Category: Recruiting Column

Recruiting Tip: The top 5 items for a recruit’s Christmas wish list

The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com

Tomorrow is Christmas.  In spite of the road rage, the over-crowded malls and the stress of trying to find the right gift for everyone, the Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love the music, the decorations and the reason we celebrate this holiday. I also enjoy submitting my Christmas wish list…
Whether you want a new coat or floor mats for your car, filling out a Christmas wish list is very important if you hope to get what you really want.  The same holds true for the college recruiting process.  If you hope to get a college scholarship, there are a few things that need to be on your recruiting wish list.  For that reason, here are my top 5 items every recruit should include on his or her wish list along with a little information on why these items might help land a scholarship. Hopefully this will give you a little perspective on how college recruiting really works.
#1: Parents who are supportive, but not overbearing
In one of our interviews a few years ago, legendary Penn State volleyball Coach Russ Rose told us: “Support your kids, give them honest feedback and help them to develop educated opinions. A supportive parent means so much in the positive development of a student-athlete.”
In a perfect world, your parents will take a supportive role in your recruiting journey and act as your administrative assistant. Hopefully they don’t believe that your success in athletics is a reflection on their parenting skills and they won’t try to manage your recruiting process. Their role in your recruiting should be as a supporting player, not as your manager or agent.
#2: A coach who is willing to help
A coach in your corner can be a difference maker in your search for a college scholarship. Your current coach is the most credible source to vouch for your athletic abilities. When we asked Coach Mack Brown whose opinion, he considered important when recruiting an athlete, he replied, “We didn’t trust anyone other than our coaching staff and the player’s high school coach.” Most college coaches feel the same way. For that reason, a coach who is willing to take the time to tout your abilities and character will pay big dividends.
#3: Good grades and/or test scores
If being an athlete was more important than being a student, then you would be called an Athlete-Student, not a Student-Athlete. Many student-athletes and their parents underestimate the importance of academics in the recruiting process. College coaches want good students, students who work hard. They don’t want to worry about academic eligibility, and good students are generally highly motivated, hard-working individuals they won’t have to babysit.
#4: A short memory
When college coaches are in the stands, don’t worry about making a mistake. Coaches actually want to see how you react to making a mistake. Your reaction when you give up a goal, miss a layup or strikeout tells so much more about you as a player than the mistake itself. Do you throw fit, or forget about the last play and focus on the next one? Make the next play and the one after that. Great athletes play with confidence and have a short memory.
#5: A solid game plan
A good recruiting game plan is really not that hard. It is a simple three step process:
First, identify as many colleges as you can that will have as much interest in you as you have in them. That means you have to be realistic about your abilities. You have a limited time to find the right fit; don’t waste it on schools that are out of reach.
Second, contact the coaches at the colleges you have identified, express interest in their program and explain how you will be an asset to their team. If coaches haven’t reached out to you yet, then you have to reach out to them.
Finally, pick a trusted coach to use as an advocate and supporter. Ask them to reach out to a few colleges on your behalf.
College recruiting is not rocket science. If you follow this game plan and are persistent, good things will happen.
Here’s the deal
If you receive all or even some of the above items on your wish list, you won’t have to ask Santa Claus for a scholarship. A college coach should be delivering one soon!

Recruiting Tip: Great recruiting advice from 3 different college coaches

The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Over the last several years we’ve had the incredible opportunity to interview college coaches from all over the country, at every level and in almost every sport.  Every interview is different and I believe our readers have learned a lot about the recruiting process from every answer.  I firmly believe that when you want the answer to a specific question or you need advice, you should ask the experts, so that’s what we’ve been doing!  For this week’s recruiting tip, here’s some great recruiting advice on three different topics, from three different college coaches.

RelatedRecruiting Tip: Here’s a three-minute guide to a successful recruiting journeyRecruiting Tip: 3 social media rules to live byRecruiting Tip: College coaches want to talk with you and your current coach
Louisville Cardinals head coach Dan McDonnell heads to the dugout after meeting the umpires prior to the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, in 2017. (Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)
Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell
Question: Does the scholarship amount you offer a young man predict his playing time?
Answer: Not at all. This is not a situation where mom or dad is running the booster club, therefore their son has to play type thing! This is the best players are going to be on the field type thing. Scholarship or no scholarship, playing time will never be determined by anything other than who the best nine players are, on any given day. As a staff, we are extremely transparent with our guys during the recruiting process. We don’t make promises and we make sure we’re very clear that if you get on the field at Louisville, it’s because you’ve earned it.
For us to recruit you and make you an offer simply means we like you and we feel you have a great opportunity here. But, understand that you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to produce between the lines. We want to win championships and get you ready for pro ball. If we played you based on your scholarship amount, we’d be doing you a tremendous disservice. That’s just not how baseball works at the college level and beyond.
FSU softball coach Lonnie Alameda at the Unconquered Campaign announcement. (Photo: Wayne McGahee III, Tallahassee Democrat
Florida State Softball Coach Lonni Alameda
Question: What separates the best players from everyone else?
Answer: A commitment to growth is what separates the most successful athletes from the rest, regardless of the sport they play. But, that’s life, too. Successful people are constantly growing. They’re constantly learning. You always hear about the blue-chip athletes and how impactful they’re going to be at the next level. Yes, the physical component is big, and you would rather have it, than not. But any good coach will tell you that it’s not just about getting those kids into their program.
A team full of blue-chippers that are content with where they’re at isn’t going to win you a lot of games. It’s about getting the kids that are always striving to get better. They want more for themselves and more for their teammates. It’s hard to define success with one word or one idea. But I am certain that as long as you see consistent growth, success won’t be too far behind.
Mississippi Rebels infielder Errol Robinson (6) hugs head coach Mike Bianco after the loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in game twelve of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Virginia defeated Mississippi 4-1. (Photo: Steven Branscombe, USA TODAY Sports)
Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco
Question: Tell me something you would want every high school athlete to know about the college recruiting process.
Answer: Quite honestly, we pay attention to how you fail. If we’re recruiting you, it’s a given that you have some physical talent. So, we pay attention to the moments you wouldn’t want us to see, or the moments you don’t think we’re watching you. How do you handle a strikeout? Do you run out fly balls? Do you have that competitive spirit during the pregame in and out? Most guys we recruit haven’t experienced a lot of failure, prior to getting to Ole Miss. And, I would say that’s typical for most college programs, too. If you want to play college baseball, especially for a school in one of the power five conferences, you’ve got to be mentally tough. You have to be able to handle tremendous adversity and there has to be a fire inside you that is undeniable to anyone who watches you play.

