Steps to Getting Recruited
every high school athlete's dream: That someday all
those endless practices, tiring scrimmages, overpriced
equipment and exhausting games might translate into a
chance to play sports on the collegiate level
with less than 10 percent of all high school athletes
playing their given sport at an NCAA-member institution,
and just a third of those receiving an athletic
scholarship, it's crucial that players and parents learn
all they can about this confusing, difficult and
oftentimes frustrating process known as recruiting.
matter what any one person or organization claims,
nobody can guarantee you or your child an athletic
scholarship. But it's our hope here at Active.com that
resource, along with additional information you
gather along the way, can help you take control of the
recruiting process and ultimately make an athlete's
dream come true.
Take the Right Classes
before college catalogs clog mailboxes, and recruiting
tapes are viewed, a student-athlete takes classes in
their freshman year of high school that directly affect
their NCAA eligibility.
eligibility standards continue to evolve--in 2008 the
NCAA increased the number of English and math courses
required by one--it's an athlete's responsibility to
make sure their class schedule fulfills NCAA core course
best way to make sure you meet all requirements is to
schedule an appointment with a high school guidance
counselor to ensure your course schedule is in-line with
the approved high school core course list. (It's a good
idea to do this each year as high school curriculums can
change as often as NCAA
your guidance counselor "guide" you in your
high school course selections--starting with your
freshman year and continuing throughout your high school
Register With the NCAA
used to be called the NCAA clearinghouse, but now it's
the NCAA Eligibility Center that students must register
with to validate their status as an amateur athlete.
(This is to ensure an athlete isn't secretly playing
defensive back for the Denver Broncos during their high
process is relatively pain-free; all you need is $50 and
a Social Security number. But don't leave it to the last
minute. Every year a few student athletes miss out on
the chance to play collegiately, because they fail to
register with the
NCAA Eligibility Center.
with the NCAA by your junior year.
Make Your List(s)
you compile a list of 200 schools you would just die to
play for, remember the function of the list is to help
you focus your search going into your sophomore and
junior year, not overly complicate the process with
tell athletes to make three lists," says Michael
Husted former NFL kicker and co-founder of iplayers.net--a
platform for athletes to create interactive recruiting
video profiles. "One: a list of their dream
schools, two: a list of schools that they could
realistically get into and three: a list of fallback
schools in case something happens at the last
before you freak out about the prospect of not attending
your favorite university, Husted concedes that
"there will be some overlap between the first two
lists." But ideally your three lists should total
no more than 12 to 15 schools, with the bulk of the
schools residing in the "realistic" list.
Make three lists--with four or five schools per list--to
focus your college search.
Create a Video
recruiting video is one of the most important ways an
athlete can attract the attention of coaches at the
university level. Unfortunately, it's also where many
athletes come up short, with substandard video quality
and unnecessary production components.
structure and contents of your video will depend on the
sport being promoted. Play-by-play sports such as
volleyball, football and baseball generally work best
with a collection of 15-25 highlight plays that
illustrate an athlete's ability. Continuous play sports
such as soccer, basketball and lacrosse should have 10
to 15 highlight plays-- with an additional game half
included to show real-time ability.
how do you make the video? Well, like anything in life,
quality does count. This doesn't mean you have to hire
Steven Spielberg to shoot your footage, but many people
find hiring a videographer a worthwhile expense.
those on a tighter budget, it is acceptable to shoot
footage from the stands with a modest camcorder. Just
make sure to use a tripod, if possible, to avoid camera
shake and practice following the action numerous times
to get the feel of filming a live sport. (The general
rule of film is to shoot five times more footage than
you'll actually need.)
skip the heavy metal soundtrack and colorful graphics.
