Here are some basic recruiting methods used by
just about every college coach in the country:
1) Coaches recruit from national-, regional- and
2) They recruit from summer camps.
3) Coaches recruit athletes who write and show an interest
in the school and sports program.
4) They recruit from videotapes.
5) Coaches receive recommendations from club and high school
coaches, alumni and other college coaches.
The most important step, and the step you have total
control over, is method No. 3. Your letter to a coach can
be the key to triggering the recruiting process. One of the
best ways to get noticed, and to find out what it takes to
be a part of a college program, is to write the coach. Yes,
take the initiative and write the coach! All it takes is a
basic letter in which you include your academic assessment
(GPA, test scores and class rank) and your athletic achievement
(the level at which you are you competing).
Most college coaches probably will respond with
one of three answers:
1) "We are very interested in you. …"
2) "This is what it takes to be a part of our program.
3) "Sorry, you are not at the level we're looking for
(either athletically or academically)." These responses
will tell you which doors are open to you, what level you
need to be playing at to compete for a program, and/or which
doors are closed. A personal letter can get the coaches' attention.
Get the coaches' attention, write those letters now!
You may already have experienced method No. 1. College
coaches swarm to the championship events to watch high school
athletes compete. Even a coach who isn't in attendance requests
the rosters from these competitions. They then send recruiting
letters to athletes who might be potential contributors to
their programs. Many athletes will receive a letter after
attending a national championship or regional competition.
You've just been mass mailed! It's OK -- the coach is interested
in you, it is just not personal, yet. This mass mailing most
likely will include a sport questionnaire. Note: Questionnaires
are key to the recruiting process. If you receive a questionnaire
from a college you may be interested in, RETURN IT! The returned
questionnaire tells the coach you want to be recruited. A
questionnaire left sitting on your desk may ding you from
a school's recruiting list. Regardless of what you already
have sent to the coach, fill in the questionnaire and send
it back. If you don't hear back from a school, call or send
another letter to the coach.
Many college coaches will want to see a video of
you in action. Coaches rarely recruit an athlete sight-unseen.
Especially with team sports, have a video of your championship
play available to send to coaches on request.
Coaches spend summers coaching at camps and interacting
with high school athletes for the purpose of recruiting. Many
future college players are discovered at summer camps. Most
coaches run camps on their campuses. If they're not running
one, they're working someone else's. It is highly recommended
that you attend camps where college coaches will get to see
you play. Not only will coaches get to meet you and watch
you play, but you get to meet the coach and experience that
coach's philosophy and techniques.
Coaches can not possibly see every athlete compete
and can't possibly know about every great athlete out there.
Some college coaches get recommendations from club and high
school coaches. Others receive tips from alumni who will let
coaches know of talented athletes in their hometown area.
Even college coaches share information with each other about
It is important for you to know NCAA Division I and
II schools can offer athletic scholarships, and these coaches
are likely to have recruiting budgets. Also, these coaches
are more likely to be active in pursuing athletes in the recruiting
process. Division III, NAIA and junior colleges do not have
athletic scholarships and, typically, do not have large recruiting
budgets. Thus, if you are interested in one of these programs,
it is even more important for you to take the initiative.
College coaches love to coach, they don't necessarily
like to recruit. They attend championship competitions looking
for talented players. They run camps in search of their next
star player. And, they check their mail for letters from interested
prospects. Let them know you're interested in their school.
Don't sit back and wait -- go for it!