For many student-athletes, the hardest part of recruiting is getting noticed by college coaches. If you live in a state that isn’t a traditional recruiting area for your sport, it’s even more difficult. And, if you fall into the latter category, you’ll likely have to put in some extra work to get recruited. So, follow these steps if you want to be a hot recruit but don’t live in a recruiting hotbed.
Putting yourself out there and blowing your own horn is actually something many recruits need to do. But, it’s crucial for student-athletes who may live in small towns or in non-traditional areas for your sport. In other words, marketing yourself means it’s up to you to be your own advocate and get yourself on a coach’s recruiting radar.
The first step in marketing yourself is to fill out recruiting questionnaires for each school you’re interested in. In most cases, you can complete those questionnaires online via a specific school or team’s website, though there are some schools that still use printed forms. Whatever form it takes, an athletic department questionnaire is a simple way to introduce yourself to a school’s coach and or recruiting staff.
Remember that filling out a questionnaire is nothing more than a way to show interest in a school or athletic program and put your name in front of a coach. There’s no guarantee that anything will come from it. And that’s why it’s important to follow up on every questionnaire and…
Once you’ve completed a school’s questionnaire, immediately follow up with an email to the coach to reiterate your interest in his or her program. It’s also an ideal way to demonstrate your initiative and show off your “go-getter” qualities, which coaches are always looking for. Ensure your email includes a brief introduction and explanation of why you’re interested in that school, a link to your recruiting profile and highlight reel, and a schedule of your upcoming games or tournaments. Don’t be discouraged if one email doesn’t get a response. Be persistent.
If you don’t live in an area where coaches come to recruit, it’s up to you to go where you can be seen. And the best way to do that is to attend camps or clinics at schools you’re interested in or where those coaches will be present. When attending a camp or clinic, send an email beforehand to let a coach or recruiting staff know you’re coming. Then follow up during the event by introducing yourself to the coaches and asking a few thoughtful questions about the program or the facilities. On-campus camps and clinics also offer a good opportunity to check out the athletic facilities, meet current team members, and get a feel for the campus. At the end of each camp or clinic, make sure to follow up with another email to thank coaches for their time and reiterate your interest in the program.
For a recruit who may not live in a hot recruiting area, social media such as Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram make it easy to get noticed by coaches. If you don’t already have an account, choose a username that is easily recognizable (i.e. YourName32 or YourNameBasketball) and the account focuses strictly on your athletic accomplishments. Follow coaches at the schools you’re interested in and try to post regular updates on athletic progress. If you already have existing social media accounts, review everything you’ve ever posted and immediately delete anything anyone might find offensive or objectionable. As you add content, remember to center it on your athletic abilities and what you can offer a college program. Avoid puffery or posting simply for likes, such as scholarship offer announcements.
It may take some extra work, but you can get recruited no matter where you live. Just remember to market yourself, fill out questionnaires, persistently send emails, get in front of coaches at camps and clinics, and use social media to increase your visibility. Do that, and you too can go from “off the beaten path” to the big time!
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