Regardless of talent or grade point average, your recruiting process will be unique to you. That said, there are some things that every recruit will likely experience. And while your response to those hurdles should also be unique, there are a few common approaches to overcoming some of the difficulties you might encounter during your recruiting process.
Your Coach Won’t Help Your Recruiting
Every high school or club coach views their job differently. For some, the focus is only on wins and losses and what needs to be done to increase the former and avoid the latter. Others take a broader view that includes wins and losses but also focuses on developing their athletes. But no matter which approach a coach may take, some don’t consider “helping kids get recruited” as part of their job description.
Some coaches may actively advocate for and help a student-athlete get recruited, while others may simply do the bare minimum. If your coach falls into the latter category, don’t despair. Just remember that this is your recruiting process, not theirs.
If your head coach won’t or can’t help with your recruiting, find one that will. It may be an assistant coach, a strength and conditioning coach, a coach you met at a camp or clinic, or even an opposing coach. Whether it’s a letter of recommendation, calls to college coaches on your behalf, or simply advice on what college coaches are looking for, figure out what you need and find the coach in your life, past or present, who can help.
Coaches Aren’t Seeing Me Play
Remember that most college coaches are inundated with recruits looking for a spot on their roster. But those same coaches only have a limited amount of time and recruiting budgets that might be even more limited. Given that, college coaches may not show up in droves to see your games.
Fortunately, you live in the age of the internet and it’s easier than ever to put yourself in front of a college coach. Reach out to college coaches via email or connect via social media and let them know when you’re playing. Make sure you have a highlight reel online and keep it updated.
If a coach can’t get to your game, get your game to them. If you’re playing in a stadium or facility that’s available via internet streaming, send the link to a coach along with your number, position, and the details of the game. If you’re not playing in a facility with a streaming service, look for a parent or teammate who might be streaming the game via Facebook Live and send that link to the coach.
Finally, look around and see where you stand athletically. If your school has traditionally produced athletes that went on to play at the next level, getting a coach to show up for your games might be easy. However, if your team hasn’t been a recruiting hotbed, then you may have to put in more work to get a coach to see you. Once you understand your own situation, you’ll know how much work you’ll have to put in to get coaches to see you play.
Coaches Aren’t Responding To Your Emails
As noted above, coaches are flooded with emails from student-athletes who are looking to be recruited. But, since there are regulations governing when and how a coach can contact you, the first thing to do when reaching out to a college coach is to understand the recruiting calendar. If the window is open for a coach to respond, but your email hasn’t received a response, be patient. Remember, it will likely take more than one email to get on a coach’s recruiting radar. So, in addition to being patient, be persistent.
If patience and persistence aren’t paying off, step back and assess your talent versus the schools you’re considering. Compare your stats and size to current members of a team on your target list and see how you match up. If there’s a notable disparity, don’t despair. Instead, expand and recalibrate your target list of schools and keep sending out emails until you find schools and coaches that are looking for what you have to offer.
Finally, don’t forget to evaluate the emails you’re sending. Form emails likely won’t get a response no matter how perfect a fit you might be. Instead, make sure each email you send is personalized and honestly expresses to a coach why you’re interested in their program and that school. And don’t forget that grammar and tone matter, too.
While recruiting will be a different experience for every student-athlete, remember that plenty of recruits will face the same hurdles along the way. Instead of getting discouraged, be patient, be persistent, and keep working. The effort and work you put into overcoming adversity during your recruiting process will not only make you a more attractive candidate but will also make you a stronger person as well.
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