How to Get Recruited
How to Get Recruited
Are You Good Enough to Play College Sports?

Are You Good Enough to Play College Sports?

Learn how to determine which programs are the best athletic fit for you. Discover the key questions you should be asking your athletic advocates.

Many high school student-athletes dream of playing at the collegiate level and spend years honing their athletic skills with the goal of being recruited. And yet, many still worry about their abilities and whether they are good enough to secure a place on a college team, regardless of whether they aspire to play at the NCAA Division I, Division III, NAIA, or NJCAA level.

How Can You Gauge Your Athletic Level?

It is important to share your list of target schools with athletic advocates when you begin your college recruiting process. An athletic advocate knows your athletic level and has observed your physical activity, endurance, and strength. They can help you determine which level you can play at and whether you can get playing time at that level.

Athletic advocates can also assist you in your recruiting process by communicating with college programs you are interested in. They can explain to coaches what kind of student-athlete you are and highlight your strengths.

To establish which schools you should target, use your high school and club coaches, trainers, etc., to get a fair evaluation of your athletic abilities. You want to use your advocates to build a solid foundation for your recruiting process. Without a strong foundation, the recruiting process can quickly become chaotic.

Who are my athletic advocates?

Club Director

At smaller clubs, club directors may be in charge of guiding athletes through the recruiting process. They will likely have the most connections to college coaches. Club directors can be good people to turn to for letters of recommendation. 

Club Coach

If you are a member of a larger club, you may be removed from the club director. Many clubs rely on coaches to provide recruiting assistance to their teams. Your club coach is a great person to give you a fair and accurate athletic assessment. They have seen you play enough to provide insight into which level of competitiveness is best for you.

Recruiting Coordinator

This person’s role at the club is to help you in the recruiting process. They can help you draft messages to college coaches, set up unofficial visits, and facilitate discussions with college coaches. Unlike your club director or coach, your recruiting coordinator is focused only on recruiting, so they have more time to dedicate to recruiting discussions.

High School Coach

Your high school coach may have a significant influence on your recruiting process or no influence at all. How much importance you place on your high school season will primarily affect this. If you use the high school season as a warm-up for your club, you will probably not lean on your high school coach for recruiting. If you play for a strong high school program and your coach is well-known amongst the college community in the sport, they can be a significant factor in the process. 

Questions to ask your advocates:

  • Can you compare me to 3 players that have gone through the program before me?
  • What division or conference do you think may be a good fit for me?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses athletically?
  • What can I do in the off-season to improve?

Consider combining an evaluation from each coach to arrive at a fair assessment of your athletic abilities. Seek as many opinions as you can. Ask them to be as honest as possible.

What are College Coaches Looking for in Recruits? 

College coaches understand that the recruiting process can overwhelm high school students. It takes a lot of work to navigate the recruiting process while continuing to train and do well in school. 

College coaches are looking for student-athletes willing to work hard both on and off the field/court. They will also be evaluating who you are as a person. This means being respectful to your teammates, coaches, parents, opposition, and spectators. College coaches want recruits who can positively represent their team.

It will also be important to make sure you are putting in work in the classroom too. Your athletic skills can only take you so far. Ensure you are keeping a strong GPA throughout high school.

In summary, it's essential to realize that coaches are not just looking at your athletic skills but so much more. If you want to stand out as a recruit, remember these intangibles, as coaches are always watching.

What Do “Star Ratings” Mean in Recruiting?

When coaches evaluate student-athletes, they put them in different tiers. Keep in mind not all programs will use star ratings when recruit ranking, as this term is interchangeable with others depending on the sport.

