The college prep and athletic recruiting process is already a stressful endeavor to begin with, so avoiding mistakes is paramount. As a high school student-athlete, keeping these three recruiting mistakes in mind will allow you to more seamlessly and confidently progress through the steps required to potentially play at the collegiate level.
Overestimating Your Level of Play
We want student-athletes to believe in themselves and to be confident in their abilities. Working hard on the field of play and in the classroom will allow for the best of opportunities to present themselves. That said, a primary mistake of both parents and student-athletes is to assume that the student-athlete is better than what he or she truly is. In turn, they assume that they will be a hot commodity in the recruiting cycle, and they sit back to wait for correspondences and phone calls from coaches and recruiting coordinators. We’ve said it many times – you need to be proactive and aggressively marketing yourself to suitable teams and programs in the correct way. The larger schools that players typically aim for? Those are the ones playing on the weekends in those showcased time-slots so that the entire nation can be fixed on the game. Each of those schools has a luxury in their recruiting (procedurally, and with their budgets) which allows them to track the best of the best – even from an early age. While many parents or players may not be able to sufficiently evaluate athletic abilities, participating in college camps or at select tournaments is a great way to gauge yourself among a larger pool of athletes. Consider schools of best fit – athletically, academically, and socially. Overestimating talents can oftentimes leave a student-athlete frustrated, withdrawn, and cold to the process, especially when those offers aren’t rolling in as once anticipated.
Correspond with Only Select Teams and Schools
It would be incredibly easy if every school that you were interested was interested in you as well. Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence. The biggest mistake that a student-athlete can make here is not reaching out to enough schools of ‘best fit’. By casting a wider net – and making yourself known to more programs – you will have the opportunity to potentially receive more offers and more options. Start sooner rather than later, educate yourself on the recruiting process of a number of teams, review as best you can what needs the team will have at your position and, of course, find schools that have majors and a curriculum that you are interested in learning about! You never know… a school that you may not have initially considered may just be the place that fits you perfectly, setting you up for a successful college experience in the years that follow.
Counting Your Chickens Before They Hatch
You’ve emailed a list of coaches. You’ve called a number of teams. Maybe you’ve even DM’d, tweeted at, and tagged the staff member who recruits your area. Sure, working to make these connections will, inevitably, lead to some level of communication. You’ll get a response via email. Or a return phone call when the coach is able to do so per NCAA guidelines. Or a DM back telling you that the coach will ‘take a look’ at your highlight link. While this initial contact is a good starting point and can bring about positive feelings, a number of student-athletes will make the mistake of being over-confident. They think that this contact – email, call, even that invitation to camp or a Junior Day – is the last piece of the puzzle in their recruitment and that they are a priority in the team’s recruiting landscape. Keep in mind that the pool of prospective athletes is an enormous one, and you need to keep working for your dream of playing at the collegiate level - you cannot take things for granted. Work even harder in the classroom, push yourself on the field like each play is your last, and continue to market yourself to teams and schools. Continue to prove that you are a great athlete, terrific student, and an even better person. Do not stop striving for your goal until you formally make that commitment you are aiming for.
Questions on recruiting? Looking for guidance in the process? Do not hesitate to reach out today! Contact us at email@example.com.
LAC - Founder/Director
Founder - The College Essay Captain, and featured guest blogger here for LAC. It's her mission to inspire people to tell empowering stories.