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July 7, 2021

All Athletes | 12 Mistakes Commonly Made by Athletes Regarding the Recruiting Process

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Being recruited and looking for colleges’ is one of the highlights of being a high school athlete. This process is exciting but can also be very overwhelming, and because of that, athletes tend to make some mistakes. College searches and the recruiting process require preparation. Here’s a list of mistakes commonly made recruiting mistakes. 

Waiting Until Senior Year to be Recruited

If you wait until your senior year to be recruited for college athletics, you might not be on the radar of your desired schools. It’s best to start as early as possible getting your name out there, talking to coaches, researching and visiting schools should start as early as freshman year.

Colleges are looking for possible recruits earlier every year; it’s crucial to start looking at the appropriate time to land that scholarship.

“I started my college search during my freshman year. I had a lot more opportunities and options. Some of my friends missed out, they thought that ‘oh it’ll be fine, I have time,’ and before they knew it, other teammates and I were getting scholarship offers, and they weren’t.” – Chris London, LaTech

Comparing Yourself to Other Players

You should avoid talking to a coach about other players. You can build the other player up too much, and then the attention is moved away from you. You should never speak badly of the other player; your character will come into question. When it comes to this, it’s best to focus on yourself and showcase your abilities. The goal isn’t to help the coach examine the other players; the goal is to show them what you have to offer.

Bragging About Yourself

When coaches are recruiting athletes, they’re looking at them from many different angles. Not only do they want to see how you play, but they also want to see your work ethic and how you handle different situations. This information is important, but it’s even more important that it doesn’t come from you. It’s good to give the coaches facts and stats on yourself, but don’t overstate them or state the obvious. If you’re a dedicated team member, the coach will see that for themselves. Be humble and honest; let your work ethic and your character speak for themselves.

Poor Social Media Activities

Coaches aren’t expecting you to be social media experts, but they want responsible and trustworthy athletes. Be smart about what you post, don’t be fooled; they will check your social media. Use your social media to market yourself, don’t post things you wouldn’t want your coach to see. If you need advice on setting up your profiles to be viewed by recruiters, ask your high school coaches or a trustworthy administration personal. 

“I had a friend, we were going to be recruited by the same school, but she had some very inappropriate things on her Twitter, and she wasn’t given an offer. Not sure if Twitter was the entire reason, but it sure didn’t help.” – L’Muriell Thrower, Grambling

Giving Up

Every school you apply to will not accept you, and that’s ok; it doesn’t mean you should give up. The more coaches and schools you connect with, the higher your chances are the be recruited. Time and effort has to be put in; it isn’t an overnight success process. It doesn’t stop at you emailing/ calling the coach. (1) the coach has to open your email or letter, (2) he or she has to actually read it, (3) there has to be a need at your position, (4) there has to be a way to verify your abilities, and (5) you have to come to an agreement. (Coach Up) Searching for schools can be tiring; there are many options out there, but keep working. Keep your search broad and then narrow them down as you go, rejection is a part of life, and it’s not personal.

Thinking Parents/Coaches are Going to Take Care of Your Recruiting

The recruiting process is your responsibility; you shouldn’t rely on your coaches or parents to handle it for you. College coaches prefer to hear from their athletes directly. 

“Athletes also get caught up in what I call the “Uncle Ed Syndrome.” It’s wonderful if your Uncle Ed’s best friend knows someone who plays golf with a college coach once a week, but that’s not going to affect a coach’s recruiting plans. Occasionally a direct connection to a college coach might get your information looked at; you still need to be an asset to the program to get more than just a look. Don’t count on Uncle Ed to land your scholarship.” (USA Today)

Targeting the Wrong Schools

When you begin your college search, it is important to be realistic. It would help if you looked for colleges that match with you not only athletically but also academically. Picking a school because your friends are going there or because you’ve wanted to since you were a kid is not a good decision unless you actually meet their requirements. Not being realistic during your college search can cause unneeded confusion and disappointment. Don’t try and reach out to a certain coach with high hopes when you could be honest from the start and shoot for what you know can be successful. Just because your dream school has rejuected you does not mean you don’t have talent; your talent is more useful elsewhere. Stay logical and honest during this step, and you’ve got it in the bag!

Don’t Send Impersonal Emails

When emailing a coach, the goal is to make them interested in you. A short, basic email will easily be looked over and deleted. The key to a successful email is to make it as personal as possible. Introduce yourself properly and show them they should be interested in you, but also that you’re interested in them. In the email, also leave information about yourself at the bottom (grade level, GPA, etc.) Also, you might have to send more than one email to get the coaches’ attention. An introductory email is necessary, and after that comes the follow-up emails. Please do some research on the coach/ school or the program you’re looking at before contacting them to show them your interest. 

Overestimating Grades/Statistics

When you’re communicating with college coaches, one of the worst things you could do is stretch the truth. If they check the info you give them, and they will if what you told them doesn’t match what they find, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble. If you are worried that you aren’t in the right place to be recruited, don’t; coaches know that all athletes develop differently. When it comes to grades, they are one of the most important aspects of recruiting; you shouldn’t lie about these for any reason. Lying can reflect poorly on your character; if you lack in your grades, explain how you are trying to bring them up; if you lack on the field, explain what workouts you’re doing to get better, don’t lie.

Having a False Sense of Security

Most athletes contact schools, and once they get some form of a response, they automatically assume they’re being recruited. This is not the case. Here are a few factors to help you identify when/ if you are or aren’t actually being recruited. You’re not being recruited when

you receive information from a college admissions office,

you get invited to a camp, or a college coach “views” your profile on a recruiting site.

You aren’t being recruited until 

(1) A coach calls you on the phone 

(2) A coach comes to one of your games to specifically watch you play, or (3) you get invited to go on an official visit (USA Today High School Sports).

Preparing for Official Visits

Going on an official visit is your chance to view the school and see if it’s the place for you, so be prepared. Have questions for the coaches and other athletes. Show them you’re interested. This is the best time to get to know the coaches and let the coaches get to know you. First impressions are important, so make a good one; this is the time to make those personal face-to-face connections you can get anywhere else. 

A few ways to make a good impression are to 

(1) Dress nice and appropriately 

(2) Show your fun side, let them see that you have many different aspects to who you are, and 

(3) Continue to show them that you’re interested in the program, like asking thorough questions. Many athletes mess up when it comes to official visits because they get too relaxed and think that their work is done since they were invited, but everything has just begun.


Parents can be overwhelming during this process because this is a stressful time for them too. It’s important to stay true to yourself and focus on your own goals. Going somewhere because your parents want you to is not ok. Be honest with them. The worst thing you could do is go to a school where you have no desire to be. 

To help you and your parent(s), give them a few pointers on what and what not to do. 

(1) Don’t run everything. This is about you and your future 

(2) Don’t put your opinions out in the open; their opinions, negative or positive, can affect your recruiting process and 

(3) Don’t lose sight of the goal; the goal is to get you recruited to a college you’re interested in, not one they want. Be honest with yourself and your parents, remind them of these few steps, and it will be one less thing to worry about.

I have given you twelve mistakes commonly made by athletes regarding the recruiting process and college searches, and I hope you use them wisely. Following these steps could add some much-needed ease and remove stress from the process entirely. Being recruited is an exciting time, and you should enjoy every minute of it, make the best of it. Of course, more mistakes can be made; just because they’re not on the list doesn’t mean they don’t exist. These are just more common. Stay focused and prepared for anything. You’ve got this!!