Should ninth, eighth and even seventh graders tap into the powerful promotional machine that is National Scouting Report? Absolutely. Why? It’s simple, really. Name recognition is invaluable at those young ages.
College coaches in every sport attend camps, tournaments, combines and showcases. It’s the accepted way of evaluating as much talent as possible in one place. And when coaches enter the doors or gates, they first pour over rosters looking for the prospects they came there to see, the athletes on their white boards.
In that process, they will roll through hundreds of names. When a prospect’s name is recognizable to them, even if that athlete is not on their to-see list, it is natural for them to pause and say to themselves, “I’ve seen this kid’s name before,” and it is possible, if not likely, that they will at least give them a quick or even extended look-see if the athlete is indeed promising.
That points to the need for young prospects to start early and through NSR they can do this by frequently putting their names in front of every college program in their sport across America. It’s name branding, actually, and it works, giving those that do take the early step a clear advantage over those that choose to sit it out and hope they are discovered. Which, by the way, seldom happens.
The Summer of 2013 will be filled with camps, tournaments and other events for high school prospects to put all their talents on display for college coaches. Regardless of age, this is a time to shine on some of the biggest stages.
Summer camps on college campuses are set up for coaches to supplement their income, yes, but they are also where they first set eyes on future recruits and start the all-important relationship building process. Coaches will of course be looking for skilled athletes, but arguably just as important are the work ethic and attitude of the athletes. A camper can have really good talent, but a poor attitude can spell the end to their hopes of being noticed and recruited. On the other hand, a youngster with marginal-to-above-average talent that demonstrates a keen desire to learn, the ability to quickly duplicate what they’ve been taught while demonstrating gritty determination can stand out in the crowd.
Club and travel tournaments have grown to overwhelming numbers, but when the door opens and a coach walks through, prospects need to make their presence known by hustling and working harder than anyone else competing. Coaches notice this and they take note when athletes don’t take plays off.
As an overview, the odds are against high school athletes in today’s recruiting model. There are just too many athletes for the few available scholarship or roster spots. But, when opportunities present themselves, athletes should be prepared to act and shine through that narrow window from which college coaches will be viewing them.
Back-to-back no-hitters for senior Katie Lang
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: NSR softball prospect, Katie Lang, New Berlin Eisenhower. After sharing the No. 1 role the past two seasons, the senior is the Lions’ clear-cut go-to pitcher this year. “This is her time,” Eisenhower coach Jeff Setz said. Last week Lang made four starts and tossed back-to-back no-hitters in victories over Brown Deer and Pewaukee. She struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced in a 12-0 victory over Brown Deer Wednesday and 11 in an 8-0 win over Pewaukee Thursday. Those performances came on the heels of 15 strikeouts Monday when Eisenhower got past Kettle Moraine, 7-1. The South Dakota State recruit capped the week by allowing just one run in a 2-1 victory over Menomonee Falls in the first round of the Germantown Invitational.
ON A TEAR: The impact of NSR prospect catcher Carly Sobrilsky’s big bat and experience behind the plate shouldn’t be underestimated. The senior, who hit .600 last year, is hitting .579 (11 for 19) with 10 RBI. Twice she hit home runs to give her team the lead in a 3-2 victory Thursday over Menomonee Falls, the preseason Greater Metro favorite. And defensively, she is flourishing with the added responsibility.
“Carly does all the pitch calls and does a great job moving around behind the plate,” Central coach Doug Lange said.
Here’s the problem – too much info from unreliable sources. In college, athletic recruiting, hearsay is the bane of many families wanting desperately to get their athlete in a good position to be seen and recruited by college coaches. What they hear on the tube is often watered down and only applicable to the highest level of NCAA athletics. But the recruiting rules that relate to the “blue chip” athletes do not always, and usually don’t, apply to athletes that will be recruited to play in Division II or III.
So, where can a family get reliable info? Experts, of course, but there are so many talking heads out there, many of whom are more interested in hearing themselves talk than giving accurate info, which ones can families really depend upon to be spot-on with their advice?
Go to people that work in recruiting full time. Dabblers don’t count, so steer clear of anyone that seems to know a little, but can’t give you the details which make a real difference. When you are doing this vital due diligence, ask these questions and the person with a true grasp of recruiting will surface:
- When can NCAA coaches start evaluating my athlete? What about NAIA and NJCAA coaches, too?
- When can NCAA coaches make first contact with my athlete? (NAIA and NJCAA?)
- What is the NCAA Eligibility Center, when does my athlete register and why do they need to do this?
- Do the NAIA and NJCAA having eligibility centers too?
- When does the recruiting process begin for my athlete?
- When can my athlete get an offer from a college coach?
- What are the differences between NCAA DI, DII and DIII?
A real recruiting expert will be able to explain all this to you. A pretender will fumble around without giving details. That’s when you will know who you can and should trust to give you the guidance you will need to successfully navigate the often rough waters of the highly competitive world of college recruiting.
