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September 24, 2021

How to Get Noticed and Recruited by College Coaches

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There are almost a half million student-athletes in the NCAA, playing 24 sports all across the country. This may seem like a lot, but in reality getting recruited to be one of these athletes is extremely difficult. It takes years of training, studying, and performing under pressure to be considered for a position at the collegiate level. How can a student athlete get a coach’s attention? 

The best way to market anything is by studying the market itself and then planning around the market’s preferences and values. Coaches look for talent, but they also look for players that will fit in at their school and get along with the team. They are often also looking to fill a specific position. Student athletes will have more success gaining a coach’s attention when they research and find schools with graduating seniors who play their position. 

Related: School Ratings

Communicating with Coaches
In an interview, a Big Ten assistant coach talked about the best way for high school athletes to communicate with him: 

“Emails are always great. They have to have a highlight reel highlighting them at their position. They should send in transcripts and relevant academic information. Any well known references and a quick bio of where they have played. Also any future tournaments where they are going to be in. We look at every single email we get. We don’t miss a kid. We just respond to the ones we are really considering taking in.”

Related: Example Email to College Coaches

It is important to market yourself as a complete student and athlete. Including all of the attachments mentioned by this coach will allow you to do so. Painting a complete picture saves coaches’ time and will let them make their initial decision to begin recruiting. 

A recruiting coach almost always watches recruits play in a real competition. The best way to get a coach to take note during a game is to play as hard as possible, keep a level head, and to be a good teammate. However, during games and tournaments the coaches also look at what student athletes do when the clock is not running. An assistant coach in the Big Ten said regarding scouting players: “We look to see how they carry themselves on the field before and after games. How well they communicate with coaches.” 

It is just as important to a coach that an athlete can fit into their team and be coachable. Practicing sportsmanship and coachability will help you improve as an athlete, and show your value to college coaches. A lot of the time coaches will come to games and watch athletes without telling the athletes they are doing so. They want to see what the athlete does when they do not know they are being recruited. It is even more impressive to coaches when they see the same behaviors consistently. 

Related: Athlete interview: Vicky Flores on What Makes a Great College Tennis Player

Social Media
College coaches will also check recruits’ social media accounts. They want to know the character of the person that they are inviting to join the team and potentially offer a scholarship to. Who the player is off the field matters to coaches. The Big Ten coach said 

“We only know what we see on the field. We don’t know them personally. [So] We look for a clean social media. We analyze what they post and what they are doing to represent themselves on a personal level. How they interact on and off the field with their teammates, coaches, and opponents. During games and tournaments is the only time before recruitment that we get to see them on the field.” 

Related: Keeping Your Social Media Clean as a College Recruit

Student athletes are more than just numbers and statistics. Making sure that coaches see the full, honest person in a positive light makes the player even more attractive to the program. 

There are a lot of ways to market a student athlete to coaches, but there are also attributes that will make a coach remove an athlete from consideration or even rescind an offer. One thing coaches never appreciate is lying. Whether it be about grades, performance, or something personal, they expect the truth. They’re recruiting the whole person, not just the athlete. 

The coach has to trust that the student athlete will follow directions, be a good student, and represent the program well. The assistant coach from a Big Ten program said: “We want honesty. We value athletes who are forthcoming and honest in the recruiting process. Openness and transparency are highly valued here.” 

Athletes in high school need to play at a competitive level, show commitment to their sport, and market themselves to coaches if they want to get recruited. Coaches at many NCAA schools recruit players they have initially received emailed highlight clips from. The student-athlete needs to show the coach that they are a good teammate at games, that they are a good person on social media, and that they are honest in direct interactions. The student athlete who does those things will supplement their statistics and awards in the way that gets the coach’s positive attention.