College sports recruiting is when a college coach or university representative invites a high school student-athlete to compete in sports for their particular college or university.
Student-athletes are interested in going through this process for several reasons. The two most popular are so they can continue playing their sport after high school and to receive an athletic scholarship that will pay for part or all of their university tuition. For international students, it’s also an opportunity to live in the United States while attending university and experience life in another country.
At its core, sports recruiting means a coach or coach’s assistant knows about an athlete and wants to learn more to see if they would be a good fit for their team. This usually means the coach sees something in the athlete that would add value to their team, something like athletic skills, leadership or drive to get better. They can also assess athletes at a young age for potential to grow into a particular role. Coaches also know which current athletes will be graduating and leaving their team, so they start seeking out new athletes years in advance to fill positions that will be left vacant.
For athletes, the recruiting process means they get themselves out there and visible so coaches can decide whether or not they want to pursue them. The ultimate goal of athletes is to get a coach interested enough that they make contact with the athlete and want to learn more. Once contact happens, the athlete can show the coach their determination and desire to play at the collegiate level. None of this can happen, however, if the coach never knows about the athlete in the first place.
Getting a coach to know about an athlete and ultimately make contact can happen in a few different ways.
The athlete or parents can reach out directly and hope the coach notices them amidst the many other athletes doing the same thing.
The coach might see the athlete playing in a game. This happens less and less in the recruiting world of today due to time constraints and budgets for coaches.
The athlete can also use a recruiting service that works closely with coaches to get them the athletes they are looking for.
Athletes have successfully been recruited all three ways, but using a recruiting service that has existing relationships with coaches is usually the most effective and realistic way to find the most opportunities.
Having more than one opportunity can be important too, since playing sports is only one aspect of attending university. In addition to playing sports, student-athletes are attending college with the ultimate goal of earning a degree. Having multiple opportunities and multiple coaches interested in having you join their team allows you the freedom to pick the school that best fits your other needs, such as your area of study, where the school is located and what scholarships they can offer you. The variables may differ per individual, but the bottom line is recruiting for the student-athlete needs to yield enough opportunities to choose from.
The college sports recruiting process can be long, confusing and even frustrating, but having somebody on your side who knows the process inside and out can make attaining the dream of playing sports in the United States a much more enjoyable and successful experience for everyone involved.