  • 5-Star Recruits  - A 5-star recruit is someone extremely talented at their sport. They may appear on state or national-level rankings for recruitable athletes. Most of the time, 5-star recruits will be exploring top NCAA Division I programs or other NCAA high-level programs and will be starting their Freshman year. 
  • 4-Star Recruits - A 4-star recruit is also very talented and is usually one of the best players on their teams. These players are the ones who will have many options when they are exploring colleges and universities. 
  • 3-Star Recruits - A 3-star recruit is a student-athlete with much potential to play at the next level. While they may not be nationally ranked or the best player on their teams, they can be significant contributors off the field. They will likely see playing time only after their Freshman or Sophomore year.
  • 2-Star Recruits - A 2-star recruit is someone who will still need to continue to develop their skills before they will be able to play at the next level. They will need to make sure they continue to work to grow their athletic skills and address gaps highlighted by their athletic advocates. 
  • 1-Star Recruits - A 1-star recruit is similar to a 2-star recruit as they will need to put in hard work to be able to play at the next level. Being a 1-start recruit does not mean there is not a chance to play at a college or university level. However, you may find that the club level would be the best fit for you athletically. 

Remember that no matter what recruit you are, you will still need to be proactive in your recruiting process. Even if you are a 5-star recruit, you should still contact college coaches, letting them know who you are and why you are interested in their program. You should continue to be proactive, sharing videos, attending events, and communicating with coaches throughout your process. 

How Do I Determine Which Star Recruit I Am?

How to Find Your Athletic Fit With Advocates

The best way to determine your recruit level is to lean into your athletic advocates. We recommend sitting down with your advocates and letting them know you want to play at the collegiate level. You can also discuss your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete.  They can tell you the areas to improve and recommend specific drills to help you. 

In addition to learning where your game could improve, set aside the time for drills to help turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you have mechanical flaws, fix them immediately to avoid making them a permanent part of your technique. Taping yourself in a practice setting is an excellent way to recognize precisely what you are doing wrong.

After discussing your athletic skills, you can now discuss your Target List of Schools. You and your coach can determine a fit, reach, or safety school for you athletically. 

After you have a good sense of your athletic ability and discuss your college list, it’s time to contact college coaches. Depending on your sport, NCAA rules regulate when college coaches can contact you personally (except for sending recruiting questionnaires and invitations to prospect days). This is another place where your club or high school coach can be beneficial. Your coaches can communicate with college coaches anytime about players, so your coaches need to be involved in your recruiting journey. 

Watch Videos Published by Committed Athletes

On SportsRecruits, you can watch highlight reels and skills videos of committed athletes of a specific program. Each school’s landing page has a section titled “Commits.” Here, you can watch the skills of athletes who have committed to that particular program.

This is an excellent resource for you to compare yourself to student-athletes who are a part of their team. This will give you a realistic expectation of the type of athlete that the program is looking to recruit. If you are a good fit for this program, take the time to message the school, introducing yourself and letting them know you are interested!

High School Athletics vs. College Athletics

Transitioning from a high school student-athlete to a college student-athlete can be overwhelming. You have many more responsibilities and must dedicate much more time to your training and team. Below, we will discuss what to expect as you enter Freshman year. 

  1. Level of Commitment: As a collegiate student-athlete, you will be training during your season and off-season. There is a higher level of commitment when you are a student-athlete. You will have longer practices and even multiple practices a day. Be prepared to spend most of your days dedicated to training, traveling to games, and spending time with your team. 
  2. Time Management: As a student-athlete, it will be essential that you manage your time wisely. You must schedule your weeks to ensure you are making time to finish your studies while continuing your training. We recommend having a weekly calendar and planning your days to ensure you stay on top of your responsibilities. 
  3. Training Intensity: Many high school student-athletes only practice once daily for their sport. Once you become a college athlete, you could have a variety of different practices a day. This could include specific workouts for lifting and cardio in addition to your typical practice. Be prepared to be working out at a more intense level when you are a collegiate athlete. 
  4. Importance of Team Culture: You will be spending a lot of your time with your teammates and coaches, not only during the season but also during the offseason. Team culture will be significant as your team will feel like your second family. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with your team!
  5. Academic Responsibility: Being a college student-athlete, you must have a certain GPA to be eligible to play. It will be important to keep your grades up, to ensure you can compete. 

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