Switching from playing high-level soccer to rowing my junior year created a world of opportunity regarding being recruited to top universities to row. I put a lot of time and energy into researching programs, talking to coaches, and creating my “rowing resume”. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was determined to go on as many official visits as possible. By early September, all of my five official visit spots were organized and booked.
In mid-October, a school that had not been on my radar contacted me. The opening line of their email read, “We had no idea that you were already a senior!” Great first impression, right? This displayed that their staff was not organized or gifted at researching their recruits. They then offered to arrange an official visit for me, but since it was close to where I lived, and I had already scheduled my five officials, I opted for an unofficial visit instead. This meant I was in charge of paying for my transportation. Before my unofficial visit, I liked the school. It boasted a beautiful traditional campus with gorgeous buildings, excellent academic programs, and a fantastic surrounding area. The rowing team wasn’t as accomplished or as strong as I would have liked, but I was willing to remain open to the idea of helping to build the program. I had family ties to the university, and academically, it would’ve been a great institution to attend.
After meeting with the coaches on a Friday afternoon and touring some of the facilities, they gave me the itinerary for the rest of my visit and turned me over to a few of the rowers. My schedule for the evening included attending a swim meet, going to the team’s Halloween bake-off at a rower’s apartment, and then spending the night in the dorms before practice early the next morning.
The swim meet I attended was fun and the rowers I went with were friendly. However, once we got to the team’s Halloween party around 8:30 pm, nobody would talk to or interact with me. It was as if I did not exist. I felt incredibly uncomfortable and wanted to go home. Once the party started winding down around 10:00 pm, my hosts found me, and we left. As we were walking out to the car, I realized I hadn’t eaten since lunch. There had been no mention of dinner the entire visit. I sheepishly mentioned this to my hosts and asked, “Would it be okay if we got dinner?”
“They didn’t feed you?!” one of my hosts asked, shocked.
We ended up stopping at a burger place and ate our food around 10:30 pm. With the team’s practice the next morning at 7 am, I felt a little bad for keeping them out late. After we left the restaurant and headed back to the dorms for the night, my primary host, Brooke passed me off to two other teammates and declared that she was going to see a movie with her boyfriend. Already slightly annoyed at the events from the evening, I couldn’t believe that she would just ditch me. Not to mention, the air mattress I slept on that night in their dorm room had a hole in it, so I woke up at 5:30 the next morning flat on the ground. Groggy, I got dressed and headed out the door with three of the other rowers (sans-Brooke and any mention of breakfast) to watch the team’s practice. As we walked out the residence hall’s main door and into the pitch-black October morning, Brooke came running up to us in the same party clothes from that night. She apparently had not come home after her movie. “I’m SOOO sorry guys, I’ll be right down, just give me a few!!!” It was at that point that I ultimately knew that this was not the place for me. If a team is not going to put their best foot forward or display professionalism when hosting a recruit, then I could only imagine what goes on behind the scenes. The team did not seem to take their sport as seriously as I do. Later, their coach offered me a decent scholarship, but when I declined it, he became very cold and bitter. This was unlike other coaches, who were all very understanding and wished me the best of luck when I declined their offers.
To make matters worse, a few months later in the spring, as my high school club team was out on the water for our afternoon practice, the head coach of the university raced his three collegiate varsity eight-man boats directly at our high school four-man boat, full-speed without the intention of stopping. The university’s team was not following the lake’s traffic pattern and was causing a hazardous situation for other crews. Fortunately, my boat and our coach were able to get out of the way just in time, but not far away enough to avoid hearing the horrible obscenities and words that the university’s coach screamed at my coach, essentially blaming her for getting in his team’s way.
“Thank goodness I didn’t end up going there,” I thought to myself as my team, stunned from the encounter, processed what had just happened.
Tip: A prospect may take a maximum of five expense-paid visits, with no more than one permitted to any single institution. A prospect may take an unlimited number of unofficial visits to an institution.
Posted on November 30, 2017 in Recruiting 101
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.