Athletic Recruitment: Tips From a Coach
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Kevin Dupont in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
The college recruitment process waits for no one, so student-athletes should start early. They should begin gathering information and venturing on their recruitment journey in the spring of their sophomore year. Recruiting is at its height in the middle of junior year, with decisions being made in the summer between junior and senior year.
This process kicks off and concludes earlier than the traditional college application journey, and there are hundreds of candidates for very few spots, so beginning early will only help students’ chances of being recruited.
During such a stressful time, it’s important to not take things personally. This can be challenging because student-athletes have big dreams and want to play the sport that they love competitively, but it doesn’t happen for everybody. A student may be a big fish in a small pond in high school, and when they get to college, they’re in a whole new talent pool. This can be a humbling and even painful experience for some student-athletes, so be aware of the chances.
Students should also be mindful of coaches and all that they do when working with student-athletes. They should be acknowledged and thanked throughout the recruitment process.
Finally, student-athletes need to be mindful of the eligibility requirements for the NCAA. More information can be found on its website.
Cast a Wide Net
There is rarely a balance between student-athletes’ expectations and the reality of the recruitment process, so be sure to cast a wide net. Coaches know that student-athletes are shopping around and considering different schools because they are doing the same with athletes.
The athletic side of admissions can be much more rigorous and challenging than the academic side because the process is less transparent. Student-athletes should cast a wider net than they may feel is necessary and pursue many different schools to increase their chances of being recruited.
Finally, the most important piece of advice for student-athletes is to stay calm throughout the recruitment process. Don’t force things. Don’t rush. Don’t come off as anxious to coaches, even if access to them is more limited than expected. The right match between student and program will come.
Patience is especially important because coaches experience dead periods when they can’t recruit or when their contact and visits with student-athletes are limited. The traditional recruitment process looks different now in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual tours and information sessions are more common as are FaceTime meetings with coaches.
This doesn’t mean student-athletes shouldn’t engage and get involved as much as they can. They should attend events if it’s possible to do so safely, and if not, they should take advantage of virtual opportunities to show interest in their schools of choice.