“The successfully recruited athlete turns tasks that they don’t like doing into habits.”
Here are the 4 must steps to take for creating college recruiting opportunity and why most people don't take them.
Let’s face it, becoming a recruited athlete and playing college sports is a big challenge. Sure, the top 1% of high school senior athletes get 95% of the recruiting attention. But what about the rest? Inside the numbers shows that there are 100,000 incoming freshmen college athletes each year of which 5,000 are highly recruited. That means coaches from top NCAA DI programs actively recruit them. Not so for the other 95,000. Therein lies your opportunity.
For the balance of college freshmen recruits, the job is on them to target market themselves to the coaches of colleges for which they have identified as a good match for their admission acceptance and possible sports opportunity. For this group of athletes, being recruited is not a pure talent contest. Rather, it is a contest in strength-of-purpose, diligence, relationship building, personal marketing, and continuous effort; all of which applies to athletes and parents. This requires having a proactive, knowledge-based strategy, and knowing how it works.
The formula for being recruited requires taking four initial steps in a sequence of ten steps. You can’t leap-frog to the fifth step, much less the tenth step. Therefore, we will focus on the first four steps to get you to the critical point.
- Step one in every college search process, athletes or students, is to build a college list and work from this list.
It is essential that an athlete-family begins with building a list of colleges that match the student-athlete’s qualifications and interests, along with the parent’s interests and needs. Make no mistake, this is the starting point from which all activity follows. Without it, all of your work is nothing more than mere guesswork.
- Step two in every college recruiting process is to create a personal marketing package for use in broadcasting the student-athlete’s interest to colleges.
Marketing is the dreaded term of many people, however without it, talented athletes go unnoticed and unrecruited. Predictably so, their competitive sports come’s to a premature end while standing on their high school graduation stage. But with an active, engaging, marketing package and mindset, a college sports career becomes many more times likely.
- Step three requires the student-athlete to collect the contact information of the coaches from the colleges on their college list
This is a simple task, yet one that few athletes will ever do, thus creating your advantage in doing so. It requires organization and a bit of effort to go on their websites for identifying the coach’s name, email, and phone number. But without doing so, your recruiting effort and likely outcome will fall short.
- Step four requires the student-athlete to contact and connect with the coaches from the colleges on their college list. We call this “target marketing.”
Contact means to begin communications by sending their personal marketing package by email. Connect means to begin building a personal relationship by placing a call to the coach, the head coach at that. Herein lies the barrier for the majority of high school athletes and their parents. It’s not hard to send out an initial email, although few do it. What’s harder is the diligent effort that must follow.
Too many athlete-families send out a single email in hopes that it triggers extensive interest. But that doesn’t work. Rather, it takes several follow-up emails along with phone calls to make the real connection. Very few athletes will go to that extent, but the ones who do will create substantial advantage over all others. Where most people see this barrier as being a 50’ concrete wall, I see it as being a mere one foot step to get over. It’s the perception of this great big prohibitive wall that stops talented and qualified student-athletes from continuing their sport in college.
The ultimate goal in taking these steps is to connect with college coaches in a meaningful way beyond casual emails and camp invitations. For those who do, playing college sports becomes much more within their reach. Once the relationship is established, everything will progress as necessary leading to step ten, planning for evaluations. Otherwise, athlete-families will be left to the hope, wait, and wish strategy; leading them down a frustrating, dead-end path and disappointing outcomes.
The college recruiting process rewards proactive involvement and a commitment to performing tasks that most young people don’t like doing. But transforming these tasks into routine habits will establish your advantage for becoming a collegiate athlete. I guarantee it!