With many of the athletes we work with seeing their fall club seasons ending and a shortage of showcase events in the northeast during the winter many student athletes will see their activity slow over the next few months. Because of this, it is now generally the time of year where we start to get questions related to what student athletes should be doing in their off-seasons to best position themselves for attention from coaches when their sport gets more active again.
While we have some strong opinions about what students should be doing we reached out to get the thoughts of a few D1 and D3 coaches, representing multiple sports. Some of their thoughts on 'best practice' are mentioned below.
1 Stressed time and again by the coaches is the idea that video drives the process and is the driver of much of the attention recruits get at events. However, a number of coaches mentioned a new trend , more and new video in the offseason. Several coaches mention getting new videos from athletes , videos that sometimes simply reposition clips that were sent a month or so earlier . Somewhat surprisingly, the coaches feel that even the videos without new material can be helpful. Their general feeling is that video does get overlooked from time to time so sending it in a quieter times is a good way to get attention. Coaches also felt videos that repositioned existing content with a few new plays was surprisingly effective in getting their attention , the idea being that the order of presentation in a video matters and that good clips buried at the end of longer highlight films can get overlooked .
2 Another action that is recommended in quieter times is taking a fresh look at target schools with a goal of finding some new schools to send video to with an understanding that interest lists can narrow quickly in the recruiting process .One coach mentioned that he felt that student athletes were often discouraged from sending film to the schools they wanted to and mentioned that players should let the college coaches decide , not club, high school, or others . Being deliberate in attempts to cultivate new interest in slower times is a way to do this.
3. Finally, as it relates to video , at schools where a student athlete is frustrated by a lack of response it is mentioned that sometimes names get lost and not all coaches and assistant coaches are as organized as others or as good at responding . In situations where a coach is non-responsive and it seems like the end of the process at a specific school , there is no downside to emailing an additional coach on the staff.
4. Beyond film, every coach stressed that grades matter for the vast majority of athletic recruits . Several mentioned that remembering to keep coaches up on academics can play a very important role in placing a recruit higher on a coaches target list in the active recruiting season. Simply put, recruits with better grades are easier for coaches to get through admissions review , as well as more likely to stay in the school that recruits them . Expressing interest in a program when email boxes are less full and highlighting good grades is an excellent way to move up a schools target list for any student athlete good enough to play in college but not likely to go to an elite school in their sport of focus.
5. Finally, many recruits forget that for most programs the coach will need the approval of the admissions department . Another good off season activity is for the recruit to email their regional admissions representative , introduce themselves ( if they have not already) , mention their interest in the academic opportunities at the school and highlight (or update) their grades and activities.
In summary ,there is a lot that student athletes can be doing in their off-seasons to increase
their chances of being recruited. For those who don't want to do this alone, we can be of help.