Posts Tagged “college recruiting game plan”


So you’ve developed your recruiting game plan, effectively marketed yourself to your target schools, and you’re starting to see some responses and interest from college coaching staffs.  When you get past the initial emails expressing their mutual interest, the next stage is to get on the phone together.  So what are you supposed to say?

In this edition of our college lacrosse education series, we’ll cover some of the things you need to keep in mind when you reach the stage of speaking on the phone or in person with a coach who is actively recruiting you.  Like many things in life, relationships are the key to a successful recruitment, and often a phone call is an early step in fostering those relationships with college programs.


Yes, there is a physical component to this.  We’ve all felt anxiety in new situations…it’s a natural and normal reaction.  Just like performing on the lacrosse field, you’ll do better when you can calm your nerves to simply perform.  One of the main ways you can control this (on the field and off) is through your breathing.  Before the call, do some controlled deep breathing exercises and review the information you’ve gathered on the school, lacrosse program, and coach to whom you are scheduled to speak.  If you get hung up during the call and find yourself sucking air, try to take deep breaths with your mouth away from the phone while the coach is speaking.

Be honest/ this is about YOU

Of course you don’t want to lie to a coach on the phone or in person, but what we’re talking about here is providing a coach with YOUR goals and dreams.  We’ve all memorized the “right answers” to questions about our game- “it’s about the team”, “I’ll play anywhere you need me”, “I just want to be a good teammate”, but that doesn’t tell a recruiter what you think YOU can bring to their program.  If you want to compete for a starting spot as a freshman, say that.  If you’re willing to play defensive midfield for a year or two to get the chance to compete for an offensive spot, say that, but it needs to be about what YOU want and what YOU are willing to do to make that happen.  You have to realize that your coach and your program aren’t in charge of your progression, so it’s up to YOU to get better and compete for playing time.  At the college level, your desire and dedication to reaching your own goals serve as an important indicator to a coach of how well you will play for them and their program, increasing your ability to secure a roster spot or scholarship offer.

Avoid negative statements

There is a difference between saying you prefer a larger university and saying you don’t like small schools.  There’s a difference between saying that you’re interested in higher-level academics than something disparaging, even about another school.  As a high school student-athlete, it’s likely that you have an idea of what you want, but you really don’t know what will work best for you and your family.  The risk you run by going negative is in offending a recruiter.  These coaches are proud and dedicated to their schools and programs, so the wrong critical or negative comment can change the complexion of the conversation and end their recruitment of you.  Enter each interaction with an open mind, ready to listen to what the coach is trying to tell you about the opportunity they’re offering.

Ask questions

One of the best ways to let a coach know that you’re seriously interested is through thoughtful questions.  You want to ask things that can’t be found through a quick google search.  Information like majors offered, class sizes, and campus location can all be found quickly and easily.  If you want to maximize your time with the coach, you want to ask questions you can’t find online:

  1. What would my typical day look like in the fall? In the spring?
  2. What type of player do you recruit? How many are you recruiting in my class?
  3. Where do you see me fitting in your program? What can I work on to fit better in your program?
  4. Does the lacrosse team live together? Is there a Greek system or a “Lacrosse Fraternity”?
  5. Is there a prevalent major among the guys on the team?

These are just a few examples, but you want to ensure that you convey to the coach that you have thought about his program and you are interested in learning more from him.  That kind of preparation encourages the coaches to engage with you and lets them know they’re not wasting their time with a prospect that is only lukewarm on their school.

Don’t commit to anything you’re not sure of

College coaches are salesmen.  They have to be salesmen to attract the best recruits and build their programs.  Because they are juggling 75 recruits to commit 15 of them, they sometimes get aggressive in asking for your thoughts on commitment to their school.  Don’t let a coach paint you into a corner or solicit an answer you’re not prepared to give.  A simple “I would need to discuss that with my family before I give you an answer” will usually suffice.  The same applies for pressure to visit the campus – “Thanks coach, and I’ll sit down with my parents to see if that weekend can work for us as well”.  The main thing you want to avoid is agreeing to something only to go back on it later, which can create issues in your relationship with that coach.

