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College Athletes - recruiting questions (X-posted)


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#1 Scoutermom

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 07:53 PM

If you have had, currently have, or will have a D3 student-athlete, what are:

-the best recruiting methods you experienced

-the worst recruiting methods you experienced

-the things you looked for most in a coach

-things that clinched the deal

-things that broke the deal

-things you wish would have been addressed early on

-things you wish you had known but didn't

-anything else that stands out to you

 

 

Any information shared would be greatly appreciated but please keep the responses to D3 schools as recruiting processes are quite different between D1/D2 & D3 schools.

 



#2 MysteryJen

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:57 AM

We went through the D1 process, but dd1 had several close friends go D3. The most important thing that we saw was that the school needed to be a good fit academically and financially without any regard to the athletics. Some D3's are very competitive, others are like high school sports. Both have a true off season though, so you really need to like the school, not just the team.

The big negative we saw was that everyone seemed to think that coaches could get athletes in...maybe true at a non-selective schools. It was not true at the tippy-top D3 schools.

You had to get in to the schools on your own academic merits.


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#3 Plateau Mama

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 11:06 AM

We went through the D1 process, but dd1 had several close friends go D3. The most important thing that we saw was that the school needed to be a good fit academically and financially without any regard to the athletics. Some D3's are very competitive, others are like high school sports. Both have a true off season though, so you really need to like the school, not just the team.
The big negative we saw was that everyone seemed to think that coaches could get athletes in...maybe true at a non-selective schools. It was not true at the tippy-top D3 schools.
You had to get in to the schools on your own academic merits.


You have to be able to get in on your academics but coaches get a certain number of recommendations per year they can write. It can influence admissions. If you don't have the acadademics though, you aren't getting in.

#4 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:19 AM

Not sure what you mean by best/worst recruiting methods?  What the coaches did or what we did?

 

Agree with MysteryJen.

 

Ds had a website and brochure that we emailed/snailmailed to coaches.

Ds went to "exposure" camps and and academic summer sport camp and played AAU and USAAA in the off-season

We looked for a team that was fairly successful at a school that was a good fit (no fun to play for CalTech who broke their 10 year losing streak while ds was looking)

We looked for a coach/team that ds could stay with for 4 years (statistic:  only 1 in 4 college athlete is still playing their senior year)

Ds felt the coach was fair and ethical

 

Here are some things I realized with 20/20 hindsight:

  • Make initial contact with head coach and assistant coach.
  • Over spring break junior year, set up unofficial visits at schools of interest if known and possible.
  • Official visits for Div 1 and Div 2 (even Div 3 though they don’t typically pay transportation costs) should be discussed/arranged as soon as classes start senior year, especially before high school season starts because once the season starts, you cannot practice with the college team.  This probably only pertains to winter sports.

HTH!


Edited by Sue in St Pete, 15 August 2017 - 09:18 PM.

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#5 irprof

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 07:35 PM

My perspective as both a former athlete and a former assistant coach. Academic fit is key in any college athletics quest, but particularly the case for D3. So students should make sure the college is an academic fit.

 

Avoid institutions that hire coaches in their early to mid 20s and pay them very little. This indicates exactly how much the college values the sport. Also, while I've met a couple of very young coaches who were excellent, many of them, like a graduate assistant in the classroom, will make a lot of mistakes on your son or daughter and then move on to a better job.

 

Avoid places that recruit lots of freshmen every year and lose more than half by the next year. This is a sign of either a school or a program with serious problems. One school was notorious for telling 10 freshmen that they would compete for a starting spot, and dropping 5 of them by the end of year one.

 

Find out how long the coaches tend to stay. Unless the team is CalTech terrible, you can have a good time on a mid-level team, if the dynamics are right. Also, a coach that understands how the school works can be a very valuable asset (even down to which professors might be a good fit for a particular student's interests or learning style. A veteran coach I worked with knew almost every prof on campus and could tell you what to expect from each of them). On the other hand, if the coach doesn't know much about the school, this suggests that academics aren't very important to him or her.

 

Try to find out if the team is a good athletic and social fit. Many teams do informal pickup games or captain's practices where recruits can see both the quality of some of the players as well as a social fit if that matters (it wasn't really important to me, but it can be an important peer group). 

