Athletic Recruiting Club Sports

What You Should Look For In A Club Team

Building a good club team
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Recently, over on Changing the Game Project, Todd Beane asked what coaches and club directors should look for in their club’s DNA.

And his question is equally important for student-athletes and their parents.

You should look for a club team that knows why they are there.

Todd writes that club teams should know their why — what kind of structured play the organization is looking to give to young players. In particular, the principles you should see from any quality club include:

  • Clearly defined core values that guide their actions
  • Clear expectations for players
  • Standards of education and behavior for coaches
  • Standards of education and behavior for parents

I know I can remember times when I’ve seen a packet of guidelines or regulations and felt my eyes gloss over, and I’m sure you can, too.

But those standards actually help keep club play in line with what is healthy and will help young student-athletes develop into talented players.

Should parents look for a club team that will get their child recruited?

When student-athletes and their parents are looking at club or travel leagues, the question of college recruiting is a little tricky.

On the one hand, looking at how many players from a club team have been recruited could signal a couple of great things. For example, maybe the club coach knows some local college coaches, and can recommend players to them. Or that the level of play in that league is high, so players are developing to their full potential. Perhaps recruiting is something that the coach feels passionately about, offering help to his athletes.

Families need to remember that they must take the initiative to ensure recruiting success.

So while there are certainly sports where club play helps — or may even take the place — of playing on a school team, there’s no guarantee that joining the club will get you a college scholarship.

Look at it like this: Your family and your coach are all on the same team and can help you reach of your goal of playing in college. However, you are the team captain responsible for putting in the effort and coordinating each of these teammates to reach that goal.

Instead, looking at Todd’s rubric of finding a club’s DNA, and knowing what they stand for, can help you determine if the club is right for your family.

  • Will the level of play be challenging, without overwhelming?
  • Does the club coach instruct the players in new drills at practice?
  • Does it fit into your family’s budget and — particularly challenging for clubs like softball travel leagues that play in the summer — into your vacation or travel schedule?

Remember that most high school athletes don’t need to play their sport year-round in order to find the right roster spot for them on a college. In fact, coaches often appreciate the talents multi-sport athletes bring to the team.

What you should look for in a club team comes down to how much the team fits your personal situation. And for that, there’s no better answer than a little research and a conversation as a family.


Do you have more questions about club or travel teams, and how you can progress on the road to playing in college? The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

Club coaches, check out NCSA Team Edition, the recruiting software solution for club teams.

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About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.