Phone Call Tips

While we often talk about this college selection process as one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life, we also must recognize that a coach’s choices affect their families and livelihoods as well, so they take this process very seriously.  They want to get to know the real you so they can evaluate your fit in their program, both on the field and off.  Your ability to communicate effectively and show genuine interest in their school and lacrosse program can greatly impact the opportunities you get throughout the recruiting process.  You certainly don’t have to be polished and have all the answers, but effectively communicating through some nerves shows coaches your maturity and begins to give him an idea of who you are, both as a student-athlete and a young man.

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We would like to congratulate Tristen Alesi on his commitment to the College of Idaho. Here’s Tristen’s recruiting story and interview after his commitment. Good luck as a Yote!

Tristen Alesi

1. Share your recruiting story and status

The process was pretty easy going. The hardest thing about everything was the waiting game of talking to coaches and seeing if they would reply to you and how long it would take.

2. What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

I am attending the College of Idaho and I chose them because I like the atmosphere here. The coaches have their head in the right place in changing the program into one of the best NAIA programs in the league.

3. How did SportsForce help in the process?

SportsForce helped me contact lots of colleges in a small amount of time and getting my name out there. Creating my highlight videos and sharing my stats was huge in my recruiting process.

4. What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process (ex. start early, get a highlight video)?

Start early in the recruiting process. The sooner coaches know your name and you develop a relationship, it puts you in a better place for being recruited and being reached out too.

5. How excited are you for your future in college?

I am very excited for my future in college!

6. How much money do you anticipate your family saving in college expenses because of you being recruited?

I am saving thousands of dollars that otherwise would’ve been spent on college and will not be in debt out of college.

7. Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?

Yes, but be aware that the process takes time and since college coaches have restrictions on expressing their direct personal interest in you, you may not have as much personal interaction with a coach right away, but if you trust the process, it will be worth it in the end.

Over the last five years, SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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We would like to congratulate Garrett Hastings on his commitment to the University of Kentucky! Here is Garrett’s recruiting story and intervew after his commitment. Good luck as a Wildcat!

Garrett Hastings

1. Share your recruiting story and status.
It’s a long patient process, I learned a lot of how coaches think and what they are looking for. Even the small things matter because you never know when you have the opportunity to make an impression.

2. What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

University of Kentucky, SEC Baseball & Education

3. How did SportsForce help in the process?

Education, more specifically Ryan Thompson. He took the time and made the efforts to walk us thru the process of recruiting and outlined ways that helped me stand out to schools. He taught me about the mental and physical ways that I needed to continue to improve.

4.What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process?

Start earlier than you think, developing a plan of a group of target schools. Try to get on their radar, then keep them updated on your accomplishments and upcoming tournaments. Use your own language and talk to them straight the coaches seem to appreciate that. You definitely want to provide a highlight video long enough to outline/show your strengths and update it over time.

5. How excited are you on your future in college?

Very excited, the opportunities for me are endless.

6. How much money do you anticipate your family saving in college expenses because of you being recruited?

I will save some money, but travel baseball is expensive so not sure if my parents saved 🙂

7. Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?

I would, they have an understanding of the process, templates and the data to develop communication for schools across the country and all athletic and educational levels. But be prepared as a family to make an effort to work together and research.

Over the last five years SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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Lacrosse scholarship
As I watch the MLL and high-level college lacrosse on TV these days, it occurs to me that every player I’m watching, to the last man, has put in the time, effort, and focus required to be truly good at the highest level of the game.  Many young players I talk to believe that mastery of their chosen sport is predestined, or that some kids just get lucky in the genetic lottery…but I know better.

Raw talent and athleticism can dominate a 7/8th-grade lacrosse game, and we’ve all seen that in action.  When you get to higher levels, however, the players that are putting in the work to improve their game quickly catch and surpass these “naturally good” players who don’t put as much work in to get better.  Players who are building their strength and endurance in the offseason, who never let their stick go untouched in any given week, who show up to practice to train hard, and who take care of their health and nutrition habitually eventually rise to the top.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard

We’ve all heard the stories about Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball program as a freshman, Steph Curry getting very little interest from college coaches, and Tom Brady being drafted in the NFL’s sixth round, 199th overall.  If they simply accepted these circumstances and believed they just “didn’t have it”, where might they be today?  Certainly not among the greatest performers their sports have ever seen.

