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Six Recruiting Mistakes to Avoid

By Next College Student Athlete, 01/03/19, 12:00PM CST

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Recruiting mistakes can scare off college coaches and undo years of a student-athlete’s hard work

Injuries happen. Coaches get it. If you get sidelined, you may be tempted to back off your recruiting efforts until you are back to full strength.

As you navigate the athletic recruiting process, you need to know what to do — and what not to do.

It’s important to learn how you can increase your recruiting opportunities and how you can avoid hurting rather than helping your chances. Recruiting mistakes can scare off college coaches and undo years of a student-athlete’s hard work.

Here are six common and less-common miscues that could undermine your recruiting game.

VAGUE COACH COMMUNICATION

Whether you’re communicating with college coaches in person or via email, phone or social media, it’s always important to be clear and direct. Even if an email conveys solid information to a coach, a closing line that states, “I hope to hear back from you” is far too open-ended.

Instead, it is much more effective for recruits to ask one to two specific questions to prompt a response from the coach. Need ideas on what to ask? Request feedback on your recruiting video, inquire about your recruiting class or ask coaches if they will be attending an upcoming tournament or showcase.

Read more: How to email college coaches

FOCUS ON RECRUITING RATHER THAN IMPROVING

A successful recruiting process requires fierce determination and a consistent effort. However, your athletic and academic performance is what ultimately will take you where you want to go.

While contacting coaches to get on their radar is important, you may be better off getting in extra practice, improving your strength and conditioning or studying to boost your GPA and ACT/SAT scores. And when you do reach out to coaches, your additional efforts are definitely worth mentioning.

TAKING A RECRUITING HIATUS AFTER AN INJURY

Injuries happen. Coaches get it. If you get sidelined, you may be tempted to back off your recruiting efforts until you are back to full strength.

Many recruits fear that college coaches will pass on them if they miss a significant amount of time due to injury. However, it pays to tell coaches about an injury and share the progress you are making on the road to recovery. Injuries are a window into a recruit’s character and work ethic. Coaches want to see how you respond to setbacks as well as your overall passion and commitment to your sport. Yes, an ill-timed injury can cause you to miss an opportunity. But you’re guaranteed to miss opportunities if you stop communicating.

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Many student-athletes will continuously call and email the same coaches before and after tournaments, showcases and camps, despite not receiving a response or seeing them at the event.

If coaches are interested, they will respond to emails, contact the athlete’s high school or club coach and attend events to evaluate them. Being overly proactive will put you on a coach’s radar for the wrong reasons, leading to deleted emails and voicemails.

Always make sure your recruiting communication has a specific purpose. When you email coaches, craft clear and concise subject lines. And if you don’t hear back from a coach, move on to the next one.

Read more: Are you good enough to play college sports?

PUTTING YOUR RECRUITING PROCESS ON AUTO-PILOT

To be successful, student-athletes need to stay engaged in the recruiting process year-round. During the season, it is important to build relationships with coaches and keep them updated.

However, the real work comes in the off-season. Just because you had a great campus visit or a good email exchange with a coach doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait. Taking a break from your recruiting efforts is a sure way to halt your momentum or even doom the process.

HAVING AN ENTITLED ATTITUDE

Few things turn off college coaches faster than athletes who think they’ve already earned a scholarship and a spot on the team. Going into a campus visit or a coach phone call with an obvious chip on your shoulder is a surefire way to make them lose interest.

Coaches want you to be confident and independent — but always be respectful and ready to learn.

ABOUT NEXT COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETE

NCSA is the world's largest and most successful collegiate athletic recruiting network. A wholly owned subsidiary of Reigning Champs LLC, NCSA's 700 teammates leverage exclusive data, proprietary matching algorithms and personal relationships built over nearly two decades as the industry leader to connect tens of thousands of college-bound student-athletes to more than 35,000 college coaches nationwide across 34 sports every year.

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