9 Tips to Own Your Recruiting Process

Key Takeaways

  1. Commit to it; it is your future. Make it important.

  2. Remember to remember that this is YOUR process. You get to decide the beginning and the end.

  3. Make a plan; what is your approach?

  4. Do your own homework. It’s up to you.

  5. Ask the right questions. Knowledge is your power.

  6. Keep your eye on the target.

  7. Be careful who you trust.

  8. Feel great about your choices.

  9. Have fun!

Young woman running up stairs between bleacher seats

Commit to It

This is the most important step. It’s like most other things. If you truly want something, you have to put your heart and soul into it. Making this important means you put time and energy into it.

This is a journey that is going to take a while to complete. You have to work on it in little bite-sized pieces from beginning to end. Many student athletes will sit back and wait for something to happen. That is one approach, but it usually ends with rushed deadlines and decisions or no contact from college coaches and, therefore, lost opportunities. You have to work to make this happen.

You may have to do things you have never done before, like calling college coaches and holding conversations with them. You may have to ask and answer questions you have never had to think about before. It’s all good though. If you want to play college sports, there is a place for you.

Remember That This Is Your Process

There are a lot of people who think they know you well. They may think they know what’s best for you, could make all of your decisions about happiness or even speak on your behalf and say exactly what you would say.

There will be people who tell you where you should go to college. This may even sound good to you to have someone do this. However, the college transfer rate is the highest it has ever been in the history of college sports.

Many times the athlete gives in to what other people think and, therefore, doesn’t form his or her own opinions or truly answer the questions that need to be answered. The point is, this is
your recruiting journey and your process.

Take pride in the fact that you get to decide when you are beginning and when it is over. It is all up to you and, if you remember this throughout the journey, you will keep your wants, desires, values, hopes and dreams in front of you at all times.

Girl's hands holding phone and To-Do list on desk

Make a Plan

There are several ways to approach your journey, but there is only one way to truly have the result be your best effort and YOUR decision. That is to have a plan.

Making a plan of action is your first step to doing a good job.

What is your approach? Who do you have on your team? Who do you trust? Where do you begin? How will you approach the beginning and how will you know when you reached a final destination? That is all up to you.

It helps to begin with trying to figure out what you want in a college situation. Pretend you are in college now. What does it look like? What works for you? Take a few minutes and put together the outline of your plan. It can always change, but it pays to begin with a direction in mind.

Do Your Own Homework

This sounds like a boring homework assignment, but it actually is a lot more fun. It’s all about you. The subject of the assignment is you. This homework assignment is about you finding your next stop, both academically and athletically. It’s about you finding your next collegiate family.

Who do you want to be with for the next four or five years? Putting in the time to research, studying what you find out, asking questions that are important to you and visiting your top college choices are very important to-do items for you to complete.

Putting your plan into action and seeing it through is all up to you. Others can share their opinions and help you with the research, but it has to be organized, filtered and narrowed down by you.

Question mark Post-its covering a wall

Ask the Right Questions

Lots of athletes have said they don’t know what to ask or how to communicate with college coaches. It is critical to learn how to communicate with college coaches and what questions to ask.

If something is important to you, then you should have as many questions as it takes to get the answers you deserve. Don’t be shy or afraid to ask. Coaches are people, too.

College coaches are looking for players to fill roles on their teams. You are looking for a program where your talents, skill level, wants, desires, and dreams can flourish and grow. It will take lots of questions to get to a final decision.

Basketball falling through net

Keep Your Eye on the Target

As you move through your journey, there are going to be days when you feel like you have it under control and others when you feel like you are spinning out of control. Just try to take it one day at a time, the good with the not so good.

Try not to settle because you get overwhelmed or fed up with trying to find the right fit.

If you need to take breaks, do so. Taking breaks throughout the process is actually good for you. The answers will come to you if you continue to stick with your plan and find the help you need. Just go back to your wants, needs, desires and dreams.

Keep your eye on the target, your desired goal. You will find the right path.

Be Careful Who You Trust

It is easy to listen to what others have to say and to believe it as the truth. But here are some things to keep in mind. College coaches are recruiters. They know how to sell you on what you want to hear. They know your pain points, and they know how to sell their college to your parents as well.

College coaches also know how to sell to your travel and high school coaches. They will do their homework on the people who work with you day-to-day.

At the same time, your parents may want what is best for you, but it may be hard for them to tell you they don’t want you to go far from home. Your high school and college coaches may have relationships with college coaches because they have had other athletes go through the process with these colleges.

Everyone will have an opinion. It is really important that you find people who will be in your corner throughout your recruiting journey, but who will also be honest with you. Get confirmation with the facts college coaches share with you.

Make sure you tell your parents to help you but not tell you where to go. Make sure you ask for help from your high school and travel coaches, but that you want honest feedback and truthful conversations about their communication with college coaches.

Find out as much as you can about everything that is important to you. It will make a difference.

Young woman smiling and stretching legs in the grass

Feel Great About Your Decisions

After you begin this journey, you will make hundreds of decisions. Every time you make a decision, feel good about it. If there are hesitancies or concerns about going in one direction or the other, maybe you should listen to what you are feeling.

At the end of the day, the final decision is a four or five-year commitment. Take your time with it. You may be asked to verbal before you have all the answers, or you may feel pressured to call someone or say yes or no to a college before you are ready. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it is not right for you.

You want to feel good about the decisions you are making and the direction you are heading. At the end of the process, you want to feel good about the college you choose. The only way to ensure this is a possibility is if you stay true to who you are. Go back to the first seven tips and keep taking bite-sized steps until you reach your final destination.

Two young female athletes sitting cross-legged and talking

Have Fun 

Have fun with the recruiting process. You are lucky enough to potentially have enough talent to play at the collegiate level. Keep working and have fun with it. Save time to enjoy your high school years and life outside of sports as well.

It takes some organization and some help from others, but it is well worth it in the end when you are competing collegiately at a college that is the right fit for you.

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