Recruiting: The 2 Biggest Mistakes High School Athletes and Parents Make
Maximizing Your Exposure during the Recruiting Process
myHitNews is a free non-subscriber based website that has been providing coverage about the top athletes in Nebraska and the Heartland since April of 2008. During that span we have seen steady growth in users and have even recently begun to sponsor new affiliate sites. I greatly appreciate all of the support from those who have followed our coverage.
Our mission at myHitNews (as posted on our About Page) is this:
myHitNews.com’s mission is to recognize and to promote Nebraska and the region’s Heartland student/athletes, coaches, and school and sport administrators who excel at their chosen endeavors, and to prod, poke, inspire, motivate, and to sometimes chastise these aforementioned entities into achieving to the best of their abilities. Through our efforts, we hope that we can contribute to helping Nebraska athletes in all sports to effectively compete amongst the nation’s best.
I do this because I love it! Ever since the time I was a little five-years-old boy, traveling the country and working alongside my father handing up spit buckets to his fighters during boxing matches, I have been immensely intrigued by an athlete’s pursuit of victory. I became a pretty good all-around athlete myself—a blue chipper—they use to call them back in those days. I also went on to coach at the highest level of amateur boxing.
I’ve been through the recruiting process as a high school football player and had a son that was a prospect too. In addition, for the past three years, I have been intently publishing articles and producing videos about high school and college athletes. Am I an expert? No. But I do believe that I’m pretty knowledgeable on the subjects of athletes and recruiting and I’m working diligently to become better.
I mentioned all the above, because of my frustration over seeing so many quality athletes not receiving the recognition they should because they fail to take advantage of all the opportunities at their disposal to gain exposure. Based on my experiences, the major reasons why athletes and their parents fail to properly “work the system” during the recruiting process is their ignorance in regards to understanding what they should be doing to improve their chances and knowing when the recruiting process really begins. Hopefully, the following may help those of you that may need some guidance:
The 2 Biggest Mistakes Athletes and Parents Make During the Recruiting Process
1. Relying solely on a high school coach to promote you is the No.1 biggest mistake made by athletes and their parents/guardians.
Nowhere in a high school head coach’s job description does it say that they are responsible for promoting an athlete to colleges in any form or fashion. Besides, the truth of the matter is that some coaches are simply better at promoting their players than others. That’s because some coaches sincerely believe that it is part of their responsibility to do everything within their power to help an athlete get to the next level. Moreover, some coaches have better success promoting their players because they are more respected and/or have better clout and/or have more college connections than others. Athletes who fail to understand this important concept will dramatically limit their chances of being recruited.
To give you an example of what I am saying: some high school football coaches do not even begin to promote their athletes until their senior year. I’ve even had a high school head coach personally tell me so.
2. Athletes and parents do not start promoting an athlete early enough.
Again, relying on a high school coach to still be able to do all the things necessary to properly promote you is problematic when the coach has to worry about 100 other kids, coaching, teaching, and giving attention to his family.
Colleges and recruiting ranking services (like Rivals) start recognizing prospects as soon as they become aware of them. In football the NCAA allows colleges to start officially offering scholarships at the beginning of a high school prospect’s junior year. In basketball there is no time restriction as to when a college can begin offering a scholarship—you can be in middle school and be offered! So knowing these facts—why would you wait until your senior year before you start promoting your abilities?
The recruiting process in football starts the minute you put on a varsity uniform and begin to play.
An athlete along with the support of his parents and or guardians can significantly increase their chances of being recruited and receiving a scholarship by taking early advantage of all available resources.
Should I Pay a Recruiting Service to Promote My Son?
I have been asked by parents whether or not they should pay a recruiting service to promote their son, my answer: It’s your money but it is not necessary nor do I recommend any of them—especially considering the outrageous prices they charge in lieu of their services. Outside of buying proper apparel, equipment, and training the only expenditures you should need to make are for camp visits, team dues and good quality highlight videos–all of which I highly encourage.
Apparel Equipment and Training
Invest in the best apparel, equipment and training strategies and/or offseason training camps that you can afford. The earlier you start the better off you will be. And remember that when you are competing for scholarships you are not only competing against the kid next to you or even in your state—you’re competing against the nation’s very best in your sport. Study what the best in the nation do by watching their videos and training alongside them. Offseasontrainingcamps are also a great way to increase your network of supporters. If you live in the Omaha area Warren Academy is a great resource.
Budget your money and schedule your time for college camps. The sooner you start going to these camps the sooner you will start to build relationships with college coaches and learning what the competition can do and what is expected of you at the next level. I strongly encourage an athlete to start attending college camps at the end of their sophomore year.
I’d have a significant amount of money right now if I got a dollar for every time an athlete, coach, parent and or friend, has spoken or written to me and said “why no ranking,” or “why no recognition”? or “this athlete is better than that one.” Yet at the same time—no one else is saying anything about them nor have they produced and distributed a highlight video!
