On Recruiting

Post NLI/Early Admissions Communication with College Coaches

The National Letter of Intent signing period and Early Admissions application deadline has recently passed and with that, college recruiting can easily move to a pause mode if left unchecked. There is a natural sport transition where currently, fall athletes are wrapping up their seasons, the winter season is just beginning to gain steam and spring prospects are in core training and pre-season mode.

A good college coach is always actively recruiting. That said, just like our bodies go through natural bio-rhythms, the recruiting cycle is no different, and depending on the sport and the season, a prospect will serve himself best by taking a hands-on approach in helping coaches evaluate.

What follows are “seasonal suggestions” to consider in providing the coaches with impact information that will raise your level of interest on the radar screen.

Fall Sports

As we approach the holiday, the fall sports season is concluding, and the winter sports season begins to emerge. This transition is naturally a great time for fall athletes to take a break, but it also serves as a great opportunity to communicate helpful information to college coaches.

Take careful time to re-cap the season in “bullet form” first. This will offer a broad view to the competition season in general terms. From here you can pull impact operatives from your bullet list to create a seamless “blow by blow” report and offer the coaches with a 1 paragraph season highlight.

Follow-up the written correspondence with either a 90 second highlight video and/or capture your season best full/half game to share to compliment the re-cap and give the coaches a chance to evaluate you best.

Winter Sports

Winter sport athletes are right in the thick of a new and exciting season. Between school, athletic training and competitions and whatever limited social life they can muster, their plates are full. What is important to realize here is that these prospects have a load of potential impact information they can provide the college coaches over the next several months.

The high school and college sports seasons naturally align, and everyone is busy. College coaches are laser focused on preparing their teams for a championship run. The prospect who makes a bold effort with proactive communication will more likely get the attention of the college coaches.

Sub-divide the season into 3 segments (pre-season, mid-season, championship portion of the season) and give the coaches a snapshot to how the team is progressing and your personal improvement. Share statistics, win-loss record and any personal accolades (all conference player of the week) that will drive your position on the radar screen higher.

Spring Sports

Spring Sport athletes want to make the best of what is ahead of them, especially the 2019 class. There is a lot at stake in the college recruiting process considering the spring season along with summer showcases and camps will be the finial opportunity for coaches to evaluate early admission and early NLI signers.

Give the coaches every reason to believe you are a “year-round” athlete and not a “seasonal” athlete. Ramping up your winter core conditioning and speed and agility training program and sharing your progress is one of many tactics you can employ.

Offering pre-season outlooks and sharing specific performance goals is another strategy that can have “grip” but remember, the college coaches will hold you to your forecasts!

If you have assembled a winter showcase and tournament schedule, share this information with every college coach on your list, even if they do not plan to attend. Your “dedicated effort” may be a grey area in the grand scheme of recruiting, but it can pay big dividends in the long run.

Take time to sit down with your recruiting team (mom, dad, coach etc.) and look further out to identify general communication targets. There are 4 natural seasons in any given year and you want to begin to match up specific targets for specific seasons to spread your assignments out.   

Regardless of your specific sport endeavor, the college search for athletes is a process that requires foundational strength built on proactive communication. There is no longer any “downtime” with recruiting and prospects need to provide the coaches with seasonal updates that have grip and will get the attention of college coaches.

[Read the full column]

Columnist

Tom Kovic

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families in navigating the college recruiting process. For further information visit Victoryrecruiting.com.

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