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Recruiting the modern athlete

It is the dream of every student athlete to play sports on the collegiate level. For any aspiring college athlete, it is important to remember that the greatest catalyst in getting recruited is his or her coach.

Getting noticed by a college recruit is, obviously, the first step. Participating in tournaments and showcases are designed to help college recruits see a large number of prospective student athletes, given their limited amount of time and budgets. Even when an athlete impresses a college recruiter in-person, the recruiter is still going to contact the coach to learn things about the athlete like strengths, weaknesses, character, grades, and current financial situation.

A coach usually has more experience in the sport, and has preexisting relationships with college recruits. In fact, the opinion of the coach is essential in the recruiting process because all strategies point back to the feedback of the coach. This is even more the case with recruiters in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because the recruiter can contact the coaches when communication with the athlete is restricted.

Most athletes are encouraged to implement a do-it-yourself approach by being proactive and creating portfolios, which include videos of their performances. These will get sent to any college they are interested in. Although these portfolios are essential and show the determination of the student athlete, recruits are only allowed to contact the athlete directly after July 1 after their junior year. Therefore, many athletes send in their portfolio early so the recruit has time to contact the coach of the student and focus on their potential.

The final strategy is to set realistic goals. Players must evaluate what their skills level is before contacting colleges in order to see if the college or university fits. They would do this by attending summer sports camps.

Sophomore Jenna Beer says, “In soccer, these camps are called college I.D camps, and I enjoyed how it helped me get noticed for my skills and improve them at the same time.”

Sports camps generally serve two different functions: to help an athlete get better or noticed. Some sports camps, especially those at targeted universities for the athletes, can often do both at the same time.

When a player has a few colleges in mind, a great resource to decide on a final university is to talk to current and former players who have already been through the recruiting process at those universities. This both helps boost the image of the athlete to current players and allows a chance to see if the student mingles well with the team.

Senior Caitlyn Magee says, “I bonded with the team after meeting the girls who play soccer at Fairleigh Dickinson University. It helped me choose which college was right for me.”

It is important for athletes to remember that college coaches are hired to win games. So you must ask yourself, where you can have a great collegiate experience and help the team win?

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