So here are some things that highly successful athletes do to stay ahead:

1. While the world sleeps, they work

How many times do you catch yourself saying “I just ran out of time today,” making an excuse for why you didn’t go to the gym, or go for a run, or hit the wall for some stick work? I know I have. Well here is your solution… get up early, perhaps 5:00/6:00 am, and get it done first. I promise you all Fortune 500 CEO’s and Olympic athletes don’t sleep in or watch 4+ hours of TV a day, or waste hours on social media.

Think about it, do you want to be someone who reads about other people’s greatness or do you want to be someone that others read about your greatness?  You decide. I think you will find that the morning calm before the world wakes up is a magical and spiritual time, and there is no greater feeling in the world than heading off to school, or your work day, knowing that you have already achieved something great… a long run, gym, or yoga class.

2. Their work creates confidence, so when life presents an opportunity, they seize it without hesitation

Opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” I am sure you all are recognizing the big opportunities– invitation to a recruiting camp, showcase, etc. But let’s really break it down and focus on the little opportunities that you may be overlooking that have the greatest impact. The opportunity to hit the gym with your parents or friends, the opportunity to play in a box league, the opportunity to reach out to a local collegiate player to train with them, the opportunity to stay late after practice and help a teammate or yourself work on your dodges, or stick handling, or shooting.

It is these little opportunities that will raise your game immensely.  Gen. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State said “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” What he means by this is that if you are going to succeed on the grander scale you need to first succeed on a smaller scale. Start your day with making your bed. It is a little achievement but it is nonetheless an achievement and a start.

3. They create routines and hold themselves accountable

We all know routine is important, but we can all get a calendar and map out our week and think, wow, I am going to get so much done this week. But what I want you to do is get to the END of your week and say, “Wow, I GOT so much done this week!”

Look back and see how many actions you were able to cross off. This is accountability, and I promise you there is no one in your life that is going to force you to do anything. Your parents are great advocates of yours, along with your friends and teammates, but at the end of the day, the only person that can make you get up and run farther, or faster, or do a third set of squats IS YOU. This is a true testament to how bad do you want to be great?  I guarantee all those lacrosse players you are watching on TV seldom had to be told to run harder, run farther, or lift more.  They do it because they want to be great!

4. They fill their bodies with proper nutrients and a lot of it

Fuel.  Cars need it to run, engines machines need it to run, and we ABSOLUTELY need it to run. But you have to remember that it needs to be the right fuel. If you just went to the gym and worked out hard, then reward yourself with a healthy snack and some hydration. Don’t ruin everything you have achieved in the gym by getting drive through after. That is being counterproductive.

Remember that you are an elite athlete and may look a little different than your non-athlete friends. I am here to tell you that more is OK! You are strong and fit, and your body needs more because you are burning more. So don’t feel bad about finishing your whole sandwich, yogurt, apple and peanut butter, Cliff bar, banana, and huge water. You needed it! Because at the end of the day, if you thrive at the first three–getting up early, seizing the opportunity, and being accountable, then you will never reach your potential if your body cannot keep up. Eat healthy, eat often and hydrate all the time! Be that person in the class that always has a water bottle with them.

 5. They get the most out of every practice, drill, scrimmage, and game

You’ve gone to practice thinking about your upcoming math test, you’re tired from yesterday’s game, you don’t like Monday training sessions, you deserve a day off…

Highly successful athletes have bad days too, but they never give a bad effort or let themselves dog it through a drill or practice feeling sorry for themselves or making excuses.  We’ve already talked about seizing opportunities, but what if your opportunity comes on a less-than-ideal day for you?  Mental fortitude is another trait that is not inborn but learned and trained.  It’s an everyday attitude that is built through a consistent level of effort, regardless of the circumstances.

