By Tom Kovic
The college recruiting process can be exhilarating and uplifting, especially when your plan is working on all cylinders. Consequently, the best-executed projects can run into roadblocks or even stall completely. Embracing the club coach as a powerful ally for the college prospect is an essential component of college recruiting.
A successful recruiting effort will shore up as many “impact tools” in the team arsenal to get the attention of college coaches. These tools include raw athletic talent, academic brilliance, or a strong core character. This article focuses on how the club coach serves as the glue that binds the college search for athletes.
Club coaches are not only wizards in the gym; they have an uncanny ability to read core personalities of every boy and girl they teach. A successful coach is a great educator first. They realize the powerful life lessons that athletes can embrace along the way. Consequently, they drive their students upward, from one level to the next.
Prospects should create a start point for their college search by defining themselves. Creating and sharing a player profile with college coaches is an excellent first step. Not only should the profile let college coaches know who you are, but it should also include a powerful coach testimonial.
The testimonial serves as a soft recommendation where a coach can identify their skill as an athlete but also convey their core character and inherent leadership qualities. Also, club coaches can utilize powerful networking skills and cultivate robust relationships with college coaches.
Networking in college recruiting can be defined as a coordinated attempt to use outside assistance in accelerating and influencing the chances of reaching one’s college goal. Above all, the prospect and family who want to register high on the radar screen of a college coach should construct their networking plan to be 1) well-timed, 2) impactful, and 3) originate from an outside source (club coach).
Every sports community in America has a tight-knit group of coaches, athletes, and alumni, who is associated by 1 degree of separation. Furthermore, the club coach can act as an excellent reference for prospective student-athletes.
College coaches will do a thorough academic and athletic evaluation of a prospect to determine where they fit in their recruit priority chart. Moving forward, a diligent college recruiter will reach out to the club coach to learn the inner make-up of the prospect.
Given a choice between a blue-chip prospect who may be a potential “loose cannon” on the inside of the team and a solidly skilled prospect who brings a strong character component to the table, college coaches will likely lean toward the latter. Consequently, a strong testimonial from the candidate’s current coach can go a long way in closing the loop in the college evaluation.
College coaches are grounded, common-sense individuals who rely on their gut when making most of their program decisions, including recruiting. Whether you are the captain of your team or a member of the student government, embrace these leadership roles in a further effort in building your character foundation.
College coaches have an uncanny ability to size up prospects quickly. They can pinpoint a real leadership character as opposed to “resume leadership” in a heartbeat. The self-aware and self-confident prospect is, in most cases, going to shine more brightly in the eyes of the college coaches.
Build your Team
Your recruiting team should consist of individuals who will help you build momentum in the college search. Each member plays a specific role (Financial aid/scholarships, admissions and application, campus visits, video, and profile development, etc.) that help ensure the prospect’s best chances at success.
Identify goals with a purpose that compliment your recruiting effort. Distribute them to the area experts. Communicate with your team regularly. You will streamline the college quest and help avoid any confusion that could contribute to unclear thinking, misdirection, and potentially poor choices.
The club coach can be many things to prospective student-athletes, A mentor, sounding board, and even a sport psychologist! In addition, he can be a powerful ally who can offer valuable information to college coaches. Perhaps just enough to tip the scales for the prospect in the right direction.
Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and Founder/Principal of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he advises prospects and families on college recruiting. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.