I read a great article yesterday discussing what is on a college coach’s checklist when he is recruiting. It was written by Ted Spencer the Director of Blue Chip 225. I have paraphrased part of the article below and added my comments in red. Please take a minute to read through it and consider how your efforts compare to what coaches are looking for. The more of these you demonstrate the better chance you have of being on the recruiting board for your college.
Also note that the last two items are as important as all the rest combined. You can do everything else right and get passed over by an unenthusiastic recommendation by your high school / club coach, or a negative impression on the college coach. Remember - your club coach matters more than most. Ask yourself – are they able to help me with both the skills you need and the contacts you require.
- Grades matter - you must have a GPA that can get you? The higher your average the easier for the coach to get you admitted and the more likely you are to remain in school and on his squad for four years.
- Test scores matter / Have strong SAT/ACT scores. - This is part of the NCAA standards, key to admission, and an indication of your ability to stay in school.
- Hold a strong rank in your class. (VERY, VERY IMPORTANT) – Colleges know that high schools are inflating grades. Almost all schools are doing it. (It is done to keep the parents from yelling). To adjust for the grade inflation admission offices are using class rank. This allows them to more realistically evaluate a player who has a 3.8 GPA but is ranked 80th out of 140 kids in the school.
- Have excellent teacher recommendations from teachers that actually know you. Do not ask teachers that do not know you well to write recommendations. They sound formal and weak. At top schools these can spell the difference between admission and rejection.
- Hold leadership positions in your activities.Be able to prove that the activity was meaningful to you and that you were actively involved, not just doing it to put it on your application.
- Measures of success – coaches want bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter. For top programs you need all 4 (or at least off the charts on 3 of them). At others you may only need 2 of them. Know what you are good at and highlight it. Fix what you are struggling at. It does not matter how good you are if you can not showcase that talent to the coaches. If it is close between players, coaches in the end default to bigger or faster. Why? Because a coach gets less flack if a 6’2” kid does not work out then if a 5’8” kids does not. Understand it from the coach’s perspective and show that you are better.
- Demonstrated success against strong competition – Coaches look to strong teams and strong areas to recruit. Make sure you are on a top club that has national recognition and a history of success. Better to be the #7 middie on a top 10 team than the #1 middie on the # 100 team. Coaches know that those players are getting the best coaching, facing the most competitive opponents and playing at the fastest speed.
- Coaches will check with your local coaches about your character / attitude. College coaches will ask WHO you are, what you're like, are you coachable, a team player, can you take criticism, are you accountable for your actions as opposed to blaming teammates, or coach (Very, Very important) Do you have a strong effort and good attitude every day in practice and games. Do you demonstrate a competitive spirit. More players lose out at this point than at any other.
- Your interaction with college coaches - By the time you see a coach he knows how well you can play. What he is looking to know is who you are. Are you the kind of player he wants to spend 4 years coaching. How you behave in every aspect of your interaction in writing, on the phone and in person tells the coach the answer to this vital question. College coaches live in fear of their players making the front page of the local paper because they did something wrong. This can get the coach suspended or fired. Remember they have a spouse and children that they need to support. No coach can take a risk on a bad character kid that could impact their livelihood. Do not give them any reason to believe you could be that kid.