Walking toward the “main” tent at a recruiting event, you are liable to see many things: Tired players seeking the location of their next game or a cold beverage; Tired parents seeking answers to a barrage of random questions; Tired event organizers seeking to fill the Radio Shack “You’ve got questions, We’ve got answers” role.
The tent will normally be replete with tons of signage, ranging from field diagrams to jumbo-sized schedules to advertisements for the next big thing. Amid all of this, though, is what some attendees see as Holy Grail of an event: The “Coaches in Attendance” list.
We now pause this post for a reality bomb: That list should be largely irrelevant for participants.
With regards to recruiting, there are a few incontrovertible facts that have manifested themselves over the last decade:
• The process has accelerated drastically.
• The high school game has grown exponentially.
• High school growth far outpaces growth at the college level, and this imbalance makes it difficult to earn a collegiate roster spot.
There are plenty of debatable aspects about the accelerated recruiting process. Plenty. But the simple fact is that it is not going anywhere, so to debate it is nothing more than a rocking-chair exercise: It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.
With the process beginning earlier and earlier, the importance of identifying a “target list” of schools and being proactive to put yourself on a school’s radar has never been greater.
Coaches are going to events to learn more about players they already know about but want to see in person.
Members on our platform see an increase in profile and video views with an increase in messages sent. It’s a must to contact schools and let them know of your interest.
Now, if you are an under-the-radar prospect (i.e., you have not put much effort into the recruiting process and assume you will be “discovered”), of course a coach will potentially see you playing at one of these events – even if you aren’t on their radars. But of course, you also may win the lottery.
Said another way: Going to an event and just “hoping” to be seen by a coach is not a smart thing to do.
The cliche “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” is a good way to think about the process. Going to an event without coaches scheduled to see you play (failing to prepare) may end with you not being seen by the coach of a school you are interested in (preparing to fail).
Essentially, it is a roll of the dice. Sure, a coach in attendance may see you. Or, they may be on a different field. Or grabbing a drink. Or leaving early. You get the idea.
This is why, by and large, the “Coaches Attendees List” should be irrelevant to you. By the time you are standing there looking at that list, you should know which coaches are there to see you, because you were already in contact with them. Just because “Dream School X” was there should not mean the event was “worth it” for you.
If you are proactive in the recruiting process, you will have ensured the coaches that you would like to see you play will do so. Therefore, being proactive, and ensuring a coach knows you are at an event, is the only way to ensure you are on their radar. Coaches on that list you have not been in contact with should be a potential added bonus, not something you should be relying on.
If you build a target list of schools and provide those schools with your highlight reels, academic information and logistics prior to events, the coaches that like you will find you – because they will be looking for you. Not the other way around.
The “Coaches in Attendance” list is a great source of information, and useful as a reference point for high school players when researching events to attend. But when seeking this information at an event’s “main” tent, make sure you are in a position of looking more out of curiosity than necessity.