I went to West Point and played for legendary college coach Jack Emmer.  One of the many lessons I took from him was that you have to deal with what comes up and power through it if you want to win.  He would say, “If we lose, there’s no asterisk next to this game because….” Fill in the blank:

“We had an Army Physical Fitness Test this week” / “It snowed 18 inches on our field” / “The streets outside our facility are flooded” / “You have a 20-page paper due”

I could recite a long list of things I heard from Coach Emmer over my four years at Army, but the lesson it left us with is that you cannot let outside factors affect your mental and physical preparation to meet your opportunities to excel.  Try to use the energy from all the frustration or stress to fuel your focus during your training session or event…every thought you entertain that does not feed your success actually hampers it.

Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect…perfect practice makes perfect.

Whether you fall into the “natural talent” category or not, success at the highest levels of anything in life will require your time, effort, and focus.  Make yourself better at every opportunity, and enjoy the growth you’ll achieve, knowing that you’re ready for your opportunity when it presents itself.  It’s truly just up to you…do you want to think about the excuses you have or the success you want?

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We would like to congratulate Jacob Benson on his commitment to the University of La Verne! Here are Jacob’s recruiting story and interview after his commitment. Good luck as a Leopard!

Jacob Benson

1. Please share your recruiting story and status.

The recruiting process for me was about as lengthy as gets. There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, some days had me feeling doubtful and stressed out while others left me feeling like I could do no wrong. Overall, I am very satisfied with the way things worked out. I committed to La Verne in the middle of July going into my freshman year of college and I couldn’t be happier about it.

2. What school are you going to, and why did you choose them?

I chose the University of La Verne because I felt that it suited me academically and athletically. It’s a pretty tough school to get into, and I really enjoy the fact that they have small class sizes. As for baseball, they have a really good history of winning and the coaches and facilities are one of a kind.

3. How did SportsForce help in the process?

Sportsforce really helped in the process of organizing emails and helping me give a clear path of what schools were a good fit. Along with this, they did what I needed the most, which was getting me exposed to many schools through tournaments and showcases.

4. What advice would you give to other players and parents with the recruiting process?

I would tell parents and their players to not rush the recruiting process. It’s good to be able to have a lot of options in front of you, and if you commit too early, you might be missing out on a better offer you could have had in the future. There were a lot of factors that went into choosing a school for me, so I would recommend not being too anxious to commit after receiving that first offer. Enjoy the ride, it’s a once in a lifetime experience!

5. How excited are you for your future in college?

I’m beyond excited to get going, I always loved watching the pace and intensity of a college baseball game, and I can’t wait to finally be a part of that.

6. How much money do you anticipate your family saving in college expenses because of you being recruited?

I would say my family is going to save around $70,000 due to me being an athlete. If you can manage to keep good grades in high school, it really opens up a lot of opportunities to get into prestigious schools and earn more scholarships to go along with it.

7. Would you recommend SportsForce to any other student-athletes? Why?

I would absolutely recommend Sportsforce for any high school athlete looking to play in college. I truly believe they’ve created a reliable and efficient formula to get kids recognized and exposed to whatever school they desire. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for me!


Over the last five years, SportsForce has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

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NCAA Saben Lee

Congratulations to SportsForce client Saben Lee.  Saben is a 2017 Point Guard from Phoenix, AZ.  We began introducing Saben to college basketball coaches in his sophomore year of high school.  Within about the first year of our working together, Saben received more than 20 Division I offers, including Stanford, Nebraska, Louisville, Utah, Pepperdine, Boise State and many others.  His final commitment was made to Coach Bryce Drew at Vanderbilt University of the SEC.

Regardless of your sport, the 5 Critical Elements to Securing Multiple Offers include:

  1. Good Communication: top college recruits understand how to effectively communicate with college coaches by asking strategic questions that uncover a coaches’ true interest in them, while also being uniquely prepared for those questions college coaches will ask of them.
  2. Appropriate Target-Lists: top college recruits focus on proper target-list schools and sports programs that match their athletic and academic skill-set, instead of wasting valuable time and energy on collegiate opportunities that most likely will never be realized.
  3. Take Control: top college recruits avoid the trap of relying solely on external factors to generate offers, such as assistance from high school or club team coaches, and only attending viewing tournaments, or camps in order to be “seen” or evaluated by college coaches.
  4. Stay Disciplined: top college recruits prepare for, and are diligent in the use of appropriate follow-up strategies with college coaches, even when some opportunities appear to be going nowhere. They spend time researching best-fit schools and make it easy for coaches to communicate with them.
  5. Game Plan Execution: top college recruits learn the importance of creating and then executing a well-thought out plan to beat the competition, and the competition is fierce in order to achieve your college recruiting goals. They know the absence of a well-developed plan creates uncertainty, misdirection and lost recruiting opportunities.

