For most student-athletes, the hardest part of the recruiting process is simply the lack of control over how things will turn out. That’s why you’re often told to “control what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t.” That said, one of the most important elements of the recruiting process that you can control is how a coach views you. And the best way to do that is to think like a coach.
In addition to trying to project how you’ll grow physically and athletically over the next four years, college coaches also consider other areas to get a full picture of every recruit. And to ensure every coach gets a positive image of you, look at these four elements from a coach’s perspective and think about the impression each one makes.
Social media is a great way to promote yourself as a recruit. In fact, your social media account might be one of the first things a coach looks at when looking for more information about you. Given that, look at your social media accounts from the perspective of a college coach. Does the content on your feeds positively promote you as a recruit or does it serve up red flags?
To avoid those red flags, or maybe even yellow flags, look at every post you’ve made (or will make) and consider it through a coach’s eyes. Constantly airing complaints, negativity, and or bad behavior are definite red flags. A lack of respect for your coaches, teammates, and opponents will also tell a coach you’re not a team player. Since the other half of competing in college is academics, social media posts that always exhibit a poor attitude about school and homework will also likely make a college coach think twice about you as a recruit.
Though they’re inundated with emails and phone calls, coaches also pay close attention to the communications they receive from recruits. What does your grammar, message, and tone say about you?
Emails or phone calls to college coaches are ideal ways to get on a coach’s recruiting radar. But those same emails and calls can get your name quickly crossed off if they’re not well thought out.
Remember that a college coach likely has hundreds of recruits that want to talk to him or her. If you’re on a call with a coach, make sure you make it worth their time. A lack of interest, preparation or a bad attitude on your part will stick out to a college coach. If you can’t make time to be polite, confident, interested, and respectful of a coach’s time, it’s likely they won’t spend any more time recruiting you.
The same thought should apply to your email correspondence with coaches. Personalized, thoughtful messages that honestly tell a coach why you’re interested in their school and their program will get a coach’s interest. Form letters that don’t show any effort on your part will get deleted quickly, along with any interest a coach might have in you.
Plain and simple, if a coach’s decision comes down to you and another recruit, it’s likely he or she will choose the recruit with better grades. That’s because, in addition to projecting how you can contribute athletically in college, a coach also wants to be reassured that you can handle the load academically. In addition, good grades can make you eligible for academic scholarships. And that can allow a coach to put together a package of athletic and academic scholarships. That means a coach can stretch his or her scholarship budget farther while it also makes you a more attractive recruit.
Average grades can be raised with extra efforts, such as tutoring and entrance exam prep courses. However, poor grades can make a coach question your work ethic and your drive to succeed. From a coach’s view, bad grades or low standard entrance exam scores that won’t meet a school’s admission standards likely means a coach won’t consider you. So, if you look at your grades and entrance exam scores like a coach might, would you risk investing a four-year scholarship on you?
Your Coach’s Opinion
Coaches respect the opinion of other coaches. Coaches know the game and are highly qualified to share their observations of a recruit’s strengths and weaknesses. And for an unbiased opinion of an athlete’s physical skills, mental makeup, and personal character, a college coach will always look to that player’s high school or club coach.
With that in mind, look at yourself from your coach’s standpoint. Are you a team player or a me-first player? Are you on time for every practice? Do you work hard to improve yourself at practice and in the weight room? Do you translate instruction from coaches into action in games and at practice? What would your coach say about your mental focus and game IQ?
As student-athlete worrying about the future, it’s easy to see the recruiting process only from your point of view. But if you want to be more recruitable, think about how a coach sees you. Look hard at your social media, your tone and attitude, your grades, and how your own coach sees you. If you don’t like what you see, chances are, college coaches won’t either.
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