As college scouts, we interview a lot of high school prospects. Whether a senior facing the final months of their prep careers or seventh graders about to enter the recruiting fray, one question consistently pops up: Will my coach help me? Good question. We seldom see these coaches refusing to help athletes and their families, but they are severely limited in what they can do to help promote athletes to college coaches.
Most all coaches in the high school and club realm will assist in any way they can. But going down that road with one athlete often means, and they know this, that they have to do the same for most, if not all, of their other athletes. And that presents problems – three major issues coaches face about which families frequently overlook or are woefully uninformed.
First on the high school level, with the rare exception of private schools, coaches’ contracts do not include a provision requiring them to either make calls to college coaches on the behalf of their athletes or to widely promote their athletes to college programs through direct mailings. In nearly every situation, a high school coach is hired and assigned to teach, coach, watch over their team and run the program within the standards set by their schools. These responsibilities take up an inordinate amount of time. In fact, in a study we conducted at NSR several years ago, a high school coach typically spends 70+ hours per week on his or her teaching and coaching duties. In short, there is no time to promote their athletes. Another key point: few high school coaches know more than a handful of college coaches. Why? College coaches no longer scout high school events, nor do they depend on prep-level coaches for info on prospects. So, communications between high school and college coaches has all but dissipated over the past ten years. Finally, getting the right info to coaches, that is, the info they need to quickly assess whether or not they want to explore an athlete’s qualifications is something most high school coaches generally have no idea of how to organize and compile. Simply stated, it’s not what they do and they cannot reasonably be expected to be proficient at it.
it gives families a false sense of security which leads them to relax their own efforts to connect with colleges. Consequently, as the days and months go on and their athlete does not get the attention from college coaches, it puts families in a race to catch up with other prospects. In most cases. it’s a matter of too little too late.
That said, there are top-tier club organizations that do have a large percent of their athletes getting scholarship offers. However, in truth, that has more to do with the organization’s reputation for selecting top talent than through their promotional activities. College coaches have learned to gravitate to them without the benefit of pre-event promos, and the clubs in that category benefit from the exposure.
That, of course, leaves all the other athletes from lesser known organizations. What are these athletes to do? How can they get noticed, evaluated and recruited? There is an answer – one which history shows year in and year out gets over 90 percent of engaged athletes recruited. Consistent. Proven. Professional. www.nsr-inc.com.
We hear it everywhere we go: “I want to play college sports.” That’s a worthwhile goal to be sure, but high school athletes and their parents must come to the realization that saying it does not make it happen. Competition for a college roster spot is more than local, regional or even national. It is now international. To land a scholarship offer, planning and preparation are essential, requiring near full-time focus and effort.
Gone is the day when prep athletes could rely on their reputation, a newspaper or online feature article or being selected to an All-Conference, All-Region or All-State team. In today’s recruiting environment, those things and honors are all but given prerequisites for any viable college prospect. Instead, getting recruited has become a detailed process which dictates club or travel participation coupled with an aggressive, wide-reaching, constant marketing campaign.
Planning is the first step. Parents and prospects should take deliberate steps to enter and compete in what is rightly described as the recruiting war. College coaches are inundated with info, but it is the info that has a realistic chance to reach them and their assistants that matters. Heart-felt letters aren’t enough. One-time mailings aren’t enough. Knowing a single, program insider isn’t enough, either. No, to make this dream come true a much deeper commitment to connecting with as many college coaches as possible is the answer. Very few travel and club organizations have the wherewithal to make that happen. And fewer high school coaches can connect the dots. Moreover, parents that are Internet savvy are more likely to hurt their athlete’s chances than help them.
Instead, parents should explore other options that will more effectively and efficiently bridge the gap between their athlete and college coaches. Those bridges are out there, but identifying them is another thing. Some are little more than online page hosts that do little or no marketing to coaches. An overwhelming majority of coaches do not recruit from these sites. Other sites are mere telemarketing entities whose primary objective is to create a revenue stream. Their Web sites are attractive, but they consistently fail to market athletes to schools they really need to reach. That said, there are a select few scouting and recruiting companies that do the athletes justice by promoting them aggressive both online and via other targeted methods while providing them with personalized service through legitimate local scouts. Anything less than that is a scam by any other name.
