Thanks to advancements in technology, social media, and alternative options in high school sports, student-athletes from small schools now have more opportunities to get recruited than ever before.
Big-name high school sports programs often steal the spotlight when it comes to recruiting. This can make it more challenging for athletes from smaller schools to get noticed.
College coaches simply don’t have the time or resources to visit every high school in the country in search of recruits. Instead, they tend to focus on programs they already have relationships with, as these schools consistently produce talented athletes year after year.
However, even athletes who shine on their team or receive accolades like All-Conference or All-Area can slip through the cracks. This is where technology, talent, and persistence come into play for student-athletes from small schools.
Here are the steps that student-athletes from small high schools can take to increase their chances of getting noticed by college programs:
Create an Impressive Highlight Video Showcasing Your Athletic Abilities
A well-made highlight or skills video is the best way to grab a coach’s attention in most sports. Coaches often rely on videos to make initial evaluations of players. It’s crucial for the video to be concise, lasting no more than 5-7 minutes. Athletes should include their best plays right from the start and avoid saving them for the end. Given that coaches receive numerous highlight videos daily, it’s important for families to carefully select the footage to ensure their athlete’s video stands out.
Once the video is ready, student-athletes should upload it to their online profiles, YouTube, and/or Hudl, and share the link with college coaches.
Join a Travel or Club Team in Your Area
In many sports, such as volleyball and soccer, college coaches prefer recruiting from club or travel programs. Coaches often scout for talent at tournaments featuring these teams, as they can observe multiple top recruits in action over the course of a single weekend.
By watching elite players compete against other highly skilled athletes, coaches gain a better understanding of how these prospects would fare against college-level competition.
Utilize Recruiting Technology, Including Social Media, to Gain Exposure to College Coaches
The digital age has revolutionized the recruiting process, benefiting student-athletes from under-recruited areas. Athletes can create online recruiting profiles (such as those offered by NCSA) and showcase their highlight videos, statistics, academic information, and more. College coaches can then search for recruits who would be a good fit for their teams. This streamlined process makes it easier for coaches to discover athletes who may not have had exposure to college programs otherwise.
Social media also plays a crucial role in recruiting. Athletes can reach out to coaches directly on platforms like Twitter, which often yields quicker responses compared to email.
Coaches also use social media to gain insights into a recruit’s personality and interests. This presents an opportunity for student-athletes to showcase their athletic abilities, highlight videos, and sportsmanship.
However, it’s important for student-athletes to exercise caution and avoid posting inappropriate content on social media. Clean and professional online personas are key.
Participate in Camps or Showcases Hosted by College Coaches
Many college coaches organize weekend camps or showcases for high school athletes in various sports. These events provide a fantastic opportunity for recruits to learn from college coaches and get to know the coaching staff at different schools. It’s crucial for student-athletes to introduce themselves to coaches and make a positive impression during these camps.
After attending a camp or showcase, athletes should follow up with coaches via email or social media to express their gratitude for the opportunity. Better yet, a phone call can further capitalize on the momentum gained from the event.
Ensure Academic Eligibility for Collegiate Competition
Coaches cannot take the risk of recruiting athletes who struggle to maintain good grades. They prefer to recruit student-athletes with strong academics, as they may qualify for academic scholarships. By focusing on academically solid recruits, coaches can allocate their athletic scholarships to other deserving players.
Recruits should familiarize themselves with the NCAA eligibility requirements to ensure they are on track with core course requirements.
With the help of technology, social media, and options beyond high school sports, student-athletes from small schools now have greater opportunities to get recruited. It’s important for these prospects to use the recruitment process as a personal motivator to excel in both athletics and academics, so college coaches cannot afford to overlook their talent.