While the rated recruits get all the attention in the big sports, the reality is there are far more athletes who earn scholarships without ever getting stars next to their name. However, to get those scholarships, those student-athletes also have to work harder than the rated recruits. So, if you don’t have stars next to your name, but you still want to play at the next level, make sure you follow the 4 Cs to help you be a better recruit.
If coaches aren’t knocking on your door, it’s up to you to initiate communications. And, the earlier you reach out to college coaches, the better. In most sports, a coach can’t communicate with you until after your sophomore season, but you can still begin sending emails to coaches at the schools on your target list. Start with an introductory email telling the coach about yourself, why you’re interested in the school and program, a link to your recruiting profile, and a highlight reel. If you’re a fit for their program, that will at least get you on a coach’s recruiting radar. Then, follow up with occasional updates on your progress to make sure you stay on their list.
The key to improving your visibility as a recruit is to be seen. Competing at high-level tournaments or showcases means you’ll have more opportunities to be seen by more coaches. Remember that not every coach has a huge recruiting budget and a big staff. More athletes at tournaments and showcases allow coaches to use their recruiting time more efficiently. While that means you’ll have to compete for more to be seen by coaches, the tradeoff is there are more coaches, and more opportunities to be noticed, at a tournament or showcase.
If your team doesn’t get to a big tournament or showcase, don’t worry. Instead, look for summer camps at the schools you’re interested in and attend those. An on-campus camp puts you directly in front of coaches, but it also allows you to meet the coaches and current players, see the athletic facilities, and get a feel for the campus.
Coaches who lack big recruiting budgets don’t want to take chances on a risky recruit. Instead, they look for recruits who are the complete package. You’ll obviously need athletic ability, and better grades always make you a more attractive recruit. But coaches also look for character. They want solid people who can fit in with their team, be leaders, and be good representatives of their program and university. For most coaches, character means being dedicated to not only improving as an athlete, but also improving as a teammate, as a student, and as a person.
As noted above, getting in front of coaches and raising your profile is an important part of being a better recruit. If a coach at a school you’re interested in can’t get to see you, make sure you have plenty of highlight video footage that follows your progress throughout the season. Your highlight reel doesn’t need to be an epic saga of your entire career dating back to 4th grade. Instead, Start with your most recent highlights and build from there. Send that in your introductory email and put together updated highlight clips to send along with updated emails later. If you’re lacking game highlights, take workout or skills videos that focus on your abilities and form. Again, if a coach can’t see you in person, get in front of the camera to ensure you get seen by coaches.
For many student-athletes, getting recruited to play at the next level takes extra effort. But, if you follow the four Cs above, you can raise your profile, make yourself a better recruit, and hopefully add another C next to your name; College-athlete.
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