Preparation is the second step. Once aligned with a reputable scouting/recruiting company, parents and prospects must prepare to snare any opportunities which come their way. Do accomplish this, parents should be ready to make multiple college campus visits before the recruiting process formally starts. Giving their athlete on-campus experiences and tours allows the athlete to cross off the things which fail to meet their wants and needs. Online campus tours cannot provide this experience. It has to be done in person and without the influence of a coaching staff, at least at first. Seeing the campus, stepping into classrooms, eating in the dining hall, walking through the athletic facilities all create a feel for the environment which is invaluable to the athlete. Visiting small, medium and large sized campuses, then, is an essential part of the preparation process.
On the athlete’s side, being in top condition year round is crucial. Every college athlete will confess to the surprising amount of conditioning they are required to engage in during their college careers. Early morning workouts, afternoon individual sessions, long practices and intense games are all integral parts of the college athletic experience. The sooner a high school athlete prepares for the physical and mental demands of being part of a college team the sooner they will get what will be demanded of them and decide if it is all worth the work they will have to do. Getting into a routine similar to the grueling college schedule is the very best way to prepare. And it gives college coaches the opportunity to see an athlete’s commitment level, competitive drive and work ethic which are all traits which separate scholarship winners from those so often passed over and ignored.
Being a college student-athlete carries a lot of responsibilities. Representing a college, its students and every alumnus that has ever received a degree from that institution is indeed a big deal. But to get to that vaulted point, there is much work to be done. If parents plan well and athletes prepare equally as well, it can become a reality.
February 5th, Wednesday, will be a wild one in college recruiting. That’s the day most high profile football seniors will be inking their letters of intent with big time programs. But remember, please, that the actual signing period goes all the way to April 1, so there will still be a lot of pens touching paper after all the flashes subside and ESPN has returned to their next big thing.
NCAA DI programs will be finished, for the most part by week’s end, but a majority of high school seniors will not sign until afterward. That’s when lower level DI, DII, DIII, NAIA and JUCO programs will do their best to solidify their 2014-15 freshmen classes. And lest we lose sight of the importance of all this, let’s for a moment redirect our focus on the fact that the futures and lives of far more athletes will be decided from February 13th through April 1 than during this one-week of frenzy.
There is a myth that college programs below the DI level wait to see which athletes didn’t get the high-DI offers they had hoped to receive. That simple is untrue. Every college football program in the country is busy year round recruiting the athletes they believe will provide them with stability and improvement. To get their allotment of players, they are in touch two-, three-times that number of athletes. They have cast a wide net over these youngsters knowing that some will commit and sign while other will not. It’s a numbers game, start to finish. And every program includes a large list of bubble athletes that are skilled enough to play at the next level. Again, some will come, some will not. But rest assured, when they learn of athletes on their list which have decided to go elsewhere, they move on to the next one. There is no time to mope. They have to move and move quickly to secure their optimal signing class.
That process takes time. Connecting with all their white-board athletes is their first priority. Those that choose other schools come off the board immediately and are replaced with the next athletes on their recruiting depth chart and it’s on to them. And that is why so many athletes sign later than others. It isn’t because these players are less qualified or deserving. It’s because they happen to be down farther on the list.
For these athletes and their families, it is excruciating watching all the others sign. But that is the process. It is the way recruiting works. Our best advice? Stay in touch with the coaches interested in you beyond the Dead Period. Continue to express your interest. In the end, a coach’s call may be determined by the player that sincerely wants to come to school there and play for that coach.
The spotlight always shines on our sports stars. This coming weekend’s Super Bowl and the hype surrounding it personifies the way Americans go about deifying those at the top. But a closer view of the athletes in support roles at every level of athletics makes us realize that they are the ones providing the infrastructure on which stars rely.
High school sports is no different from the pros. Headlines home in on the upper crust, the athletes that get the attention and credit for victories and winning seasons. Yet, without the effort and dedication of mid-level athletes, where would the upper echelon find themselves? Day after day the also-rans show up for practice, work diligently under the radar, and do their invaluable part to support those that bask in the bright lights of stardom.
