A: One of the most common questions or worries that I hear is, “Help, I live in the middle of nowhere, nobody will ever find me” or “My team sucks, nobody will ever come to my school to scout me.”
WRONG! This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there!
Yes, coaches MUST have a reason to come scout your games or practice—they will rarely just show up unless you play for a powerhouse program that turns out Division I player after Division I player. Of the “8 Reasons Why a Coach May Recruit You”—only one touches on a coach observing you at your high school… so RELAX! There are many other ways to get noticed!
Not all of the players that I’ve seen sign scholarships over the years were players that our staff found and went after. A good percentage of them were players who came to us first. Players who called us, sent us their highlight tapes, had their coaches call us, showed up on campus, attended our camps. Many players who are getting recruited got the process going for themselves; they didn’t wait for a coach to come find them! Scholarship offers may not just come FIND you… for many of you, you will have to go FIND them!
Many of the coaches that I’ve worked with are looking for three base traits—skill, size and speed. Many players may only have two of these three traits or they may even only be masters of one. It’s up to you to become the greatest that you can be at these three traits and recognize that sometimes you can’t control all of these factors… but you can compensate by being really great at the others. After those three key traits, coaches are looking at your intangibles: toughness, leadership, intelligence, a relentless attitude and the ability to make things happen. There are a lot of slow, short players who go on to play at the collegiate level because they find a way to bring value to their high school team by being really great at one or two of these characteristics. You must focus on your skills, size and speed.
Over and over I’ve heard coaches say, “I want tremendous players who are winners.” This doesn’t directly mean they want a player who comes from a school that has produced a lot of Division I players, it means that they are looking for players who come from a CULTURE OF WINNING, players who know how to prepare, players who picked up great habits from successful mentors, who are competitive, who don’t make excuses and who won’t settle.
While many great players can go unrecruited or underrecognized, it is also important to understand that coaches are constantly searching for that next great unknown. They’re scouting the area, asking everyone about the next up-and-coming player.
Coaches want to know: “Do you understand what it takes to win and are you prepared to make those sacrifices?” What does this mean to you? It means that you can break the mold at your school by being the first player to be able to sign a college scholarship AND it means you can help be the player who helps create that ‘winning attitude’ at your school. It is up to you and your teammates (not just your coaches) to create a ‘Culture of Winning.’
If you are an underclassman, start now and work to be the ONE who initiates the offseason workouts and who encourages their teammates to join them—BE A LEADER. Help create that culture of winning through your work ethic, toughness and by building chemistry within your team.
Just some advice, don’t exclude plenty of opportunities for playing time, scholarships and a college degree by only focusing on Division I programs. There are plenty of DII, DIII, Junior College and NAIA schools out there that can provide one-in-a-lifetime experiences, memories, championships, friendships and degrees. Playing college sports, on any level, is a gift! Don’t limit yourself or leave scholarship money on the table by excluding every team outside of NCAA Division I.