If you’re a 5-star prospect whom every college coach has his eye on, your biggest challenge will be which college to choose. But if you’re among the majority of prospects who are lumped into the next level of recruits, your college journey will be a bit more challenging. (Read STACK’s Recruiting Guide.)
The recruiting process is not always a straight run with the prize at the end. Most college hopefuls encounter resistance, obstacles and frustrating circumstances. The athlete—and his supporting family members—who can identify potential pitfalls and learn to pivot before hitting them is more likely to succeed in his quest to get to the next level.
Pivoting—as it pertains to the college recruiting process—is the ability to maneuver proactively and shift your personal strategy based on a careful analysis of your situation and of college coaches’ progress toward reaching their recruiting quotas. Every college coach is different in personality and approach to recruiting. Deciphering the feedback you receive from college coaches and determining where you stand as a prospect are crucial when adjusting your game plan. If you are experiencing any of the following, consider making a pivot in your recruiting strategy:
- Sensing negative feedback or lack of interest from coaches (see Maximize communication with coaches.)
- Falling short of a coach’s expectations, academically or athletically
- Suffering a significant injury
- Exhausting opportunities for scholarships, roster spots and admissions support for your recruiting class
Focus Your Efforts
You will reduce your chances for error if you can filter coach feedback and streamline your approach. Focus your efforts and maintain positive momentum during every stage of your college search, and pay close attention to feedback you receive from the coaches. Formulate a plan that can get you in a good position on a coach’s radar screen. Get your “team” on board, regularly evaluate your plan and look for potential hurdles on the horizon. If your gut tells you that you need to change your plan, be decisive and take action. (Learn how to formulate a plan.)
Always keep an eye on your A-list schools, but remain closely connected to your B-list backups. You will not be settling for less, but preparing for the smart play (if needed) as part of a bigger process. There is an obvious risk in putting all of your eggs in one basket, and this not a recommended recruiting strategy for any prospective student-athlete. Remain fluid in your recruiting approach, embrace every minor shift in your plan and remember that momentum is your driving force.
Vision is the act or power of imagination. It becomes important to help you identify once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. A strong and complete recruiting knowledge base, coupled with a well-defined and impeccably-executed plan, will turn the power of imagination into tangible results.
The decision to shift direction in any endeavor can be frustrating and daunting, but don’t be afraid to embrace change. Maintaining a fluid approach in your action plan will open up alternative opportunities and hopefully result in your finding the right college.