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Summer Recruiting

It’s that time again…summer club season.

By this point in the year, most high school lacrosse players have sifted through the multiple club teams, showcases, prospect days, and tournaments to which they have been invited, and tough decisions are being made.  Likewise, college coaches are finalizing their plans, allocating precious recruiting resources to various tournaments and events throughout the country.

In this installment of our College Game Plan Education series, we’ll provide a basic overview to get the most out of your summer investment.

So let’s stay at a high level and get started with a few questions:

Have you narrowed the list of schools that you’re interested in?

There are over 350 colleges with NCAA Men’s Lacrosse programs, but only a few schools that align with your academic, athletic, social, geographical, and financial goals.  Taking the time up front to focus only on best-fit schools will save you and your family tremendous amounts of time, money, and frustration.  We call this developing a “target list” of schools.  Factors such as what academic programs are offered (and their rating), school size, location, social aspects, level and culture of the lacrosse program, and the coaching staff must be considered to make an informed final decision and should be part of developing your target list.

What coaches from your target list committed to attend your events?

The questions I most hear from families in late spring revolve around one topic: the BEST teams/camps/showcases to attend this summer to be seen by college coaches.  The answer to “which is best?” comes down to how many of your targeted schools will be at an event and whether you can interest them enough to come see you play.  For example, a showcase heavily attended by Ivy League schools would likely not be the best use of resources for a player with a 2.5 GPA.  If you have the grades, the desire, and the talent to attend Harvard or Princeton, however, it would likely be a great event to attend.

Have you contacted any coaches to let them know where you’ll be playing?

Many players believe that if they’re on the right team or at the biggest showcase, they’ll simply get noticed.  NCAA rules limit the amount and type of contact a coach can have with an underclassman (currently 2018 and below), so you can’t expect to have meaningful conversations with them when you see them or meet them in person at events.  While accolades like all-star teams and all-tournament teams on your resume can certainly have an impact, a college coach usually arrives at an event with a list of names they’ll be evaluating and those players’ schedules, so it’s important to make personal contact and begin to establish relationships with coaches in the weeks leading up to your events.

Do you have an effective online presence?

Lacrosse is quickly growing into a nation-wide sport, with more and more new players picking up a stick each year.  College coaches are flooded with emails and phone calls from high school players that desperately want to attend their school and be a contributor in their program.  It’s wise to make it as easy as possible for a coach to evaluate your potential as a recruited player rather quickly.  In today’s recruiting landscape, a highlight video, your academic information, and your measurable statistics (height, weight, speed, etc.) are a bare minimum.  It is a good idea to also include references and their contact information, your upcoming schedule, a copy of your transcript, and even a personal statement or a list of college goals you’re looking to achieve.  Your goal is to establish a relationship with these coaches, so the more you set yourself apart during the initial evaluation phase, the more likely you’ll be recruited by multiple coaches and programs.

      Steps to Maximize Your Summer Game Plan

  1. Develop a target list of potentially best-fit schools and lacrosse programs
  2. Create/Update/Maintain online presence that markets YOU
  3. Establish contact with college coaches, interest them in your information
  4. Be yourself, ask questions, and learn all you can from the coaches you meet
  5. Have fun playing lacrosse
  6. Conduct follow-up with interested coaches after each event

      Other tips for success:

  1. Stay hydrated and have a nutritional plan at summer events
  2. Play hard all the time, you never know who may be watching
  3. Play smart- it’s still a team game in the summer
  4. Always display sportsmanlike conduct
  5. How you look & act between games matters

The common thread in everything we do in the recruiting space is that it’s all about relationships.  Choosing a college is an extremely personal and emotional decision for every family, and the investment is likely the largest any parent makes in their child’s future.  As such, every player and parent feel the need to be personally comfortable with the school, the campus, and the lacrosse program before committing to attend.  Likewise, college coaches earn their living based on how their team performs on and off the field, and the stakes are high, so they have to truly get to know the young men they invite to play for their program.  Developing relationships with college coaches should be one of the main goals of your summer, and will require you to formulate a plan to make the best use of your summer lacrosse schedule and the opportunities you will have to be seen and evaluated by your best-fit programs.

