might not represent reality at that school. The longer you look, usually the more objective you will be.
So put together your “report card” and compare schools and programs that way. The Recruit-Me System has a refined report card, so be sure to look at it and use it.
The most important thing is to find the best school and program for you. Find the best fit.