I receive a lot of questions from student-athletes and parents when it comes to recruiting and scholarships. I remember when I was going through the process with my twin sons, and I had a lot of questions, too. Here are a couple I’ve received that have risen to the top. I thought it would be helpful to post them and respond to them, because you may be asking similar questions.
Q: I play varsity doubles and have received all-state for 2 years, but it seems very hard to get noticed at the regional/national level in doubles. Any suggestions?
A: Your struggle is not an uncommon problem for most high school athletes. Even talented ones like yourself get overlooked. Most colleges’ recruiting budgets are limited, and the coaches cannot get out to see that many players. They rely on tournaments, showcases and camps to see large numbers of players at once. Only for exceptional prospects will a coach normally travel to see an individual game or match.
For these reasons, it is extremely important that you take the initiative to let college coaches know about you. Be aggressive in pursuing the schools where you have an interest. Once you make contact with the coaches, you open the door for continued contact. They will write back if they see that you have the tools to play on their team. Your letter, player profile, completed questionnaire, video (if they ask for one), and regular updates are those tools.
If you sit back and wait for coaches to find you, it is likely not going to happen. That’s the mistake most parents and athletes make. You’ll miss the boat, because other athletes with your abilities (and less ability) are getting in line ahead of you by contacting the schools.
Q: My son is a basketball lover who plays the game excellently. He is a freshman now. We are doing all that we can to prepare him for the next level of basketball through various camps, etc. What help and guidance can you give?
A: First of all, let me say that I’m happy that you are starting early in his high school career to prepare him for the recruiting process. Many parents and athletes wait until it is too late. I recommend starting no later than the junior year, but even earlier is better.
Without overloading you with details, here are a few things I would recommend to your son:
1. Keep your grades up. If you don’t have the grades, you will eliminate yourself from many colleges. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps student-athletes from getting being recruited. If you don’t meet the school’s academic standards, the coach can’t touch you.
2. Choose your camps carefully. As you know, camps are expensive. Choose the ones that have good reputations and will have a lot of quality colleges represented. Once you narrow down your college choices, probably after your sophomore or junior year, consider attending a camp at one of your top choices.
3. Contact schools of interest now. Write your initial letter, just so the coaches can see your interest. Since you’re a freshman, they are only allowed to send you limited information, so don’t expect a call or recruiting email. They may send you camp information. But they are likely to start a file on you. Continue to send them updates after each season.
I hope that helps in these early stages.
(If you have recruiting or scholarship questions, post them here and I will respond).