The key to being recruited to play college athletics is building strong, positive relationships with coaching staffs. Sounds simple, right? But in reality, it’s tough to do.
Why is it tough? Because you first have to be identified. And sending an email or a profile package to a college coach isn’t enough to get the job done. A high school prospect in today’s recruiting environment has to do more. Much more.
Like winning a tough game, match or meet, recruits have to constantly be on the attack by calculating aggressive, offensive tactics and then executing them to perfection. The trouble with most high school recruits and their families is that they believe that college coaches will make all the moves to connect with them and begin the essential phase of building a relationship with them. It simply doesn’t work that way.
High school prospects are equipped with the tools to reach coaches, yes, but they must understand that until they really connect with a college coaching staff on a personal level through emails, phone calls and campus visits, they will never get on a staff’s white board. And with thousands upon thousands of prospects available to college coaches, it’s the ones that take the process to the next, necessary level that get the attention.
- Register with the NCAA and NAIA Initial Eligibility Centers: If you want to play NCAA DI and DII as well as any level of NAIA athletics, you must register with their clearinghouses before college coaches will seriously consider you for a scholarship and roster spot.
- Take the SAT or ACT: If you have not already taken one of these key tests, register today to take it ASAP. Doing so accomplishes four objectives: A) Lets you know where you stand academically for eligibility purposes. B) Gives you an idea what you need to work on to raise your score to receive more academic money from colleges. C) Signals to college coaches if you will meet the academic entrance requirements for their school. D) Puts the worry behind you of having to take these often required tests.
- Update all your stats: College coaches first glance to see if you have what it takes performance-wise to play at their level. Accurate, updates stats are a key to this first analysis coaches always do before deciding to seriously pursue a prospect.
- Post updated video: If you meet the basics needs of a college coach in terms of stats and grades, then a coach will want to see video on you. For some sports, like baseball, softball, tennis and golf, skill footage is enough to peak their interest. For others such as football, soccer and lacrosse, game footage is required. Either way, have video available which shows your best abilities.
- Reach out to coaches: It’s essential to let coaches know that you are interested in their school. Check first to see if you meet their academic entrance requirements. If so, then send emails and make phone calls to the coaches to let them know that they are high on your list. And, ask if there is a spot open at your position. If not, move on. If the answer is yes, get on their campus for a visit ASAP to start building a relationship with the coaches.
- Get real: It’s time to drop dream schools that have not shown you any interest or that have told you that their recruiting class if full. Yes, it may be disappointing to hear, but it’s time to move on to realistic opportunities and leave those behind.
- Choose a proven promo vehicle: You want options, right? If doing it yourself is not getting results, or if you are waiting for coaches to find you, it’s time to seek out a pro that knows recruiting and how to get your name into the hands of as many college coaches’ hands as possible. There are options which you will never discover on your own or through your coaches because both methods are severely limited in their ability to reach enough college programs.
It’s the kind of high-profile tournament performance high school prospects dream about having. NSR softball prospect Haley Gonzales from West Boca Raton Community High School (FL) walked into the Wide World of Sports Spring Training Tournament at Disney World last week not knowing that she was entering a rare hitting zone which she herself created. And when the dust settled, the multi-talented infielder had a run through the prestigious tournament with a .650 batting average having gone 13 for 20 at the plate with six doubles, eight runs batted in and scoring 11 runs. In her personal essay to college coaches, the 2014 grad with a 3.5 GPA, says, “Everyday I take the field and give 110% of myself that my team and coaches deserve from me. I am on the field 24/7 and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my time. Softball has taught me so much about respect, being a team player, and learning where hard work can take you. When I am not on the field, I am in my backyard taking batting practice in the cage. During the beginning of the high school year, when the season has not yet started, I help coach softball at Loggers Run Middle. I try and pass on to the younger girls that the hard work and determination you put in will help you achieve your goal. I want nothing more than to be able to play softball at the college level.” Haley’s NSR on-the-ground scout and recruiting advisor is a very proud Daniel Gurtov who scouts South Florida for National Scouting Report.
Don’t fool yourself. Not for a minute longer. College coaches are now waiting for you to come to them. Sure, they hear by word-of-mouth about some prospects, but the recruiting process usually now starts early with an introduction, an early introduction. And the sooner a your name hits a college coach’s desk, the better.
Name recognition is huge in recruiting. And by this we mean the name of the prospect, not the school. The quicker a coach is made aware of you, the more likely he or she is to perk up when they come across your name again at a showcase, tournament, match, meet or game.
So, is it premature for sophomores to get their names out there? Heck, no. With NCAA recruiting rules now allowing more coaches to make first, personal contact with prospects sooner than ever, it would be crazy to wait for a coach to find you if you really want to play college sports. If it’s not all that important, then wait and see what happens. No big deal, right? But if it’s your dream to advance to the next level, you had better make a plan to compete in recruiting just like you plan to take on an opponent in a head-to-head match-up.
