February 17, 2016

The Phases of Recruitment Simplified

In its simplest form the recruitment process can be broken down into several phases where a student-athlete is identified as a potential recruit, has their academic and athletic performance evaluated and ultimately has an offer made to them. As a student-athlete it is important to have a general understanding of the process in order to increase your chances of being recruited to play at the next level. It is also key to recognize that the process can be either simplified even further to combine steps or it can be intensified with the addition of further steps or detail. Let’s get started:

Phase 1: Generating Interest

The first step in the recruitment process is generating an interest in the program. At this point a program is trying to fill their recruitment class with potential recruits looking at generic stats like rankings, height, weight or previous contact such as email or questionnaires. The initial letters, questionnaires and camp invites sent out by programs are an attempt to building a database of athletes and their contact information.

Your responsibility as a student-athlete: Make sure to take the time to respond to each and every letter, invite or questionnaire that you receive. When possible take the time to email or call the coach in order to show your interest and ensure you are in their database.

Phase 2: Initial Evaluations

Once a database has been formed it is time for the evaluation process to begin. These initial evaluations are very simple and more often than not may be the watching of highlight videos or speaking with your current coaches. This phase is all about determining your eligibility and future potential.

Your responsibility as a student-athlete: Be organized. Phase 2 is still very early on and there are still a large number of recruits so try to stand out; simplify your profile and make it easy to view. Ensure that your highlight videos are well formatted, your stats are verifiable and that your academic information is organized and ready to go.

Phase 3:  Secondary Evaluations

Secondary evaluations are often conducted by the coach or his staff in person. At this point the program is watching practices, games or contacting you and your family to gauge interest and invite you for visits. Keep in mind that these evaluations are not just about your athletic ability but also used as a gauge of personality and character. After phase 3 things start to move quickly and coaches will make every effort to lock up the athletes they want before anyone else can.

Your responsibility as a student-athlete: Take every opportunity possible to learn about the program and be engaged. This is the phase where you have the opportunity to ask the coach questions about their philosophies and how they run their program. Ask them, based on what they have seen so far, what role they see you in, where the program is headed and how you may fit long term. Phase 3 is where you want to determine which program is going to be best for you. Make sure you leave the coach with a good impression as not just an athlete, but a student and member of the community.

Phase 4: Getting Offers and Making Commitments

After the secondary evaluations are complete coaches start to meet with recruits one-on-one and send of offers. More often than not these offers will require a quick decision and this is why step 3 is so important for student-athletes in determining their interest in programs. Some offers may require commitments in a matter of weeks or even days.

Your responsibility as a student-athlete: Be prepared to make a decision. Often a commitment will need to be made rather quickly or your offer may expire. Think back to the research you did, your comfort level with the coaches you spoke with and follow your gut.

Phase 5: Signing

The evaluation process doesn’t stop at phase 4, so as a student-athlete, don’t think it’s all smooth sailing from here. Coaches and their staff will continue to monitor and evaluate student-athletes in order to ensure they are reaching their potential and are who they expect them to be on and off the field. Just because a coach has extended and offer and a commitment has been made doesn’t mean you can let your grades drop or ease up come game time.

Your responsibility as a student-athlete: Don’t relax just because a coach has shown interest and you have committed to an offer. Keep your grades up, be careful with social media and keep in shape. Ensure that you continue to show interest. Ensure that you maintain regular contact with the coach and keep in mind that even with an offer you are still competing for playing time.

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