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When a student-athlete becomes serious about playing their sport in college, it helps to understand when a college coach is truly recruiting them. Many families have difficulty interpreting the various types of correspondence from college coaches. They just can’t tell the difference when a coach is genuinely interested in developing a relationship versus one who is just marketing their school’s sports program.

Understanding this difference is not only vital to your success, it saves you valuable time, money and resources on chasing opportunities that will never be realized. When your efforts are focused on the coaches and schools that really have an interest in you, the results tend to reflect more offers, higher scholarship amounts and a shorter recruiting cycle.

At SportsForce, we like to help our families visualize this process. The diagram below shows a person climbing a mountain. This represents your son or daughter. They’re ascending the college recruiting mountain with possibly several hundred thousand other student-athletes also competing for a college roster spot for their particular sport. But on average, only about 5-6% of those few hundred thousand make it to the top of the mountain with an offer or scholarship.

College Recruiting Mountain

The areas listed on the right are the basic steps and communication that takes place along the way. More specifically, the areas in red are what we call “Base Camp One” on the mountain. That’s where a lot of student-athletes stop in terms of their college recruiting. At this point, they have no contact with college coaches. Another key indicator of being at Base Camp One is they might attend or be invited to a big tournament, combine or camp. They might also receive generic emails, questionnaires or form mailings from a coach.  But that’s about as far as it goes. The red color means they have not advanced their recruiting progress.

The key to knowing when you’re being “actively” recruited, is when your son or daughter have an ongoing personal dialog with a college coach. The area in yellow highlights some of these types of activities and communication. If they’re receiving personal texts, phone calls, emails or hand-written notes, this means they’re being actively recruited. If they are invited for an unofficial visit or Junior Day event, this also aligns with active recruitment. The yellow color means caution. Just because your student-athlete is actively communicating with college coaches does not automatically mean they will receive a written offer from them. College coaches are also pursuing other players, not just your son or daughter.

Once in the green area, student-athletes (if they have not already) may begin receiving verbal offers.  Those may lead to further official visits, which may produce written offers and ultimately a signed National Letter of intent. The green color means go and your student-athlete is receiving offers and probably achieving their college recruiting goals.

Where is your son or daughter on the college recruiting mountain? Do they need assistance in building personal relationships with college coaches or deciphering their communication?

Contact us today for a personal college recruiting evaluation. Our highly trained team of college recruiting advisors have either played or coached their sport at the college level. Our entire team of professionals dedicates their passion, time and attention to properly evaluating, educating and successfully guiding qualified student-athletes and their families through the college planning and recruiting process.

For a personal college recruiting evaluation and honest estimate of your potential to compete at the next level, contact us at:

Phone: 1.888.9787084

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Old Team Picture

In the 1990’s, the surge of competitive youth sports and club teams exploded in the United States. Since that time, joining a competitive club team and attending showcase tournaments or camps have become the dominant choice of more serious middle school and high school student-athletes. The driving motivation is typically to improve their skill sets, compete year round and ultimately enhance their college recruiting opportunities.

Due to NCAA recruiting restrictions and minimal recruiting budgets, college coaches have relied heavily on the ability to evaluate student-athletes at large tournaments, showcases, camps and combines. For the past 20 years, most families of high school student-athletes, have (knowingly or unknowingly) aligned their approach to college recruiting with the club team and tournament experience to look like the model listed below:

College Recruiting Outdated Approach

Freshman Year: The student-athlete has a high level of passion and desire to excel in their chosen sport. They commit to spending additional hours on personal training and skill work, or hire a sport specific specialist to help. At this point, they have most likely already joined a club or travel team to compete outside of the high school season and are often attending numerous tournaments, camps, combines or showcases annually. As the year progresses, the student-athlete goes on to play for their high school team. The hope is that their improved skills and abilities catch the eyes of college coaches in attendance at one of their competitive events.