What about if you’re a freshman? Should you wait? Absolutely, categorically, no! Jump in the recruiting fray the moment you decide that playing college sports is what you want to do. Youth, club and travel sports numbers, like those in high school, are growing each year. This means that there are more and more athletes competing for the scholarship you will want when you are a senior. Want to be in the front of the line for coaches to consider? Then, you have to get moving and do something about it. Don’t sit on your, er, laurels. Find a vehicle to get your name into the hands of as many college coaches as possible. Don’t onesy or twosy it. That just won’t work. Make a splash. Let a lot of coaches know your name now and your chances will grow exponentially as the months and years go by.
The prospects that are better prepared and use tried and true methods to promote themselves early on to college coaches, to make their name mean something in the long run, are the ones that gain a foothold in the process. Their names stick in coaches’ memories as they pan down rosters. Don’t be overlooked. Get your name out there. Put yourself in the enviable position of being noticed, not overlooked.
College coaches are forever whittling down their recruiting lists to zero in on the prospects that are good fits for their programs. We know that athleticism is paramount – you have to be athletically capable. We know that good grades are essential – you must qualify to be admitted to the coach’s college. And, we know that a prospect’s character carries more weight than ever – with jobs on the line risky recruits are undesirable. But what are the things that coaches absolutely not want to see when evaluating a prospect. Here are the top five:
- Poor work habits: Subpar work ethic in high school signals even bigger problems for a prospect once they enter college. Without the ready influence of parents and the high school support system which prep athletes often enjoy, college freshmen are left to their own devices to consistently perform up to a coaching staff’s expectations and demands. When coaches learn that a high prospect has a habit of being late to practices, doesn’ t pay attention in film sessions, takes a play off during a game and doesn’t listen well or give 100% at practice, a red flag goes up that can end a promising college career before it ever starts.
- Poor grades: Lackluster classroom performance in high school is often more telling and destructive in the college setting. It is a trend which college coaches have found very difficult to reverse, so why try? They would prefer to work with prospects that respect academics and can be depended upon to attend class and strive to excel academically.
- Discipline problems: Most discipline problems can be summed up as bad decision making. In college, with fewer personal restrictions on their time, there is ample opportunities to make bad choices. If prospects have not made good decisions in high school, there is little reason to think that they make better ones in college.
- Disrespect for others: From the way an athlete communicates with officials, their coaches and teammates to how they interact with their families, college coaches want to recruit and offer scholarships to those prospects that have a healthy, mature and positive view and relationship with those around them. Fights, on and off the court, profane language and ignoring others are all signs of disrespect and coaches notice. The freedom that comes along with college life puts athletes in the spotlight. Those prospects that have shown the abilility to properly respect the people they come into contact with and avoid controversy are the ones coaches can trust to repeat that behavior on and around a college campus.
- Me-first Attitude: College coaches understand that top high school athletes are given a lot of attention and that in contests are expected to be the center of attention. But when high school athletes fail to appreciate his or her teammates’ contributions and are primarily focused on their own stats and promotion, college coaches are less likely to want them as part of their program.
Springtime is a time of year for renewal and that goes for high school seniors, too. There is so much emphasis placed on early signing periods that many seniors and their parents panic over not having signed in November. In fact, most high school athletes sign during the April 17 to August 1 regular signing period.
College coaches do try to get their top recruits to sign a National Letter of Intent in November, but they usually only secure the formal and legal commitment of between 20 and 40 percent of their targeted athletes. The hype surrounding the early signing period is mostly media driven, but that doesn’t lessen the anxiety which prospects and parents typically experience as the days count down to April 17.
Seniors at this point, with a five weeks to go before the ESP begins, should be doing their very best to demonstrate their desire to sign with their top choices. Moreover, it would be wise to leave their “dream” schools out of that mix. If a dream college coach is not responding, the deal has been done with other athletes and it’s time for hopeful athletes to move on to other, more promising options. Making phone calls to the coaches is the best alternative. Point blank, ask the coaches if there is still an opportunity to sign an NLI. And if the coach has narrowed his or her list to you and another athlete, make a plea by stating your case and desire to play for the coach and to get an education at that school. Talk about how good the fit is in terms of location, program quality, facilities and education. Go after it will enthusiasm. And, it’s okay to take this tactic with several schools in hopes of getting multiple offers.
From now until April 17, seniors cannot sit back and wait. It’s a competition and the stakes are high.
- It’s smart to get into the college recruiting process as early as possible
- Summer offers high school prospects opportunities to shine on big stages
- Two NSR softball prospects featured in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article
- Where you get college athletic recruiting information can put you ahead of the curve or put in the back of the line
- College recruiting is a relationship-building process
- 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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