Recruiting Tips and Advice gathered from college coaches, scouts, and athletic directors for high school student-athletes
By Michael Costeines
We all know the recruiting process can be difficult. The road has only become more crowded with the evolvement of the transfer portal and players being granted an extra year of eligibility due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It can be a stressful time for players and parents alike.
What can you do to give yourself the best chance at a college scholarship?
I’ve sat and talked with various college coaches and scouts over the past several years. Here is some of the top feedback I’ve gotten from them.
Body Language Matters
A college scout is watching what you do on AND off the court. How you interact with your coach and teammates can make a big difference. Are you a player with a bad attitude when things get tough or do you bear down and fight through it? It’s easy to look good when you’re winning or having a big game. Plenty of kids have talent but lack a level of maturity in pressure situations. You should also be engaged and cheer on your teammates when you’re on the bench.
Short Memory Mentality
Nobody is perfect. Athletes are going to make mistakes on the court or gridiron. A coach is going to want to see how you react after making a bad play. This ties into body language as well as how you play in consecutive situations. Are you sprinting back on defense after making a turnover? Did you miss a wide-open receiver or throw a bad interception on the prior drive? Having a level of mental toughness in your sport is critical. Depending on the level you play, you could have 20,000 fans in an arena or 100,000 in a football stadium looking to break your spirit and watch you fold under pressure. Don’t let that happen.
Social Media Responsibility
This is a big point as social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram) has become more and more prevalent. Be careful what you post on these platforms. Do not use vulgar language or use any illegal substances (drinking/smoking). A coach might look up one of your accounts and see bad behavior. Be smart and make good decisions. You are representing yourself to a potential college suitor. A program is not going to want to bring in someone with a ton of bad habits. You might recall Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette being cut after he brandished a weapon and threatened to kill someone on a social media post. To make matters worse, this was just after the Henry Ruggs III situation within the organization. While that was on the professional level, it still applies here. Talent will only get you so far if you keep making poor choices. Just use common sense!
Another good point is to post information in your Twitter bio and use an easily searchable name. A coach would prefer to have easy access to your information and not spend excess time searching for your handle. Pin your highlights and stats to the top of your profile. Also, have your contact info (email/phone number) in plain view.
Keep this in mind at AAU tournaments or showcases. Talent aside; a college program would rather not see a parent or relative that’s berating your coach or being a nuisance during a game. That could be extra stress on them, especially at the lower level. Why aren’t you playing my son or giving him minutes is a no-no!
Grades Grades Grades!
I talked with an assistant coach at a basketball showcase from the Navy and the first thing he asked me about a player was his grades and extracurricular activities. It was not his shooting percentage or assist to turnover ratio. While Navy is a high-academic institution, this applies to most college programs. Keep your grades up and take the SAT/ACT. If you need help, get a tutor or ask a teacher for extra help. Most will gladly oblige. Think of it as getting extra shots up after practice. You are a student-athlete. You do not want to be academically ineligible once you get into college. Develop a set of good habits and organizational skills now.
For more information on getting that college scholarship, visit mygotgame and open a free online profile to maximize your exposure.