At NSR, we believe it is those athletes that will never be featured in online profiles, nor see their pictures prominently placed in articles, that deserve our admiration in equal measure. Yet, they are too often ignored and their contributions overlooked. Take the second and third team athletes out of the equation and what remains is no foundation or podium on which the stars may stand. These unheralded athletes give far more than they can ever expect to receive in return. They miss as many classes, show up every day, sit in on team meetings, learn the plays, give 100 percent, take the hard licks, go home with bruises and hear all the pre-game and halftime speeches as the first-teamers. Yet, they simply aren’t appreciated or given their due respect. It’s a sad, but true, commentary which we at NSR have worked for 34 years to correct.
You see, these athletes have dreams, too. Many of them want to have the same opportunity to play at the next level. And, surprisingly to some, they actually can be college athletes. They may not have the abilities to play at the highest level, but they do have the skills, grades, character and family support which college coaches treasure. We believe that they deserve their shot at the gold ring. That’s why nearly 75 percent of all NSR athletes go on to compete at the NCAA DII, DIII, NAIA and JUCO levels. And that’s the reason that when we scout high school, club or travel teams that our scouts don’t merely attend contests to admire the stars, but to find those athletes that make the stars look great.
NCAA members could have packed their bags last Wednesday afternoon and the Association’s national conclave would have been considered a major success after just one day of meetings. By agreeing to permit Division I coaches in designated sports* to begin making initial contact with high school juniors on September 1, a full ten months sooner than was previously allowed, college recruiting’s gatekeeper has relented from its long-held position of shielding prep student-athletes from the recruiting fray. But in doing so, the NCAA has come to the realization that it can no longer hide from technology, advanced communications and media criticism.
Make no mistake, there will be a serious ripple effect from this rule change which will impact hundreds of thousands of young athletes across America and around the globe. Basically, the new contact date means that the recruiting process will be pushed up an entire year, making juniors fair game. The old rule protected juniors to a degree from head-on collisions with DI coaches. The NCAA’s prevailing opinion was that it wanted to have a hand in preserving the high school experience for student-athletes for as long as possible. However, the almost universal use of social media and cell phone texting eventually painted the NCAA into a proverbial corner. For several years, they have been looked down upon as antiquated and stubborn beyond reason in their stance. Hardly a day passed by when they weren’t being dragged through the mud on talk radio and other sports outlets for their seemingly indifference to modern times. But by testing the influence of an earlier contact date via Division II coaches this past year, and finding that no substantial harm resulted, Division I finally laid down their arms and surrendered.
The ripple effect will also be felt in the sophomore class. They will now be squarely in coaches’ cross-hairs. Division I coaches will be on them. DII coaches will ramp up their efforts because of the additional competition.
And for juniors as this New Age of Recruiting is ushered in? They will be inundated as has no junior class in history. For those prepared, it will be a joy ride, but it will be a very long joy ride. For the ill-prepared, it could be more a curse than blessing. Either way, the next calendar year will be at the very least interesting.
* Volleyball, softball, baseball, field hockey, wrestling, tennis, golf, lacrosse, water polo, rowing, women’s ice hockey and soccer.
We are three weeks away from the only football signing period the NCAA has for the class of 2014, February 5 through April 1. With no fall early signing period permitted, Division I and II football programs are busy solidifying their verbal commitments, soothing nervous recruits and parents, fending off encroachments from other programs on those same commitments, conducting their own back-door recruiting, and all this while running scenarios of every conceivable outcome. It is tension at its highest as the future, that is the success or failure, of every NCAA DI and DII program in the nation hangs in the balance.
That tension and win-lose proposition leads us to conclude that the NCAA should give serious consideration to adding an early signing period for college football’s top two divisions. With recruiting now starting as early as the seventh grade, we know that the stress and pressure which gradually builds for the athletes, their families and college coaches can be alleviated to some degree with the addition of a fall signing period. Yes, there is the risk that an athlete will be injured during the final few weeks of a high school football season, but that is the risk every coach, we think, is willing to take if they can put some of the brouhaha behind them as has been the case with basketball for years. Granted, not all recruits will want to sign early, but those that do should be provided that option.
