College Recruiting: 3 Rules Student-Athletes Must Follow When Being Recommended By Their Coach

college recruiting process coach recommendation

If you think that your student-athlete’s current coach doesn’t have any college connections, you’re wrong. They do. Whether it’s from their old playing days, their alma mater, or the relationships they’ve established over the years by sending players on to the next level, their coach has college connections. And, those coaches with whom they are connected with respect their opinions. 

Related: 3 Recruiting Tips When Sending an Introduction Email To College Coaches

Once the student athlete has created a list of schools that they’re interested in, they should talk with their current coach to see if they have any connections with those schools. If the coach says that they have a connection, the student athlete should then ask if they would be willing to help provide them with an introduction. 

Rule #1: High School Coaches Don’t Give Recommendations Unless They’re Comfortable Doing So

The college recruiting process is started by college coaches every year when they reach out to the high school and club coaches that they have strong relationships with. The reason why is because they trust the opinions of the coaches that have been sending them players, especially if those players being sent have been serving them well. If your student-athlete happens to play for a coach that already has numerous connections, you should encourage them to start speaking with their coach to determine if those schools could be a potential option for a recommendation.

However, just because your student athlete’s current coach has a connection with college coaches, it doesn’t mean that your child is going to be automatically recruited by them. There are too many parents that believe that their kid is entitled to their current coach’s list of college connections because their child played for them. A high school coach is only going to give a recommendation to a college coach when they believe that player is worth giving a recommendation. 

High School Coaches Are Hesitant To Recommend Student-Athletes Primarily Because of Two Reasons:

Reason #1: High school coaches have a reputation and a relationship to uphold so that they can continue to send players on to their connections. 

Reason #2: Recruiting at the high school or club level is based on how many of a program’s players move on to play college. A high school coach isn’t going to ruin a relationship with a college program by recommending your student athlete when it’s not a good fit. 

So, when it comes to recommending student-athletes, high school and club coaches put a ton of thought into whom they are going to recommend on to the next level. 

If your student athlete isn’t a good fit, has a bad attitude, or simply can’t cut it at a particular school because they just aren’t good enough, don’t expect your student athlete’s current coach to be talking with that school. No matter how bad your child wants to go to a certain school, don’t expect it to happen if it doesn’t fit. 

Now, if your student athlete happens to be a good fit and the connection or introduction with a school is made, it’s up to your student athlete to continue communicating with that school’s coach. The last thing that they should do is check in with their current coach and ask if they’ve spoken with any of their connections after an introduction has been made.

Rule #2: It’s the student-athlete’s responsibility to keep the line of communication open.

It’s the student-athlete’s responsibility to be mature by stepping up and maintaining a strong line of communication with the college coaches whom are interested in them. It’s not a high school or club coach’s responsibility to hold a student-athlete’s hand during the recruiting process.

Why is it the student-athlete’s responsibility to maintain a strong line of communication with a coach? 

It’s because college coaches want to speak with student-athletes directly. They want to get to know the person whom they’re considering to give a four year commitment to. College coaches especially want to know whether or not the student athlete that they are recruiting has the grit, maturity and dedication that is required to play collegiate athletics. 

Related: How to Create A College Recruiting Video That Will Get You Noticed

Take a step back and think about that for a moment. A potential school is considering whether or not to offer you an opportunity to receive a $250,000 education for free. That’s a big decision for them to make. And, you can bet that the type of coach that student-athletes want to play for is the coach that puts a ton of thought into getting to know the players they’re recruiting to determine if they are a right for or not for their program and their school.

The only way that college coaches can achieve this is by getting to know their recruits on a personal level by speaking directly with the recruit (and their family, upon the coach’s request). It’s not done by having a recruit’s high school coach serve as an intermediary to in order to facilitate a conversation in effort to build a relationship. 

Related: 5 Ways College Coaches Evaluate Character In The Recruiting Process

Student-athletes must keep in mind that it’s also their responsibility to be available and respectful after that initial connection is made. It’s not the time to blow coaches off by not returning their calls or by being closed off because that school isn’t their “first option”.  It’s a very quick way to tarnish your name and reputation in the recruiting process. Plus, a student-athlete must always be aware that their number one desired school doesn’t always pan out. 

Instead, a student-athlete should always try to be available (as much as reasonably possible) to prospective schools throughout the entire recruiting process. They should also avoid giving off the vibe that they’ve lost interest by being positive and upbeat with each coach they speak with. 

Rule #3: Student-Athletes Should Be Proactive Throughout The Entire College Recruiting Process

Lastly, a student-athlete should NEVER drag their feet through the recruiting process. Actions speak louder than words. When a coach has to constantly nag you to get your transcripts/application in or to sign up for the SAT, you’re telling them that they’re not a priority. A lack of enthusiasm in the recruiting process also provides a coach with some insight into what that particular student-athlete’s level of attention to detail is.

Any lack of enthusiasm or attention to detail shows college coaches the level of character you have and the attitude towards adversity you will most likely exhibit down the road. If you have to be motivated to do the required paperwork to enter the school, how can a coach trust that you’ll be motivated to do the required paperwork when you’re in school?

Odds are they won’t. 

Final Word 

In order to handle the college recruiting process correctly after their coach makes an introduction, student-athletes need to remember these five important things:

  1. Prospective student-athletes should create a list of schools and ask their current coach if they will introduce them to their connections. 
  2. If a connection is made, it’s the student-athlete’s responsibility to keep the line of communication strong. Don’t ask your current coach to serve as an intermediary.
  3. Student-athlete recruits should always be respectful and energetic when speaking with college coaches about the opportunity to play for their school (even if they’re not your first choice). 
  4. A student-athlete should never drag their feet throughout the recruiting process or string along interested schools. They will tarnish their reputation. 
  5. Student-athletes should be respectful and professional. They need to understand that how they handle themselves throughout the college recruiting process will have an impact on whether or not that coach considers future student athletes from the same program. Don’t screw things up for kids down the line.