Recruiting Column: 98 percent of high school athletes are under-recruited

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting and is the affordable solution to high-priced recruiting companies. Their technology-based recruiting software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisers provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
Playced
Would you answer “Yes” to the following questions?

Are you a high school athlete looking for a college scholarship?
Are your coaches, parents, friends and teammates all telling you that you’re good enough to play at the next level?
Are you a good teammate and a good student?
In spite of answering “yes” to the first three questions, are you still feeling under-recruited?

Well, if you feel under-recruited, you probably are!  The good news is, you can do something about it.  Every year thousands of high school athletes who are good enough to play in college never realize their dream.  Why? They weren’t “discovered” by the right college coach and they didn’t do anything about it.

RelatedRecruiting Tip: Here’s a three-minute guide to a successful recruiting journeyRecruiting Column: Recruiting red flags we hear from college coaches, Volume IIRecruiting Tip: 3 social media rules to live by
Roughly two percent of high school athletes are highly recruited.  Let me say that again . . .  two percent are highly recruited.  The other 98 percent are on their own (and probably under-recruited).  Let’s put these numbers into perspective . . . If you play basketball, that means to be a highly recruited athlete you probably need to be the best player in your district.  Not one of the better players, not the best player on your team, the best player in your entire district.  That would put you in the top two percent.  If you’re not in the top two percent (and 98 percent are not) it just means you need to do a little work to get there.
What does being under-recruited mean?
Being under-recruited means that for some reason you haven’t been noticed yet by college coaches or you’ve been noticed but aren’t actively being recruited.  You might have the athletic ability and the grades, but the right coaches haven’t seen you play or heard about you.  Your stats might be great, but for some reason you have gone unnoticed.
Think about this: If you are a Division II level middle infielder, how would the Division II coaches in other states ever find out about you as a player?  Recruiting budgets in most sports are limited and coaching staffs can only scout a finite number of games.  There is absolutely no reason to hope that a college you are interested in will suddenly notice you without a little effort on your part.
Why are you under-recruited?
There are many reasons why an athlete might be under-recruited or lightly recruited.  The reasons can range from small recruiting budgets in your sport, to quite frankly just not being in the right place at the right time.  You might live in a small town, play for a small high school or maybe you don’t pass the “eye-ball test”, but whatever your circumstances, if you truly are “under-recruited”, then you have to do something about it.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is an example of an athlete who didn’t pass the eye-ball test.  He was actually “under-recruited” out of high school.  How in the world did the majority of college coaches miss out on a talent like this?  Curry’s high school coach explained it this way: “Sometimes kids don’t pass the eyeball test.  As a senior he looked like he was about 14 years old.”  The “eyeball test” indicated he was too small to play high-level Division I college basketball.
Curry ended up playing at Davidson College, where he dominated.  Now he’s been the NBA’s MVP twice and he’s also won two NBA Championships.  Here’s the point, there are many reasons why you might be under-recruited.  You might not pass the “eyeball test”, or the colleges that have seen you play might not have a need at your position.  If that’s the case, then make the commitment to do something about it.         
How do you fix the problem? 
The best way to go from being under-recruited to highly-recruited is to reach out to colleges on your own.  As long as you reach out to schools that are a match for abilities and you’re persistent, you will be successful.  If your talents are currently best-suited for a Division II team, then concentrate on teams at that level.
Your recruiting strategy should involve researching colleges, developing an understanding of the recruiting process and even filling out the athletic questionnaires on college websites, but here are the three main steps:

Identify and research colleges that are appropriate for your abilities both athletically and academically.
Reach out to the coaching staff at those schools expressing genuine interest in their program and provide them with some information on who you are as a student-athlete.
Get your current coach involved to vouch for your abilities and character.

There is no better way to navigate the college recruiting process.  Invest in your future and take the time to pursue colleges that are as interested in you as you are in them.
Playced
Here’s the deal 
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  Spend some time with your family, watch some football and eat some turkey.  On Friday, if you’re an under-recruited athlete, do something about it!