Playing college level sports is a dream for many high school athletes.  But, getting on a team can be just as hard as the games you will play.  Follow these guidelines below to position yourself as well as possible during the recruiting process,

Searching for a Team

You need to take a cold, hard look at your stats.  Playing football at a Big 10 school is a dream for varsity quarterbacks across the country.  But, frankly, that isn’t realistic for the vast majority of them.  You should reach for the stars, but you must have a set of back-ups if plan A (or even plan B) doesn’t pan out.  You want to contact as coaches many as possible as early as your Junior year.  Find between 20 and 30 programs which you could feasibly join.  Then break down list into three categories: safeties, matches and reaches.

Build a Portfolio and Contact Coaches

When you send an email to a potential coach, you must attach two items.  The first is a detailed resume with an in-depth look at your stats.  The second is a skills tape which shows mastery and in-game highlights.  You shouldn’t send the same generic email to every coach, do some research into what makes each program unique.   Additionally, persistence is key.  If a coach doesn’t respond to your initial email, give them a call after a week or two.  When a coach does reply to you, make sure to get back to them as soon as possible.

Lastly, respond to everything that every coach sends you.  Even if a school isn’t on your list, you never know where your journey will take you.  Having options is better than not having them.  Additionally, an effective way to increase a school’s aid package is by showing them competing ones from other universities.

Attend Camps and Showcases

The unfortunate reality of camps and showcases is that coach rarely “discover” players there.  Most of the time, they’re there to scout players with whom they’ve already been in contact.  You should send a note to every coach whom you’re talking to about upcoming camps and showcases you will be attending.  Make sure to follow up with every coach that speaks to you.  Casting as wide a net as possible is imperative when you’re trying to be a college athlete.

Don’t Neglect Your Academics

You want to make the best impression on coaches possible.  Obviously, a lot of that will come down to your success on the field.  But your academics show talent as well.  Coaches don’t just want someone who can hit 85% of their free throws; they want someone who has shown leadership in every aspect of their life.  You won’t be playing sports forever, so make sure that you pick a program which fulfills your needs for athletic, personal and academic development.

There will be setbacks and triumphs along the way, but following these suggestions will streamline your attempt to play college sports.  Work hard on and off the field, and it will pay off in the end.