Self Marketing Tips

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Reality check: Most high school athletes are not five-star recruits. So, college coaches probably won't be kicking down your door or blowing up your cell, day in and day out, like they do for the top 100. That said, you still might have what it takes to play at the next level. You just need to put in some extra effort to get noticed.

Making contacts During your junior year, create a list of target schools that interest you and research them for the head coaches' contact information. Then, send each coach a customized letter of interest with your athletic profile and a schedule of your games enclosed.

David Oliver, 110m hurdles Bronze Medalist in the Beijing Olympics, kept on hand a typewritten letter that included all of his stats. "I had a big book with all the colleges in it and the addresses, and I just sent off letters all the time," says the football and track recruit.

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Reality check: Most high school athletes are not five-star recruits. So, college coaches probably won't be kicking down your door or blowing up your cell, day in and day out, like they do for the top 100. That said, you still might have what it takes to play at the next level. You just need to put in some extra effort to get noticed.

Making contacts
During your junior year, create a list of target schools that interest you and research them for the head coaches' contact information. Then, send each coach a customized letter of interest with your athletic profile and a schedule of your games enclosed.

David Oliver, 110m hurdles Bronze Medalist in the Beijing Olympics, kept on hand a typewritten letter that included all of his stats. "I had a big book with all the colleges in it and the addresses, and I just sent off letters all the time," says the football and track recruit.

Tips for your letter of interest
• Make sure it is typed or neatly handwritten
• Proofread the entire letter to make sure there are no misspellings or grammatical mistakes
• Include something specific about the school's program, (e.g., facilities, record, top rival)
• Make each letter original from beginning to end
• Express interest in the school's academic program and the major you want to pursue
• Include education and career goals, leadership ability, personal values and athletic accolades
• Request additional information on the school and its athletic program, and say that you'd like to visit for a home game
• Make it no longer than one page

Personal profile
• Set this up as a one-page résumé
• Include jobs, interests, volunteer and community work, and athletic accomplishments
• List academic information such as ACT and SAT scores, GPA, class rank and honors courses you've taken

Once you send coaches your packet, keep in touch periodically by phone or email to let them know that your interest is sincere and sustained.

Camps
Attending a showcase camp, where coaches from the region can personally evaluate your skills and attitude, is another attention-grabber. University of Kentucky head basketball coach Billy Gillispie says, "If you play [in an AAU event] and do really well, you have a chance to prove yourself, because you're going up against the best players, and that's how you get noticed."

Sidney Lowe, NC State's head basketball coach, advises monitoring your on-court attitude and off-court demeanor. "Just work as hard as you can and try to win [at AAU events or camps]," he says. "Coaches notice players who win."

Tips for heading to camp
• Contact coaches on your target list to let them know you'll be at camp
• Arrive on time
• If a uniform isn't provided, wear a jersey with your name on the back
• Don't wear any jewelry
• Hustle at all times
• Encourage other athletes during the camp; cheerlead when someone makes a big play
• Display a positive attitude
• Get evaluated at multiple positions

Highlight video
A highlight video is a great way to show off your skills to a busy college coach. A few tips for creating a highlight reel:

• Make it look professional
• Create an introductory slide listing your full name, high school, city and state, year of graduation, coaches' names, height and weight, sports played, positions, areas of academic interest, SAT/ACT scores and GPA
• Use a combination of practice and game footage
• Wear a full uniform with a visible number if applicable
• Show action only; delete dead time
• Include footage in which you make great plays and some in which you're not in the middle of the action
• Show plays from different angles
• Make the video no longer than five minutes
• Label the tape with your name, graduation year, position, jersey number, address and phone number

Related links:
Getting Attention from College Coaches
Academic Pitfalls
2009 Key Recruiting Checklist
Bob Sanders' Recruiting Experience
Recruiting Terminology
Financial Aid 411
Divisional Breakdown
Communicating With a Coach 
Gauging A Coach's Interest
Official College Visits
Researching Colleges
Key NCAA Rules & Regs


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