Comparing Your Recruiting Process to Someone Else Can Have Negative Effects

You arrive to practice like every other day, but today you hear some commotion going on in the locker room. You swing over to the conversation and hear your teammates congratulating another teammate for the offer she just received from a college coach.

You want to feel good, and you do say “congrats,” but inside you are feeling miserable because your teammate is a sophomore and you are a junior. You do not have any offers yet and she already has two. What’s the deal?

Have you ever felt like your teammates were doing better than you with the recruiting process?

You are not alone.

But here is one huge tip about comparing your recruiting process to someone else’s:


Comparing yourself, or your recruiting journey, to someone else means you are willing to take on their process. Once that happens, you’ve lost your power to own your own process.

Ways to Compare

You may not even realize all the ways you might be comparing yourself to someone else’s process. 

Here is a Short List:

  • Who has the most college offers?
  • Who is getting the most calls from college coaches?
  • My level of play versus someone else’s
  • Who gets the first recruiting letter. . . and from whom?
  • Who are the coaches in the stands watching most?
  • Who will commit first or have the most offers to commit?
  • Who is invited to college camps?
  • Who is coach paying more attention to?
  • What coaches are calling my coaches – and who are they talking about?
  • What are the other parents saying?

Sad female athlete sitting on turf looking discouraged

How it Affects the Process

It’s okay to be aware of what is happening with teammates and friends, but it does you no good to compare what is happening with them to your own process. No two recruiting journeys look the same, and that’s actually a good thing.

You get to be you!  You get to do you!  You get to make your future your own! 

However, you’re human, and sometimes you can’t help but count, compare, and keep track of what is happening with someone else. Sometimes your parents do it, too.

However, if you are not careful, this time spent comparing can negatively affect your own process.

Here’s How:

  • You begin to feel less adequate because your recruiting process isn’t going as fast.
  • You start losing focus on what you really want out of college.
  • You begin to lose interest in your sport.
  • You begin to hate the recruiting process.
  • You begin to become bitter at your teammates, and it affects your relationship.
  • Your relationship with your parents becomes strained.
  • You begin to regret friends.
  • You begin to blame coaches for not helping you enough.
  • You waste time worrying about everyone else.
  • You lose yourself and give up ownership in your own process.

This list is not exhaustive, and all of them are probably not true for you, but it is very common to see athletes and families struggling with comparisons.

Happy teen smiling and carrying notebook and wearing backpack

How to Keep It Your Own

Here are some ways you can help yourself stay true to who you are and keep your recruiting process your very own:

Give Yourself a Break

First and foremost: give yourself a break. You are not a bad person if you find yourself comparing. It’s normal behavior, and, as long as you are aware that you are doing it, you can let it go and stay positively engaged with your own process.

Positive engagement in your own journey allows you to focus only on what matters most to you.

Be Happy for Others

When things are going well for a teammate, that means things can go well for you, too.  Be a good teammate by being happy and showing your support for them. This will also help you stay positive. There are enough college spots for all of those who want to play.

Your turn will come, too.

Be Happy for You

Roughly 7% of female high school athletes go on to play sports in college. Keep that in perspective. You could be one of only seven percent. That is a huge accomplishment. And you are going for it!

Roughly 4.3 million female high school student-athletes play sports. That means about 300,000 will play college sports. That number drops to about two percent for athletes playing Division I sports, which brings the number to about 86,000.

Keeping these numbers in perspective and understanding that college is meant to prepare you for your future career demonstrates the importance of choosing correctly.

It’s an honor to play the sport you love in college, and it is even better to play at a college that fits what you are truly looking for and will help you build the tools you need for a successful career after college.

Female athlete laser-focused and ready to workout with ropes

Know What YOU Want

Commit to finding out who you are and what you want. Start early in high school trying to learn more about yourself, both as an athlete and away from sports.

Your whole life will not be about you, the athlete. There are other parts of you that are very important and that make up who you are and what you want. Learn those, too.

Be careful not to take on the wants and needs of someone else.

Your process could very easily become someone else’s if you allow others to tell you what you want and don’t want. This only happens when you fail to understand yourself.

If someone else takes over your process and it is no longer yours, you will be making choices for them instead of for you, therefore, it must be you doing this work.

Be Open-Minded

Keeping an open mind is one of the most difficult things to do during the recruiting process. You work hard and you dream big. You have a picture in mind, but then things happen that seem to change that picture.

Don’t be discouraged when this happens. Many athletes were destined for a certain college level or program but decided to take a different path. After being shunned or told they had made a mistake, they became major success stories. They found their fit.

Look Behind Every Door

Along with keeping an open mind, keep your eyes open for opportunities. Don’t allow any door to close without looking into the details. You never know what lies ahead. Many opportunities lead to something else, and just one of those could be something wonderful.

Keep your goals in front of you, look everywhere, and don’t be in a hurry to look beyond something that initially doesn’t interest you. You may find exactly what you were looking for in a place you hadn’t thought of before.

Girl overwhelmed with too many questions zoned out with hands on side of head

Quiet the Nay-Sayers

Sometimes everyone has an opinion about what you should do next in the process, where you should go to college, and when you should commit.  When this happens, just go back to what is most important to you. Find some quiet time and just breathe.

If you are making choices that align with your goals, and you have done the work and the research to back up your choices, then the decisions you make will feel good. Some of them will still be difficult, maybe even a little stressful, but they’ll be yours.

Make It Fun

Have you ever worked hard at something, invested everything you had in it, committed to its success, and still had fun? I’m pretty sure that, if you play sports, you have.

The same holds true with your recruiting journey.

It’s yours and only yours. It’s meant to be fun and exciting, but you have to do your part to make it what you want it to be.

Your attitude and your work ethic make a difference in your outcome. Dive into your process and don’t worry about what others are doing with theirs.

Make it a priority to find the right place for you.

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