When it comes to recruiting, I think the internet can be a helpful or harmful tool for parents and high school athletes. I’ve watched more than one parent pay a recruiting service hundreds of dollars as an investment in their son’s future only to learn that the service isn’t doing anything additional than the free efforts every athlete can do themselves. Choosing the right fit in a college is an important and nuanced process. A recruiting service may send a film to a few more schools, but that doesn’t mean those schools are good fits for the player.
When parents and athletes believe wrong things about recruiting it can be a serious thing. A financial loss is just one concern. There are rules that coaches need to abide by. When those rules aren’t understood unnecessary frustration can build. An aggressive parent can even put a coach in a compromising position. Many times I’ve had athletes tell me they regretted their college choice and that the recruiting process was misleading in hindsight.
Is there anything that can be done to give yourself a leg up in recruiting? Absolutely! And the best part is, it shouldn’t cost you a penny.
Top Recruiting Myths
Coaches Won’t Find Me If We Don’t Win
At one point this may have been true, but technology has given coaches the freedom to review thousands of athlete’s information from their living room couch. But this myth goes deeper than you might think. It assumes that coaches are looking at game film first.
It’s a waste of time for a coach to spend time recruiting an athlete that won’t be accepted at their institution. The recruiting timeline continues to shrink, and coaches are already spending days sleeping in their offices preparing for the weekend game. The last thing they want to do is waste time on recruiting.
Game film is important, but the scoreboard isn’t the only determining factor on whether an athlete is recruited.
If I’m Talented Grades Won’t Matter
Since the myth above addresses this I’ll just repeat the most important part. It is a waste of time to recruit an athlete that doesn’t have the grades to attend college. Statistically the ratio of athletes who are admitted to college on probation drop out at significantly higher rates than those who enter within the college’s established standards.
Athletes, entering college isn’t going to make academics easier. If you are struggling to maintain a good GPA in high school that’s likely to continue. It doesn’t mean you won’t be successful, but it may involve developing study skills at a junior college first.
My High School Coach Can’t Help Me
College coaches who are serious about an athlete are going to take the time to speak with a high school coach. Here are a few specific things your high school coach will be asked:
- Is the athlete coachable?
- Are they a team leader?
- Are they respectful to coaches and teachers?
- Do they take weightlifting and offseason practice seriously?
Besides being to speak to an athlete’s character, there is another way a coach can help. Your high school coach should be willing to call a college on your behalf. They most likely understand what type of college will be a great fit for you. High school coaches want to see their athletes succeed. They will do what they can to help.
Game Film is the Only Thing College Coaches Care About
“I need more film” is one of the most frequent requests from high school athletes. It is important to have film clips that give recruiters an idea of your talent. But as discussed above, game film alone will not win an athlete a scholarship, nor college admittance.
I Can’t Afford College Without A Sports Scholarship
This is probably the biggest myth there is. This may be true of Ivy League universities, but even then it’s likely to be inaccurate. Colleges offer reduced tuition for high academic students and for those that score well on the ACT and SAT.
In many situations, scholarship money is stackable meaning athletic scholarships can be added on top of academic money. I know of numerous times when athletes doubled their scholarship award because they had a high GPA.
Parents Aren’t A Factor
In addition to a recruiter asking about an athlete’s off the field character, they often also ask about the parents. According to the NCAA, of the 1,071,775 high school football athletes, 5.7% will play college football.
That means there is a huge pool of athletes to choose from and in many cases, especially at the highest levels, coaches can sort through players to get the best fit for their team.
Parents who helicopter, publically criticize, or lie about their athletes can be red flagged. College coaches have too much to deal with to have to combat parents as well.
PS- Dad who thinks they can head to the field to coach your son when things aren’t going as you think they should? The recruiting coach in the stands sees that. They take note.
What Is Helpful?
Now that we know the myths where do we go from here? I’ll cover that Thursday in the blog post Top Actions for Athletes Looking To Be Recruited. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions leave a comment. I’ll find an answer.