The experience of recruiting can be complicated, confusing and overwhelming to many families. There are a lot of factors to juggle, when is the best time to start, knowing rules and regulations, figuring out eligibility, HS course selection, when to email coaches and what to say to them, making sure you are evaluated regularly, negotiating scholarships and preparing mentally and physically for your first season as a student-athelte.
Here are five things you should know about getting started with University Recruiting:
1. Athletes should begin thinking about university recruiting in grade 9 or 10.
No, this is not a typo! At 14 years old a student athlete is more focused on short term goals, having fun with their friends, their upcoming games, and school commitments. But NCAA coaches are beginning to recruit and identify prospective athletes earlier and earlier. It is not uncommon for top universities to have commitments from their incoming athletes a year (sometimes two years) in advance of high school graduation. There are steps you can take at 14 or 15 to set yourself up to be recruited, but it is the responsibilities of coaches and parents to learn about the process and recruiting time-lines so they can help young athletes be prepared. (Note: CIS recruiting can start in grade 11)
2. Research, research and more research.
For most young student athletes, choosing which university, and university teams you want to pursue is a difficult and time consuming task. There are geographic, academic and athletic criteria to think about, evaluate and research so that the school you ultimately end up at is a good fit, and is somewhere you can succeed. Also think about what other factors are important to you in your athletic career, do you want to try for a professional team? Or compete in the Olympics? It is important to research and understand the pathway for you to get to those goals, and how university sport fits into that.
3. Be identified and evaluated.
Coaches want to evaluate athletes at least three times a year during recruiting. This can be achieved a number of different ways, but perhaps the most important thing to have at the outset is a good quality highlight video. This should show you in competition, show your team skills, tactics, positioning, on and off ball ability. The video should include a skills session where you show ball control, dribbling, shooting and distribution skills. A highlight video is what is going to catch the attention of a coach, and make them want to see more of you. Other ways to be seen and evaluated are at showcase tournaments, college camps, national level competitions, and any competition that you have invited a coach to come see you play.
4. Develop good relationships.
Much of successful recruiting is communication and developing a good relationship with your target coach. You want to use the recruiting process to sell yourself to them, demonstrate your character, your skills and abilities and why you will be a good addition to their team. You also want to use the recruiting process to ask meaningful questions, learn about the school, team and coaching staff. Try and develop a personal relationship with the coach, when you are away from home, across the country, or even across a border your coaches will be your support system and parents away from home. The better your relationship, the better your opportunity.
5. Prepare for transition, and be ready for the next level.
There are many things you can do now, as a youth athlete that can help you mentally and physically prepare for the next level of sport. Seek out mentor-ship and guidance from your support system, coaches, teachers or other professionals.
Access Sport has a wide range of services to help athletes prepare for this transition including:
- Performance Lifestyle management (Athlete mentoring, time and stress management, goal setting and action plans)
- Athlete Development (Training tips and resources, nutrition, sport psychology)
- Media Resources (social media responsibility, interview skills, using social media in recruiting)
- Transition resources (culture shock, home sickness, life skills)
- Financial Resources (learn about scholarship information, grants, loans and external aid to assist with cost of education)
In all of this, keep in mind that selecting the right school for you will be perhaps the most important decision you have made in your life! The school you choose to go to will be a life defining experience. Your college athletic career will be over in 4 or 5 years, but your education will stay with you for the rest of your life. It is crucially important to base your decision on academics, and choose a school that is best for the major you would like to pursue. Make sure you find out as much information as you can about all of your top choices and options, ask the right questions along the way and make a decision in the end that you are excited about.
Make a Recruiting Plan
Kick off your recruiting process on the right foot! Become an Access Sport member for exclusive access to programming and information that will teach you the skills you need to succeed in school, in sport and in life!
Find out recommended recruiting related actions to take depending on your age, and year in high school
Know the Rules
There are a lot of rules and regulations associated with recruiting, and being a student-athlete. Find out what you need to know by reading through information about eligibility, scholarships, communicating with coaches and calculating your GPA.
Check out our list of resources to assist you in finding school rankings, academic admission requirements, tuition costs, SAT/ACT information and preparation, athletic conferences and rankings, scholarship applications and much more!
Back to the Athlete Recruiting home page