The college recruiting experience can be very daunting. Choosing a college is a big decision for any 18-year-old, and adding athletics into the mix can make it intimidating. However, it is a rewarding experience if you have the right mindset. Whether a recruiting trip is spot-on or produces a potential recruiting horror story, there is always the opportunity to learn something from the experience.
As a high school senior, nothing is more exciting than the thought of playing the sport you love at the collegiate level. It was the fall of my junior year of high school when I decided that I wanted to play water polo in college. I contacted as many coaches as I could. I worked with my high school coaches to create a recruiting tape that would best showcase my skills and stats. I ended up scheduling four official visits and several unofficial visits. One trip that went bad fell on the weekend of my 18th birthday. I was so excited in the moments leading up to this trip because all the interactions I had with the coach were positive, and he kept reiterating that I would be a key playmaker starting right from the start of my freshman season. It seemed to be everything I was looking for; a DI program, excellent business school, and a great athletic department. Little did I know all my assumptions were completely wrong.
The day I arrived on campus, my dad and I went straight to meet with the head coach. My first impression was not great. He was late and very distracted. He would talk to my dad, never looking up from his computer. I didn’t get the idea that he cared about our time or me as an athlete. After my dad had left, I went to meet my host and the other recruits. We all went back to the dorms to drop off our bags, and then our hosts dropped us all off to tour the facilities, and then she disappeared! We were completely alone to tour the campus, and to make matters worse, it was aggressively snowing. They left us for around three hours, and by the time they came back, we were all exhausted.
When the first day was over, I was exhausted, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. My host showed me where I could shower as she set up my air mattress. After I got back from showering, (only in my towel), there were TONS of people all over the room. I already wasn’t having a good time, and now there were strangers everywhere…oh, and I was naked. I got my clothes as fast as I could and sprinted to go change in the bathroom. Finally, when everyone left, I was able to go to sleep, but not for long. I was woken up at 5 am to girls from the team taking shots. They were “pregaming” for the big basketball game that we were going to later on. I knew that drinking would jeopardize my chance to get a scholarship (it was said about 100 times in my meeting with the coach) and to play on the team and I was not going to let that happen, so I pretended to be still asleep and waited for things to settle down. This was the moment I knew that this was not the school or the team that I wanted to be a part of. When we were on the way to the basketball game, I texted my dad to tell him I wanted to leave before the trip was over, and he came and got me shortly after the game.
Even though this trip was not what I expected, it taught me about what was important. I knew that I did not want to be on a team where the coach didn’t appreciate me, nonetheless look up from his computer to have a conversation. I did not want to be on a team where my teammates drank during their competition season, and I did not want to be at a place that made me feel so uncomfortable with making decisions against the norm. This trip may have been my worst visit, but it helped me to realize what I value in a team and a coach.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.