We don’t care how much talent or skill you have; you’re no good to a college coach if you can’t stay eligible academically. Why should they waste a scholarship or a spot on their team with a recruit that will never smell playing time because of academic ineligibility? It’s in your best interest to prove, during high school, that you can take care of academics as well as athletics. Taking care of business in the classroom helps open up more opportunities during the recruiting process. All else being equal, having better academics than another recruit just may be the factor that sets you apart from other student-athletes. Grades are the most important. Don’t slack in the classroom.
If you think attitude goes unnoticed by college coaches during the recruiting process, think again. Just one player with a bad attitude can infect the entire team. Most coaches would rather have a team full of decent players who work hard, who play together as a team, and know how to pull together when it counts than a team full of all-stars incapable of playing together. You need to demonstrate your ability to work hard, support your teammates, be a leader, and most of all be coachable!
If you plan on going to a school that has SAT/ACT requirements, try to take these tests during your Junior Year in high school (if not earlier). The colleges will take your best scores from each section of each test. Most students see a 5% or more increase in their score when taking the test again. Often times College Coaches will offer scholarships in the fall of a recruit’s Senior Year in high school, sometimes even sooner. If you’ve already gotten your tests taken care of and they know you’ll be able to get into their school, it’s that much easier for them to decide that you’re a recruit they want.
Too many student-athletes mistakenly think “If I’m good, someone will find me”. Don’t make this mistake! Guess What? College coaches can’t recruit you if they don’t know you exist. Put together a video, if possible, and send it to programs of your choice along with an athletic “resume” highlighting your achievements. Include stats, awards, high school transcripts, information on SAT/ACT scores, and letters of recommendation from coaches and teachers. Don’t forget your contact information.
A college coach can only call or visit you after July of your junior year in high school. There are other contact periods that happen a few months earlier than this in football and basketball, but the “July rule” is pretty good in terms of a bench-mark. That means a coach cannot place an outbound call to you, nor can he initiate a visit to your home or school specifically to talk to you about playing a sport at his or her college, until the summer before your senior year. Remember, this deals only with outbound communication from a coach.
You can call or meet with a coach at any point in your high school career. That’s right; you can call a coach whenever you want. The key here is that you are the one initiating contact with the coach and not the other way around. If you want to call a coach or visit a campus and set up a meeting with the coach, you may do so as often as you wish.
If you’re a junior or a senior who has not yet heard from enough college coaches, it is imperative that you begin taking positive steps towards getting in contact with coaches as soon as possible. In other words, now!