A successful recruiting process typically involves a collaborative effort from a number of people including coaches, family, friends, and anyone who can provide assistance. However, ultimately the responsibility for a student athlete’s recruiting success or failure falls directly on the family of the potential recruit. All too often, families rely on the high school or club coach in the hopes that they will somehow deliver a scholarship. Unfortunately, this usually results in disappointment.
The vast majority of high school and club coaches have noble intentions when it comes to helping their student athletes with the recruiting process. In many cases, they can be of meaningful support, but when push comes to shove, they rarely have the type of influence that families expect when it comes to scholarships.
To fully appreciate why some families have the misconception that high school coaches are able to get student athlete’s a scholarship, it is helpful to travel back in time to an age of recruiting where high school coaches actually did have that type of power. Years ago, high school coaches had a far greater impact on the recruiting process due to a couple of major factors. Let’s examine those:
20 years ago, the current technology that allows a college coach to evaluate a large number of prospects through DVDs, or even better yet, streaming video, was non existent. For the most part, if college coaches wanted to watch a student athlete play, they were forced to travel to a game and watch in-person or visit the high school and watch the film which only the high school coach had access to. This access forged relationships between the high school coach and college coach that contributed to the current misconception.
Back then, families were unable to send out 50-100 DVDs and videos to college coaches and because of this, the evaluation of the high school coach carried a lot of weight with the college coaching community. While high school and club coach evaluations are still important, they are no longer required for a college coach to receive an assessment of a student athlete.
It’s a Numbers Game
Along with the advances in technology that have changed college recruiting, many rules and regulations have changed for college coaches which prevent them from doing high school coaches favors. In the past, when the high school coach played a more significant role, college coaches would occasionally agree to offer an official visit or maybe even a scholarship to a student athlete based on a relationship with the student athlete’s high school coach. Unfortunately, the number of both scholarships and official visits has been lowered significantly in recent years making them far more valuable. College coaches can no longer afford to give them away.
As you can see, the landscape of college recruiting 20-30 years ago created an environment in which high school coaches had far more significant authority on scholarships. This power has diminished in recent years, however the perception has lingered and many families still believe high school coaches and club coaches are able to get them scholarships. Now that we have examined where the myth began, let’s discuss why it’s unfair to place this pressure on coaches today.
While high school and club coaches might provide guidance and help with the college recruiting process, simply put, it is not their responsibility to get a student athlete recruited. Their main role is to serve as a teacher, educator, and leader for young student athletes.
College Recruiting is a lot of work. For the last five weeks, I have discussed the amount of work that has to be done in order for a student athlete to be recruited. Many families have told us that recruiting is basically the equivalent of a full time job. The majority of high school coaches actually earn a living from being a full time teacher. Many are parents and spouses. To expect the high school coach to handle all the work that goes into recruiting for every single one of their players in addition to their normal responsibilities is both unreasonable and unrealistic.
College Recruiting can be expensive. NCSA has conducted a number of studies that place the cost of managing and executing a successful recruiting campaign for a family doing it on their own at over $5,000. How many college coaches have those types of resources for multiple student athletes?
The average high school coach has less than 5 college coach contacts and most of those are local. As I pointed out 2 weeks ago, student athletes need to be involved with over 100 college coaches in order to generate the maximum number of opportunities.
It is critical to understand that every high school and club coach has a different level of experience with recruiting. Some high school coaches might have extensive knowledge of the recruiting process and others might be first year coaches who have never even played college sports themselves. Next week, I will discuss what you should expect from you high school coach and how you can develop a relationship that will benefit your recruiting process.