by Anna Nyberg, AVCA Intern and University of Kentucky Volleyball Player
If your mind is set on playing college athletics, going through the recruiting process is inevitable. Whether you are interested in 20 different schools or deciding between two, it can be a long and stressful road to go down. Personally, I only visited a few schools before I found the school that felt like home, but the path is very different for everyone. In this blog, I want to share my tips to help anyone going through this process.
1. Put yourself out there
Some are fortunate enough to be in an environment that has the access to college coaches and recruiting, but for those who do not, you must put yourself out there. Introduce yourself, develop highlight videos, game footage and send it out for coaches to see. This is a good way to showcase your talent along with showing coaches that you are interested in their program. Showing interest in a coach and their program will make them want to show interest in you. It may not always work out, but you will never know unless you try.
2. Give yourself opportunity
Getting involved in a club program or travel team is a huge step for an athlete that is looking to be recruited. These types of teams let you compete in competitive environments and allow you to play with and against those that display similar talent as you. It is impossible for college coaches to attend all the high school games because they are also in season, so this is often where they will go to look for potential athletes for their program. You can also attend camps at your colleges of interest. This will give you a chance to show them how you play and compete along with you being able to see their coaching style, and if it’s something you would like to pursue more.
3. Know what is right for you
It takes some open mindedness when looking for a college that you will spend the next chapter of your life. Each school will be a little different from the other but there will be a right fit for you. It is important to know what level you want to play, and what will benefit you the most. Consider all divisions and things like, distance from home, how big of a school you want, if they offer what you would like to study, what type of program you want to get in to and much more. You will know when you find the right fit on a visit, the campus will feel like home and the team and staff will feel like family.
4. Do your research
Whether it’s looking up recruiting rules, the schools you want to visit or simply asking someone who's been through it before, it's important to know what you are doing before digging too deep. You also want to take the time to know the program, look at their history, watch games and read interviews with the coach, and even check out their social media. This will give you a feel on the coach, players and the program from a different viewpoint. This will also help you come prepared to any unofficial visits you decide to take, which will show your interest to the coach.
5. Build relationships
Building relationships is key when going through the recruiting process. You want to try to connect with the coaches, players, academic advisors and anyone else you may encounter during the time on campus. Building these relationships will give you a feel on whether the school is right for you or not. You want to be around people you like and want to work hard for. It is always important that the people you are surrounded by every day have the same goals and drive that you possess for the programs overall success.
6. Go out of your comfort zone
Even if you think you already know what kind of school you are interested in, it is important to check out colleges that you did not really consider from the start. There may be places that were not even on your radar, but reaching out and taking a visit could surprise you and change everything.
7. Make lists
Starting with a list of schools and people to contact at each of these schools is a great place to start when looking to be recruited. It keeps you organized and is easy to refer to. Visiting a lot of schools and interacting with a lot of coaches can be overwhelming, and it may be hard to remember what assets went with what program. Listing out the pros and cons can be very helpful when you are looking back and trying to decide on what university you want to pursue.
8. Be honest
It is important to be honest with yourself when going through the recruiting process. You have to look at what is important to you and if you are willing to sacrifice some things to attend the school of your dreams. Know if you are okay with things such as, being far away from home or if you straight up do not like a school that you visited. Being honest with the coaches you are dealing with is also crucial. You must show them that your interest is still there and if it's not, let them know so you both can focus on other things. It is your decision to make, go wherever benefits you the most and makes you happy.
9. Perform off the court
If you want to continue your schooling and athletic career into college, it is vital to work hard academically in high school. If you cannot perform in the classroom it will be difficult to perform on the court. Coaches want good players but also want well-rounded people representing their program, along with the university. This can also include having social media accounts with appropriate content on them. These coaches are like employers and having unprofessional social media accounts can hurt you, even if you are a very talented athlete. Making good decisions off the court is what will help you in the long run.