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4 Common Mistakes Athletes Make in Recruting

  1. Believing they don’t have to work for it: Being a part of a recruiting process, could be compared to being in a job search process. The majority of people don’t get offered jobs without applying to openings, having interviews, and putting hours put into a search process. Recruiting is much the same. A very small amount of high school players will get recruited simply because someone saw them play, and they won’t have to do much work beyond responding. However, the majority of athletes need to develop a systematic plan to find a place to play college sports, just as you would finding your next job.

  2. Thinking recruiting is random: While connections in recruiting can happen that seem random, most student athletes with the right approach have an organized way to go about the process. They begin by taking into account the distance they want to be from home, size of school, if the university has their academic programs of interest, level of play, and the type of relationships that are formed with the team and coaches. Athletes who leave their recruiting up to chance, can end up disappointed or at colleges that don’t fit their needs for life after athletics. We encourage athletes to take responsibility for their part in finding a great fit for their next step.

  3. Not telling their story: Recruits need to inform the college program why they should want to recruit them for their team. Imagine a college is hiring an next athletic trainer. There are thousands of athletic trainers in the world, but that program will choose their next AT based on their personality, skills, and how they fit the needs of that particular athletic department. The same is true for athletes and college programs. Coaches have no issues these days finding players with skills. They need to know the intangibles an athlete possesses, how those fit with their current team, and how those traits might propel their team forward. For example, sharing about a summer job with long hours shows responsibility. Telling about a response to a difficult in season moment can show perseverance. Writing about interests outside the sport shows a healthy balance. Showing character qualities not only makes an athlete more recruitable, but it also creates connection points within the team that leads to finding a better fit than if this was not done.

  4. Getting too comfortable too early: This is a more practical piece of advice, but it’s a common mistake high school athletes make in communication, especially emails. To start emails use “Dear Coach,” and sign your emails “Sincerely” or “Respectfully.” This might seem archaic, but it really can set an athlete apart from other recruits. Using slang like “Hey Coach” or using all lowercase letters in text messages, won’t give a coach the same confidence in recruiting an athlete as keeping it more respectful and formal will. Once an athlete is on campus, and establishes a relationship with the coach the way they address them may change, but to begin keeping it professional will set a recruit above the rest.

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