Unless you are an elite 4 or 5 star prospect or are already a highly recognized and productive varsity athlete—if you do not have a highlight video, you’re fighting an uphill battle to get someone to recognize you and/or to write something about you let alone put you on any ranking list.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR SENIOR YEAR TO MAKE YOUR HIGHLIGHT VIDEO!!!
The first thing a college coach wants to see to determine if you can play at the next level is your film. More and more colleges are requesting to see highlight videos. If they like what they see they will look at your game film.
You can have a coach, family member or friend make your highlight video. You can also have a quality affordable highlight video produced by our sponsor Hithighligts.com or some other professional service. But whatever you decide–get one made as soon as possible! If you play significant minutes of varsity football as a freshman–make a highlight video and distribute it properly.
Distributing Your Video
I strongly recommend posting your video to You Tube. Why YouTube? It’s the No. 1 video depository in the world and it has one of the highest Google rankings on the Internet. Google owns YouTube. Google loves YouTube! By leaps and bounds–Google is the No. 1 used search engine in the world. Therefore, anyone can easily find and access your video for free and bloggers and other sports websites like myHitNews can embed your video on their sites. Also you can try to submit your video to Rivals.com or one of the other national recruiting services, but they will not post it unless you are considered one of the top recruits in your state.
Therefore, distribute your highlight video to as many free sources as you can. myHitNews.com is one of those free sources that you can use to distribute your video. We do not care if Hit Highlights made your video or if it’s made by another company or you make it yourself, or even if you are not considered a top high school prospect–we will post it on our site.
Here is the kicker: What’s even better about submitting your video to myHitNews is that if you are “under the radar” and we like what we see—we will not only post your video–we will also produce a feature article about you. That’s more free exposure! So when someone googles your name—your video and maybe even a myHitNews article about you has a high probability of showing up on the first page.
About our Top 25 Rankings and Final Phase of the College Recruiting Cycle
The Top 25 rankings that we provide on myHitNewsareonlygaugesofanathlete’s abilities to play at the next level relative to other athletes in the country and from within Nebraska.
Here is how the players are ranked:Research–scouring the internet for references on prospects, reading newspapers and what Rivals, Maxpreps, Scouts.com and ESPN havetosay, listening to what my contacts and affiliates say, watching live events, investigating tips from readers and—watching a lot of video.
NOTE: the first thing I said above was “scouring the Internet for references on prospects.” Know this: Rivals staff and other recruiting and sports media outlets staffs do the same thing—they come to myHitNews looking for tidbits of information just like I go to their sites and do the same. Everybody wants to know what the other bloggers and websites are saying. That’s how this industry works!
I’m stressing this because college coaches, their out-staff spotters; friends and fans also scour the Internet for additional information on potential prospects as well. So if you are “under the radar” maybe you can see how having your name, video, or even an article about you on myHitNews or anywhere else on the Internet has the potential to increase your exposure.
We provide four different rankings per class year in football, because recruiting is a very fluid process. However, the most important thing to remember is that just because an athlete is not listed in the Top 25 or he is ranked lower than another does not mean that we think he cannot play college football or is not better than someone else above them. On the contrary, if you follow a particular class year ranking from the beginning to end you will notice drastic changes. Our Final class year rankings are more indicative of who the colleges believe are the best prospects in the state for that year.
Right now no one knows for sure which prospects will receive the remaining available scholarships–not even Rivals or the colleges themselves. Colleges will not seriously begin to finalize the 2011 recruiting class until after their regular seasons are completed. The D-1A schools only have a few slots left, but the D-1AA’s and the D-2 schools still have plenty of paper to hand out. The colleges are the final judges of our Top 25 ranking. And you can bet the house that there will be athletes not currently listed in our Top 25 who will end up receiving D-1AA and D-2 offers—it wouldn’t shock me to even see a D-1A offer come from that bunch.
So please don’t get too caught up in our rankings, but definitely continue to do everything within your power to promote yourself during this critical stage of the recruiting process.
Our number one goal at myHitNews is to promote every worthy athlete once we become aware of them. And the State of Nebraska possesses one of the nation’s highest per capita rates of quality high school athletes. Unfortunately, Nebraska high school football players in particular do not get a fair look during the recruiting process mainly because everyone suspects that any top recruit in this state will go to Nebraska anyway–so why really bother. Although in the future you can look for the Huskers’ move to the Big Ten to alter the recruiting map in Nebraska for the better.
I will have more on that in a future post.
Additional Recruiting Resources
Our National affiliate site Sports Highlights USA is in the process of compiling a complete listing of college coach contact information: address, phone fax, email and college website links: Check out what we have so far at : College Football Coach Contacts.
June 26, 2011 @ 10:08 pm
My daughter just got back for a volleyball camp at Kansas Weslayn and the coach liked her so much that he offered her a scholarship to play there. She will be a senior this year and she seems to really like this school but I feel that she may be jumping too soon. I wish that more colleges were showing an interest in her. How can I get her to be more reconized to other colleges? Should she wait to decide after her senior year is done since the coach told her that he likes to get his recurits by the end of summer.