When you go to a showcase or camp, don’t just hope coaches notice you. Connect with them before, during, and after. At camps, ask coaches questions so you get to know them; before showcases, ask them to watch you and give their scouting report. Know when they’re allowed to talk at an event. Division II coaches can visit you off campus by June 15 before your junior year, and Division I coaches can do it by July 1 after your junior year. Off-campus talks pause for dead periods, when coaches can’t see you in person, and quiet periods, when they can see you in person only on their campus. Check your sport’s schedule for dead and quiet periods.
Any time you attend a camp or showcase, you want to make the most of it. Use these events to build relationships with the coaches involved. Don’t just count on coaches “discovering” you—take control and talk with them before, during, and after events. Of course, for this to work out, the coach has to be there. Your sport’s off-campus recruiting calendar affects where coaches can be and what they can say.
Treat these events and your talks with coaches there like job interviews. Carry yourself like a pro—introduce yourself, offer a firm handshake, and use your best language. You want coaches to see you as confident but not entitled.
If you’re at a camp, go up to the coaches working there. Ask questions to show you care. Hear what they have to say about not only their team but also their personal interests and playing history. They’ll appreciate having a real talk with you.
With showcases it’s smart to contact coaches ahead of time. Ask them if they’ll attend and if they’ll watch for you. Give a quick scouting report of yourself—share your strengths and weaknesses—so they know what to expect. Request that they give you their evaluation afterward because you want to know how to improve to make their team.
Keep in mind that coaches aren’t always allowed to attend your events. Know the NCAA rules for off-campus recruiting and for dead and quiet periods in your sport. That way you know when coaches aren’t able to see you at an event and it’s out of their control.
The date to remember for Division I is July 1 after your junior year. That’s when off-campus recruiting begins and coaches can go to your events. It’s different in two Division I sports. Women’s ice hockey starts July 7, and gymnastics starts July 15. Division II coaches can see you off campus earlier, on June 15, but rules say they may call or see you just once per week. In Division III, recruiting off campus is allowed without limits once your junior year ends.
But the off-campus greetings pause during dead and quiet periods. For dead periods, coaches can’t talk with you in person or watch you compete. If you bump into a coach during a dead period, you can’t get in trouble for saying hi, but the coach should say, “Hey, sorry, I’m not allowed to talk with you now.” Quiet periods are similar—coaches aren’t allowed to visit you or watch you play off-campus—but the difference is that they can see you on their campus.
Each sport has its own schedule for dead and quiet periods. Check your sport’s calendar so you know what to expect. Most sports are dead for early signing and regular signing periods. Some of them are dead again during championships.
Take these contact rules seriously. There’s no reason to get yourself or a coach in trouble with the NCAA. If you and the coach have off-campus contact during dead or quiet periods, then the NCAA may punish the coach and stop his or her program from recruiting you. You can still work on your relationship with the coach during dead or quiet times, because the NCAA lets you and your parents talk with the coach by phone or email.
Camps and showcases, when they line up with your sport’s recruiting calendar, are awesome ways to meet coaches and let them see your game.
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