Sophomore Year: Repeat the process/cycle

Junior Year: Repeat the process/cycle

Senior Year: Repeat the process/cycle

The tragedy taking place today, is that most student-athletes and families are still following this outdated 1990’s approach to college recruiting, or what we call the “hope” strategy.

Why can this recruiting approach be so limiting and usually ineffective for the more than 8 million high school student-athletes in the U.S.?

The importance of joining a competitive club team or playing in appropriate tournaments is not in question here. They can greatly help to advance your son or daughter’s skills in the off-season, or possibly assist in being evaluated by a college coach at a large showcase event. The club team coach may even know a few college coaches they can call on behalf of your son or daughter to provide additional feedback.

However, the approach families take to college recruiting is being challenged in three key areas.

1.) First, most club teams simply do not possess all of the necessary tools, time or resources needed to personally mentor and guide each of its players over a two, three or even four year period, let alone helping them to secure and manage multiple offers.

2.) Second, the majority of parents do not understand how to effectively promote their son or daughter to right-fit college coaches and programs.

3.) Last, families are spending thousands and thousands of dollars each year to attend multiple ID camps, tournaments, showcases, or combines in the hopes of generating interest or “looks” from college coaches for their son or daughter with too often, little or no results.

Unfortunately, most parents don’t fully understand how coaches evaluate and recruit at these events. There are normally several hundred, or maybe over a thousand players in attendance at a showcase tournament and college coaches do not have the ability to scout every player.

The Pyramid of College Recruiting Success

John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach and the creator of the Pyramid of Success is a huge inspiration to many coaches, players and parents across the world. Thinking about the college planning and recruiting process, it struck me to create a “Pyramid of College Recruiting Success” diagram. The purpose is to help make crystal clear what the different stages of the climb up the pyramid are, and the keys to its success.

This pyramid presents families and their student-athletes with the opportunity to begin taking more control over their college recruiting options and choices. The biggest difference between this approach and the one started in the 1990’s is the importance of creating a comprehensive college recruiting game plan. It should include specific goals and strategies that may ultimately help to generate multiple offers from best-fit schools. The initial target list schools should at least match your son or daughter’s athletic skills, academic abilities, potential playing time opportunities, academic goals/majors, school location/size, and financial budget (note: most scholarships are not full-rides).

The other major focus point is centered on the importance of the student-athlete taking the time to begin building and sustaining relationships with college coaches as early as possible. A student-athlete should be developing an ongoing and “personal” dialogue with 10-12 college coaches, or maybe more. As college coaches and student-athletes advance through the recruiting process together, it is only natural that some coaches will be more interested in certain players over others. The opposite also takes place as student-athletes begin to narrow their choices of schools/sports programs that best fits their needs. Too often, student-athletes make the fatal mistake of placing all of their recruiting focus and energy on one or two colleges, only to be left out entirely when offers are made because the coach recruited and offered a roster spot or scholarship to a different player.

One of the least efficient and most costly ways to being recruited is by attending all of the tournaments, camps and showcase events you hear about. That can be a very expensive and time consuming endeavor for your entire family. The goal, rather is to pinpoint those competitive events where your potential best-fit college coaches will be in attendance and to build a relationship with them prior to the event. Again it’s important to outline what a best-fit school and sports program looks like for your son or daughter. As previously mentioned above, these priorities should include things like: athletic and academic abilities, potential playing time, opportunity to turn professional in their sport (if desired or realistic), available majors, future career networking opportunities, location, size and potential financial obligations or savings.

It’s very important to ask yourself what your family’s college recruiting game plan is, and if it is clearly defined. Everything starts with an honest evaluation with where you and your child are in the process.

If done properly, this new approach could exponentially increase your son or daughter’s chances of being recruited and may ultimately help in securing multiple offers from their best-fit schools.

SportsForce is a College Recruiting Advisory Group based in San Diego, CA.  Our entire team of college recruiting advisors dedicate their passion, time and attention to evaluating, educating and guiding qualified student-athletes and families through the college planning and recruiting process.

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