Auburn University starting fullback, Jay Prosch, will be on the field tonight as the Tigers attempt to take down the Florida State Seminoles in the BCS Championship Game. Prosch, called by FOX Sports the “Auburn Blocker of Granite,” was an NSR enrollee with Robert and Susan Cagle.
Out of Mobile, AL, Prosch has a heart wrenching story which started after his freshman year of playing for head coach Ron Zook at the University of Illinois in the fall of 2010. The NCAA and Illinois worked together to allow him to transfer to Auburn without penalty so that he could be nearer his mother who had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Jay’s is a courageous and inspiring story, to say the least. As you watch the game tonight, be proud that NSR is associated with this great young man.
Whether you will be pulling for FSU or Auburn, you still have to be rooting for Jay Prosch.
A collective deep breath is being taken across the nation as the NCAA prepares for their upcoming national meeting. This year’s conclave takes place in San Diego, Calif., January 15-18. All three divisions will meet to discuss and vote on new legislation, including changes to current recruiting rules.
NCAA membership convene annually in January to reaffirm some recently adopted rules while creating new ones in reaction to the needs of their respective divisions. Naturally, most of the attention will be given to what comes out of Division I meetings, but it is not uncommon for groundbreaking legislation to emerge from Division II and III. For instance, last year DII member institutions agreed to allow all their coaches to begin making in-person contact with high school prospects a full year earlier than was previously permitted. They, along with DI men’s basketball coaches, are the only groups allowed to take this historic step.*
Regardless of the modifications and from which division they are brought forward, new regulations will have a profound impact on coaches, athletes, administrators and parents at nearly all levels of competition and education. However, misinterpretation and misinformation are often problems as the news filters by word of mouth from unreliable sources through the layers of interested parties. So, what is a family to do?
There are dependable sources, but families have to search them out. College compliance officers are one. High school guidance counselors are not. College scouts, like those representing National Scouting Report (NSR), that work year round in the business of recruiting can offer up-to-date information. Club and travel organizations (typically) do not.
But there are two certainties in all this: First, NCAA rules changes will happen this month. Second, parents and prospects should be prepared to learn of these changes from trusted sources.
*NCAA DI football coaches are permitted limited contact with high school juniors.
When high school prospects and their parents go in search of assistance with recruiting, there are today a plethora of options. But we assert that no option matches the needs of families like National Scouting Report, or more widely known as NSR. But, why is that true?
Families typically want two assurances. First, that they will work with a person that personally knows them and especially their athlete. Second, they want effectiveness. NSR offers both, without reservation.
At NSR, our scouts are real scouts. We constantly train them on the fundamentals of scouting, how to help our student-athlete-client families succeed in recruiting, which recruiting rules and developments in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA have the most impact on our clients, and how to best identify the client-families which meet our high standards. This is not an easy process which we undertake. If that were so, every so-called scouting organization would be doing it. Instead, it takes focus and a high degree of analysis, education and implementation. Examine other companies closely and you will uncover that they do not take the tough road to your success. In fishing, you have heard of the catch-and-release method? Simplified, that is what far too many scouting companies do.
A quick glance at the NSR athlete roster proves this. We do not accept everyone. Our personally selected athletes must rise to a higher level of skill, academic competence, character and family support than the average high-school athlete. They must first be capable of playing at some level of college competition. They must have a keen desire to play in college. They must demonstrate an uncommon dedication to maintaining solid grades and test scores. And, we must see a history of emotional and financial support from their families.
Why are these criteria so important? Because 34 years of working with college coaches clearly tells us that those are the qualities a large majority of coaches search for when recruiting athletes for their programs. That means that the odds are heavily stacked in the favor of every NSR prospect when it comes to being evaluated and recruited.
At NSR, it is our belief that only through personal contact between an athlete, family and scout can these objectives be met. And by personal, we do not mean via the telephone. It would be generous to even refer to that method as remote scouting. Plainly, we are not an open-enrollment company that will take the hard-earned money of just any willing family and post their info online with promises of getting recruited. Nor are we a telemarketing juggernaut with rooms full of “scouts” whose prime purpose is to lure (there’s that fishing reference, again) potential clients with recruiting promises without ever having personally scouted the athlete or, for that matter, having met them, watched them on film or worse yet verified their profile info.
