Top Actions for Athletes Looking To Be Recruited

Top Actions for Athletes Looking To Be Recruited

Last week I mentioned that the NCAA reports that only 5.7% of high school football players go on to play NCAA college football. For me, that number is a reminder that it is a privilege to play college football at any level.  It’s important for both athletes and parents to remember this. It’s also something to be aware of when weighing college options.

Every high school football player has options they can pursue to be a part of a college football team. Not all of those options are at the D1 level. Do you want to play college ball? There are things every athlete can do today to extend their football career and increase their recruiting profile.

Top Actions Athletes Can Do Today

Get In The Weight Room

One of the most important things a football player can do is lift weights. This might seem obvious at the college level, but it begins in high school. Lifting weights must be done responsibly, but it must be done. 

Continuous participation in athletics is hard on the body. Knee and ankle joints suffer from the running and sprinting. Shoulders are strained from tackling or throwing. Many athletes have back problems later in their lives. The best way to protect your body is to lift weights. 

Be Coachable

Coaching is a profession. It is something that takes a lot of education. The best coaches are constantly studying and developing themselves. That doesn’t mean that coaches know everything. But here’s the thing, regardless of the sport, no team in history has won by having defiant athletes do their own thing.

As an athlete, you need to remember that your coach was also once an athlete. They may have even disagreed with a coach at one time or another. But that doesn’t mean the coach was wrong. Here’s how you can be a coachable athlete:

  • Study your playbook
  • Be willing to adjust your technique
  • Ask questions
  • Be a team player, even if it means playing out of position
  • Do what your coach asks you to do, even when it seems dumb.

Coaches are looking at the whole picture. They are considering team dynamics, where the weak areas need support, and how the team as a whole can best function. Each player is one aspect of that.

Take The Classroom Seriously

I can not stress this enough. If you want to play college athletics, you give yourself an immediate advantage by having good grades. You expand your options of colleges to attend. Eligible athletes are always going to have priority for scholarships. 

Do Your Research

Many athletes wait for colleges to contact them before deciding where they will attend. This is fine, but it isn’t the only option. If you know what major you want to pursue check out schools that rank high for having a great program in that major.

If you have a specific area of the country you want to stay in or a maximum budget you know can’t be adjusted, then figure out what colleges fit.

Communicate For Yourself

Once you know what options you have, send an email to the coach and set up a visit. Better yet, set up a tour with admissions. Although a lot of your time will be taken up with playing a sport, you will enjoy your college experience much more if you participate in other things.

Meet the professors who teach in your preferred major. Check out the dorms. Find out what the campus rules and requirements are.  More than one athlete has earned their way onto a team by marketing themselves instead of sitting back and hoping a coach would contact them.

PS- Parents, it’s not going to impress a coach if mommy and daddy are the ones making contact. If you feel your athlete needs a nudge talk to their current coach and ask for them to reach out. This is a great step towards teaching your soon-to-be college student what independent responsibility looks like.

Make Wise Choices

If you have a hot temper that you refuse to control on the field, a wise coach will wonder what that looks like off the field as well. I’ve learned that the best advice I can offer in this area is to always assume you will get caught.

  • Don’t drink under age – it’s illegal
  • Don’t drive with people who have been drinking
  • Don’t do things on school grounds that are against school rules
  • Always speak respectfully
  • Always have a witness
  • Always do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing.

What to stand out in a sea of uniforms and stats? Doing the right thing is the quickest and easiest way to do so.

The process of recruiting can be long and stressful at times. It’s important to remember you aren’t alone, but that a lot of the process is directly determined by you (the athlete’s) personal choices and actions. Thankfully, you can get started today.

 

Top Recruiting Myths

Top Recruiting Myths

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.