Athletic Recruiting Recruiting is Like.. Starting Early

5 Things I Didn’t Know About Recruiting

(Flickr - Make It Kenya)

(Flickr – Make It Kenya)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this Instagram post Dwayne Wade shared recently.

Like Dwayne wrote, there are certain times in life when we wish we could go back and give our younger selves some advice.

This feeling usually comes at a turning point, epiphany, or milestone. It comes when we’ve gained enough distance to realize that we weren’t perfect — because no one is perfect.

We wish we could go back and say things like: “Don’t worry about those mean girls, you’ll never have to see them again after high school,” or “Don’t go to that party, no amount of fun is going to be worth how upset your parents get,” or “Just ignore your big sister when she’s mean to you, I promise she turns into your best friend and biggest support.”

Student-athletes who have already committed to, or graduated from, college, or parents or coaches, can probably relate to some of these. What we fret about when we’re in high school, the things we think aren’t important, or how we react to them often change over time. We end up realizing we were wrong.

And that’s okay. That’s called growing up, learning, and maturing.

But, like Dwayne, wouldn’t it be fun to go back, and maybe change a few things? I sure know I would.

Here are 5 things I didn’t know about the recruiting process.

While next Wednesday early signers, seniors who will sign their letters of commitment (if their sport and division of play requires or allows it), will celebrate the end of their recruiting process, many others are still asking themselves, “Where do I begin?” or “Will I ever make it through this?”.

Start early.

This is probably the most repeated piece of advice we hear from our student-athletes playing in college today.

The recruiting process started yesterday. It may sound daunting, but the reality is that the earlier you start, the more time you will have to explore schools and programs, and the more time you will have to get your name out there to college coaches.

If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to start earlier.

Take your academics seriously from the start.

High school itself is not easy. High school academics are not easy.

“I’ll have time to bring that GPA back up” is a common phrase among both students and student-athletes after the first quarter’s report card, or your midterm grades, or beyond.

And while of course, it may be true in some circumstances, one important thing our student-athletes would go back and tell themselves? Take your grades seriously from the start.

The party, the movie, the texting – so not worth it when you could have been using that time to write that paper or study for your test.

I promise you, this is something everyone who has committed to play their sport in college agrees with. If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to take academics seriously from the start.

Be proactive with college coaches.

This is not an easy one.

It’s intimidating. Reaching out to someone – especially an adult – you already hold in high regard is definitely uncharted water.

However, in order to really jump-start your process, and make a name for yourself, it’s imperative you use every shred of bravery inside of you and send the email or make the call to a college coach you want to get to know and whose program you would like to learn more about. And it needs to be you – not your parents, not your guidance counselor, not your next door neighbor.

The last thing you want to be thinking to yourself when you’re recruiting journey comes to an end it, “I wish I’d have tried to contact that coach…” If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to be proactive with college coaches.

Research and visit more schools.

You can’t possibly visit every school that’s caught your eye. It would mean thousands of dollars in travel costs, and a lot of time that is precious to a student-athlete and their family.

What you can do, though, is not limit yourself or discount certain schools because maybe you had never heard of them, or because they were too close to home, too far from home, too big, or too small.

This piece of advice from an older self is quite frankly: “If I’m being honest, did I tirelessly search for opportunities?” and “Did I give every opportunity a fair shot?”

If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to research and visit more schools before committing.

Finally: have more fun.

This is an exciting time.

It’s a unique time. It’s a stressful time.

At the end of the day, you are an awesome high school student-athlete doing everything you can to make the most of your talents and follow your dreams.

It’s very easy to get weighed down by politics within your school, team, sport, or situation. It’s even easier to feel an immense pressure to sign with a school or got to a particular college or university because there have been expectations placed on you.

Step back, and remember who you are and why you’re playing this sport hat you love. Getting recruited takes hard work, but please, have some fun along the way. Otherwise, what’s the point?


Our scouts and digital platform can help you get recruited and have fun doing it. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.