Coaches hate them!
your video short, simple and as professional-looking as
5: Research the Schools
task used to be a lot more difficult 10 years ago. But
with the rise of the internet there is a multitude of recruiting
information, both official and unofficial, about
virtually any college or university you're interested
starters, check out the school's website to find out the
best coach or school official to contact. For smaller
schools, individual e-mail addresses for coaches can be
found quite easily, as they often view the website as a
promotional tool for their institution. Bigger schools
may require a little detective work to find contact
information for specific coaches, but it is not
find the e-mail address path (Eg: first name.last firstname.lastname@example.org,
first name.last email@example.com), usually found
in the athletic department directory of websites. Then
plug in the name of the coach you want to contact and
let them know you're interested in attending the
addition, Ronald Baum of Homerun
Softball camps believes a university's website can
also save you time by pinpointing which schools are
recruiting your position.
you're a pitcher, you can see that they've got four
pitchers coming back next year. Chances are they're not
recruiting a pitcher for the following year and you
should probably look somewhere else."
great resource is to talk to current and former players
who've already been through the recruiting process at
that particular university. You can get player referrals
directly from the school, or perhaps do a search for
athletes who've played at the university on social
networking sites such as myspace and facebook. Just let
them know you're interested in attending their alma
mater and ask if they have any tips or information about
the program. Though the information you receive may not
be entirely reliable, it can be an invaluable way to
peek inside a program, warts and all.
out a school's website. Find out who's on their roster
and collect contact information for relevant coaches.
it's time to place yourself on a college's radar in an
aggressive--but friendly--way. It used to be this could
wait until your junior year, but with the pace of youth
sports increasing all the time, it's probably a good
idea to begin contacting coaches in the summer before
your sophomore year.
what do you include in your e-mail or letter to the
coach? Well, some sort of introduction explaining who
you are and why you're contacting them. (Keep it short--
coaches are busy.) A few paragraphs should do.
copy of your recruiting video or a link where they can
view your video--the latter quickly becoming a popular
choice with coaches--as well as a recruiting
resume with details such as stats, honors, academic
data and contact information for your high school
coaches should also be included.
people prefer to make contact with a coach by phone.
This is fine as long it is the athlete who's making
contact, and not the athlete's mom or dad claiming their
kid is the next Reggie Bush. (Not only does it come off
as a unprofessional, but it also robs the coach of a
chance to get to know the athlete on a personal basis.)
Check out a school's website. Find out who's on their
roster and let the coaches know you're interested.
Increase Your Game-and Your Exposure-at a
camps generally serve two different functions: to
help an athlete get better and to help an athlete get
noticed. Some sports
camps, especially those at universities you've
targeted, can often do both at the same time. (Many
coaches find camps a great way to fill out their
those hoping a few days at a university camp will
magically get an athlete recruited, without having
established rapport with that institution beforehand,
are often disappointed.
the big camps, less than five percent of the kids who
attend are actually on the radar of that specific
university," said Husted. "But that doesn't
mean the experience is wasted."
is because the coaching fraternity, despite the large
number of colleges in the United States, is actually
quite small. Though you may not get an offer from Penn
State simply by attending one of their camps, this
doesn't mean the coach running the camp can't point you
toward an opening at a different university.
any job, it's all about networking and creating
relationships. So be on your best behavior and be ready
to learn as much as possible. You might just get
recruited, without even realizing it.
a camp and be flexible; you never know where that first
impression might lead.
The Final Choice
It's your senior year and, hopefully, you have a few
offers on the table. So what do you do? How do you narrow
it down to the one school that is right for you?
most athletes, it will depend on the financial
package being offered by the school. Are they
offering a full-ride? A partial scholarship? If one
school offers a significantly greater financial award,
it shouldn't be considered lightly. (Not just to avoid
going into major debt, but because it demonstrates their
interest in you as an athlete and a student.)
others, it will be a question of possible playing time
on the next level. Do you have a good chance of getting
in the starting lineup by your sophomore and junior
year? If you're a third baseman, and they've already got
two underclass third basemen in front of you, there
might be better places for you to pursue your higher
education while playing the hot corner
though, most people suggest basing your final decision
on the university itself. Not just the athletic
department, but the overall collegiate experience a
school has to offer.
suggestion to athletes is to narrow it down to their
three top choices, " says Husted. "And then
think, 'if something happens to my athletic career which
school would I be happy at.' There are no givens when it
comes to athletics. All you know for sure is whether
you'll feel comfortable at a certain university."
a university that offers you the best environment for
athletic, academic and personal development.