The 5 Qualities of Every Successful Recruit

As you go through the recruiting process, comparing yourself to the other guy is quite common. And, while you may share many attributes with other athletes, make sure you also share these five traits that are most often found in successful high school recruits:


While it’s not hard for elite-level athletes to get attention from coaches, for everyone else, it takes some work. And the first step of that work is you proactively reaching out to coaches with your profile, GPA, and highlight video to get yourself on their radar.

However, sending out a mass email to coaches won’t get the job done. Instead, personalize every email to every coach, and then follow up with a phone call and another email. Then, continue to follow up every time you have an updated highlight video or improved GPA or entrance exam scores. If you don’t get a response from a given coach, refocus your efforts elsewhere and start the process again. Remember that coaches can have hundreds of recruits to consider, so it’s your job to make yourself stand out. Keep at it, because your persistence is what you’ll need to connect with a college coach.


Once you land on a coach’s radar, the next step is building a relationship with that coach. That relationship will let you see what that coach, program, and school can offer you, and the coach can see the qualities you can bring to the program. And to do that, you need to be personable and be able to interact with a coach, on the phone, and in person. 

Being personable doesn’t mean you have to change your personality. Instead, it simply means you making the effort to get to know a coach on a personal level, while at the same time letting a coach see the type of person you are. If you’re shy or the quiet type, think ahead about the questions a coach may ask you and prepare accordingly. In addition, think through some thoughtful questions of your own to ask a coach. The goal is to establish a dialogue and a line of communication with a coach so that you both can get to know the other on a more personal level. 


Though it’s perfectly fine to have your mindset on a dream school, a successful recruit is open-minded enough to consider other possibilities if things don’t work out. That open-mindedness means not only considering other schools but also lower divisions. Another part of being an open-minded recruit is making sure you factor everything beyond athletics into your decision, such as a school’s academics, size, location, housing options, financial aid, the campus experience, and the academic/athletic balance.

Another quality of successful recruits is being open and flexible to how you might best fit with a program. Whether it’s changing the potion you play when you get to college or accepting that you may not have much playing time early on, having an open mind to best contribute to the team will provide far more opportunities to compete at the next level. 

Prompt and Organized

If you wind up with a pile of recruiting materials, it’s easy to overlook something. However, overlooking a questionnaire or a coach’s email might also cost you opportunities if a coach takes your lack of response for a lack of interest. 

To avoid those missed opportunities, make sure you have a system in place to organize all the communications you receive from coaches. Then, whether it’s a questionnaire, direct message, or camp invitation, make sure you respond promptly and personally.

Another important element of being organized and prompt is making sure you read through everything you receive and, if necessary, follow through on a coach’s requests or instructions. Again, it may take a little extra work on your part, but that effort will also show you’re willing to work harder to be on his or her team. 

You Want A Scholarship, But Don’t Demand It

Asking “for” a scholarship and asking “about” a scholarship are two different things. The successful recruit is the one who asks “about” a scholarship opportunity. 

Remember that it’s up to you to do what’s needed to earn a scholarship. To do that, you should ask a coach what type of recruit they’re looking for and the qualities that athletes might need to rank high on their list. By asking those questions, you show a coach that you know you may have to work to earn a scholarship and that you’re proactively willing to do so. 

Conversely, simply asking for a scholarship shows that you consider yourself entitled to one and it requires the coach to make an immediate determination on your opportunity for one. Both of those factors will likely eliminate recruiting opportunities rather than expanding them.

When you add them all up, none of these five qualities are anything out of the ordinary, nor are they exclusive to elite athletes. Instead, they’re all just simple qualities or mindsets that anyone can pick and perfect. And if you want your recruiting to pay off with a spot on a college team, make sure each of those five qualities is a part of your personal profile. 

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