For any student-athlete, the recruiting process can run from exciting to emotional, frightening to fabulous. And while recruiting will be different for every recruit, for every coach and recruiter, the process is the same; it’s a business. So, if you want your recruiting to be as successful and stress-free, it might help to treat the process like a business. Doing so can help take some of the emotion out of your decision, and at the same time, help you make the decision that’s right for you, and only you. And you can do that in three easy steps:

Establish A Plan Of Action

Remember that your recruiting will be unique to you and only you. That’s why you need a game plan that’s specific to your abilities and desires. Choosing a school, athletic program, or even a major because that’s what a teammate, friend, or sibling did is a recipe for a bad college decision. 

Instead, establish what you want your college experience to be, honestly assess your athletic and academic abilities, then consider all the schools that match what you have to offer. From there, establish a target list of five to eight schools. 

With a target list in hand, assemble an online recruiting profile and highlight reel, and then start reaching out to coaches at those schools via email and social media. Remember that one email or social media introduction may not do the trick, so be persistent and don’t be afraid to send follow-up emails every couple of weeks. Be sure to personalize all your correspondence with every coach (which is to say, no cut-and-paste messages) and keep all your messages organized so you can track what you’ve sent to whom and who’s replied. 

Remember to not get discouraged if a particular coach or program shows no interest. Instead, use that opportunity to recalibrate your target list and start pitching some other schools until you do find the interest you’re looking for. If need be, reassess your profile, highlight reel, and introductory messages.  Make sure your profile gives a coach all the basic information he or she needs to know about you. Stack your highlight reel with your best clips in the first 30 to 45 seconds to grab a coach’s attention. And make sure all your messaging is personalized and sincerely tells a coach why you’re interested in their program. 

Be Ready To Be Flexible

No matter how meticulous you are in establishing your recruiting plan, it’s almost certain that not everything will go according to that plan. That’s OK, because change is inevitable, in recruiting, and in life. Given that, be ready to be flexible and roll with any changes or setbacks that do occur along the way. 

It may be different for everyone, but the changes you might encounter include your dream school not showing any interest in you or a coach suddenly losing interest in you when an older player transfers in. A teammate may get the spot you were hoping for or you simply may not be offered the scholarship amount you were hoping for. Or it may be as simple as a coach or coaches leave and the new coaching staff opts for a different recruiting direction.

Part of being flexible means having a Plan B or a Plan C to fall back on when those changes do occur. So control what you can control. Don’t lose any sleep over what you can’t control. Keep all your options open and always leave yourself room to change course when necessary during your recruiting. 

Believe In Yourself And Believe In The Process

If you nail Step 1 and Step 2 above, believing in yourself and believing that the recruiting process will ultimately work out should be a snap. You’re going to get plenty of advice and opinions along the way. But ultimately, the only opinion that matters should be your own. 

If you’ve established and followed your own plan of action and stayed flexible enough to handle the unexpected twists and turns along, then you should have a good feel for the school and program that’s right for you. The last step is actually the easiest. Trust your instincts and choose the school that fits you best. 

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