The 3 R's of Collegiate Recruiting

Want to be a collegiate athlete? If so, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Do you have a quantified athletic RESUME?

  • Where do you want to RANK in terms of schools and their conferences?

  • To which schools can you REALISTICALLY be accepted and afford?

Athletic Resume

Whether you like it or not, you need an Athletic Resume.  And if you don't know what this is, ask your parent's for a copy of their resume and replace their professional adjectives, verbs, and nouns with your quantified athletic analogies.

A high school athlete going through the collegiate recruiting process is arguably the same thing as a business-professional applying for a job.  The athlete applies for a position in the hopes of first getting an interview with the appropriate coach, with the ultimate goal of signing a mutually agreeable contract based on a series of negotiations regarding performance expectations and financial compensation.

Said differently, don't be afraid ask your parents for advice.  And if you want to practice, try to literally quantify an athletic accomplishment. Something like this:

  • Professional: Led the process and execution of the $100,000 acquisition of Company A by Company B in April 2016, resulting in a 2% increase in customer-lifetime value and 3% decrease in customer acquisition cost
  • Athletic:  Increased training capacity by 10%, from 50,000 to 55,000 yards per week for the Winter 2015 season, which led to an increase in VO2 max by 4% and an average improvement of 1.3% in core events of sprint freestyle and butterfly

From there you can customize with tables of best times or bio-metric data for support. If you have copies of your workouts or links to videos be sure to include those as well, but if your headline isn't catchy the rest of the data is obsolete.

Coaches want context around your performances because it helps them understand how well you can fit into their program - and to provide that context to them up front only promotes your coachability factor (see 'Time To Be Real' section).

Where Do You Want To Rank?

Make no mistake about it, the theme of collegiate recruiting is TIME = MONEY

If we think back to the analogy of applying for a job in the professional world, it still holds as all parties want to fill their spots as quickly and as cost efficiently as possible.

So ask yourself, how important is it for you to succeed in athletics over academics in college?  This is a crucial question because it creates a juncture and can eliminate a lot of schools very quickly.  Do you want to ride the bench at Stanford, or do you want to be the captain at Kenyon? Both have a history of athletic and academic achievements, but on a more relative scale when it comes to athletics.

Don't back into the equation by saying, well where can I get into school based on my athletic abilities?  Create a vision of what you hope to get out of your experience as a collegiate athlete, and then do your research to build a list of schools (max of 20) you feel can make that vision become a reality.

Your vision is whatever you want, so don't waste your time / money on programs that cannot give you what you want.

Time To Be Real

Here is some truth for you - nobody, I mean nobody, likes the collegiate recruiting process. Coaches do not like being away from their team, athletes are afraid of rejection, and parents are afraid of losing their investment.

If there is ever a time for a high school athletes career to be validated, it is during the collegiate recruiting process.  Therefore, the athlete owes it to themselves to be as realistic as possible with how far they have come and much further they are willing to go.

When doing so, consider these four categories which I promise you every coach considers when evaluating a potential recruit:

  • Athletics: are you capable of benefiting the team?
  • Academics: can your grades get you into school? 
  • Financial Aid: can you pay for school on your own?
  • Relationship: are you a coachable athlete?

An ideal recruit scores an A+ in each category, and the last category is Relationship for a reason.

The main reason is that coaches want confidence, not cockiness.  In the eyes of a coach, an athlete is coachable if they display an eagerness to learn and willingness to trust that their relationship will produce the best possible result.

But another reason is that the Relationship category is the only category that cannot be quantified, so effectively everyone has an equal chance on day one.

Posted By: Elliot Meena
Published: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016