Having a D-Wade-like game will obviously grab the attention of college coaches, but most student-athletes need more than hardwood skills. Getting noticed starts by reversing the recruiting process, as in taking a proactive role. If you want college coaches seriously eyein’ you, you should seriously scope out programs and coaches with whom you’d be a good fit. Sports Dreammakers Inc. founder Laura Mitchell explains how with these tips.
The Information Packet
Self-marketing is one of the best methods to get exposure. “I always say that you must reverse recruit,” Mitchell says. And an information packet is an excellent means. Include your academic and athletic stats [e.g., GPA, ACT score, ppg, rpg], your high school coach’s phone number and a video.
Don’t limit the video to highlights of your playing abilities. “You should include a couple of halves of basketball games, because coaches look for other [factors],” Mitchell says. “Coaches look at how you act when taken out of a game and how you recover from a mistake.” Point out in the video where you played your best, too. “The main thing is not to make it so cumbersome that coaches have to spend lots of time looking at it,” she says. If your packet includes newspaper clips, highlight your name.
Mitchell suggests sending your packet to a variety of schools in different locations. Simply mailing a handful won’t cut it. “You’ve got to send in the double digits to get as many opportunities as possible.”
“It’s really important to get a feel for a program,” Mitchell says. That includes the coach. “Sometimes, athletes see one side of a coach during a visit, but once they become studentathletes at the school, the coach is different and the program is run differently from what they thought.”
That’s why official visits are key to the recruiting process. You’re limited to five official visits, no more than one per D-I and -II school, so make the most of each by being inquisitive. Mitchell recommends finding out as much as possible about the coaching staff and the team by asking the following Qs:
For the coach
• What type of impact will I have on the program?
• Will I get to play immediately? Or will I have to wait behind other players?
For the players
• What is coach really like?
• How much fun do you have playing?
• What’s it like when the team is winning?
• What’s it like when the team is losing?
Camps and Clinics
One benefit of attending camp is improved court skills. But you also get the opportunity to network. When possible, Mitchell recommends heading to your favorite collegiate program’s camp. Even if you don’t have the level of talent to play for that school, you can get to know members of the coaching staff, who can help you make connections elsewhere by recommending other schools or coaches.