That said, at NSR we are human, not automated minions, so we are not perfect. We do our best, but like any human-related endeavor, we will occasionally trip. However, it is our full and sincere intention to offer each of our prospects one-on-one service from a personal scout, extraordinary marketing, and exceptional results. Our collective goal? To raise our client-athletes above the fray, which is what the modern recruiting process has become, through methods which are time-honored and respected by college coaches. We know what works for both the aspiring athlete and the coaches wanting to discover them. We know because we have more experience in the field than any other scouting organization in America, or around the globe, in fact. We know because we could not have excelled in the business of recruiting if our methods and our hearts were not in the right place.
Look around closely enough and you will notice that loads of high school senior athletes and their parents are beginning to panic, the worry visible on their expressions, because their recruiting Plan A isn’t working. It’s a natural, if not altogether pitiful, sight that we see every year at this time. Six months to go and not just no offers, but no significant connections with college coaches. Juniors need not repeat this painful experience. By following a few simple directions, you can avoid this historically slippery slope.
The first thing that should be apparent is that you have to find a way to really be in the recruiting mix, not just on the periphery by being on a club team or making All-Conference. You have to stand out like a bright light in the dark. If there is no light on you, then college coaches don’t know about you and they cannot conceivably recruit you. Job One? Find a viable way for as many college coaches as possible to learn about you and your unique qualifications. Taking this step is essential and without it, your hopes and dreams will disappear. It’s really as simple as that.Second, realize that you do not have to be an accomplished, high-profile athlete for college coaches to recruit you. Solid athletic performance over time, good to excellent grades, a keen desire to play at the next level and a supportive family are the ingredients every coach wants in a potential recruit. With those in hand, there is a place for you in college athletics.
Third, high school and club coaches are limited in the scope of their reach and few have the time or expertise to promote you properly to college coaches. Year after year that has proved to be true. In the end, you have two choices: do it yourself or enlist a service with a history of success in marketing and placing high school athletes. The first is difficult at best. Putting together a profile package for coaches which will attract their interest is typically problematic because most parents are unaware of what coaches need to see. And then, of course, there’s the issue of coaches receiving info from parents. Most of these mailings end up in a corner pile in their office or computer, never to be read or taken seriously. Moreover, like with high school and club coaches, a family’s reach is severely limited and the time required to get your info in the hands of a multitude of coaches also has its high hurdles. Few families succeed.
Fourth, services are the most efficient and productive path, that is if the service possesses two key features: a broad and targeted promotional strategy in place, and a scout that knows you well and has the ability and knowhow to represent you to college coaches. Few organizations offer both benefits. Most today are online companies which post info on a Web site and conduct cursory and sporadic promo efforts, if any at all. Look for a scouting service that covers the complete gamut of marketing and personalized service.
Once you choose a service that bets fits your needs, then you have a reasonable chance to work the recruiting system to your advantage. With a complete marketing plan and scout by your side, you can begin to do the things which can make a genuinel difference in your future such as taking unofficial visits, communicating regularly with coaches, attending their camps, and most importantly, developing solid relationships with coaches so that in the end you will have choices of colleges to attend.
- High school coaches and club organizations can help athletes with recruiting, but they are limited in their effectiveness
- High school athletes wanting to play college sports need planning and preparation
- Football signing period is a much longer haul than Day One for high school seniors
- NSR salutes the second-tier athletes that create the foundation for more talented athletes to garner the attention and praise
- New NCAA rule loosens initial contact restriction for DI coaches in some sports
- aisha frye on Summer offers high school prospects opportunities to shine on big stages
- christopher Lewis on NSR Female AOD: Savannah Irwin, 6’5″ post player from La Costa Canyon High, California with a 3.8 GPA
- Sharon Conrad on Kelly Horrell, 2012 Golfer from Nevada, Female Athlete of the Day
- Luis Alicea on NSR Male AOD: Evan Engelhardt, 6’3″ lefty hurler from Westview High, California, carries a 4.17 GPA
- edward cervantes on College coach asks: There are too many ineffective scouting services, so why should I use NSR?
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