 

If possible, try to find a way for the coach to see you play (could even be a practice if fairly local). This will help the coach give a realistic sense of how your daughter or son might fit.

 

In some places, coaches can be very helpful at finding extra financial aid (hey, there's a special scholarship for women from X county and for students who are interested in major Y Why don't you call financial aid and ask....) for a player they want, which is worth exploring. My sense is that a coach recommendation can help a bit to push someone from high on the wait-list to acceptance at some schools, but in general, you have to be close to the standard.



#6 daijobu

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 07:49 PM

Find out how long the coaches tend to stay. Unless the team is CalTech terrible, you can have a good time on a mid-level team, if the dynamics are right. Also, a coach that understands how the school works can be a very valuable asset  

 

LOL, is this a common phrase?  I have a friend who attended CalTech and she tells me she was routinely recruited for every conceivable sport on campus.  


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#7 Alice

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 08:32 PM

Hijacking the thread a bit....since I was about to start a D3 thread with a question and figured it might fit here....

 

For D3 schools, you do NOT have to register with NCAA, correct? And you don't have to worry about any of the eligibility stuff (other than you would normally worry about for academic reasons)? 

 

Ds is a swimmer and he's probably good enough to swim in college. The big question is whether he will want to. I imagine if he does want to it will be at D3 schools or in Club Swimming. I don't see that he has the drive that he would need to swim at a D1 or D2 school. And I really don't wand to jump through all the NCAA hoops if he doesn't have the desire to pursue it at that level. I've looked at the list of D3 swimming schools and there are a lot that are good fits for him. It also seems ridiculous to even think about this when he is 13...but I also know that if he did want to swim in college it's too late to start thinking about it when he's a junior. 

 



#8 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:17 PM

For D3 schools, you do NOT have to register with NCAA, correct? And you don't have to worry about any of the eligibility stuff (other than you would normally worry about for academic reasons)?

Correct.


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#9 Scoutermom

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:53 PM

Thank you for all of the responses. I wrote the OP in a hurry one day and forgot that not everyone here knows that I have become a D3 coach. I was asking about what you liked and disliked so I could get some ideas about what to do and what to avoid when I begin recruiting. I want to be an effective recruiter and make sure that my potential recruits fit my school while also helping my team. I'm aware that most young people don't read each and every email (esp when they receive 10 or 100s of them a week) and let mailers stack up without opening them. 

 

What is an effective first contact? What made your student-athlete's final choice stand out at the beginning? What turned your SA off immediately?

 

I think I'm going to enjoy the challenge of finding athletes who are also academics who would be a good fit for my school.



#10 plansrme

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:36 PM

Thank you for all of the responses. I wrote the OP in a hurry one day and forgot that not everyone here knows that I have become a D3 coach. I was asking about what you liked and disliked so I could get some ideas about what to do and what to avoid when I begin recruiting. I want to be an effective recruiter and make sure that my potential recruits fit my school while also helping my team. I'm aware that most young people don't read each and every email (esp when they receive 10 or 100s of them a week) and let mailers stack up without opening them. 

 

What is an effective first contact? What made your student-athlete's final choice stand out at the beginning? What turned your SA off immediately?

 

I think I'm going to enjoy the challenge of finding athletes who are also academics who would be a good fit for my school.

 

My daughter is going D1 but received a lot of emails and such from D3 coaches.  What turned her off immediately were coaches who thought too highly of their programs.  No, really--there were a couple whose posted recruiting standards were so much faster than anything anyone had ever swum there before.  Did they think she wouldn't check them out?  That seems so obvious, but apparently there are some coaches with a "there's no harm in trying" philosophy.  Letters that were up front and realistic were refreshing.  A big plus was the quality of the training facility, so if that works in your favor, I would feature it front and center.

 

The other thing that has seemed effective are personal recommendations from her club coaches, so if I were a college coach, I would cultivate those relationships.  Athletes nearly always trust their club coaches, and we all know coaches love to be asked for advice, especially by college coaches.  One of the two schools tied for the lead right now is one her then-club coach suggested over a year ago.  The club coaches also tend to know who needs FA, who would be full pay and is willing to pay it and who would be full pay but is not.  (ETA:  They also know who has the grades and test scores to get into your school.)

 

Finally, we have seen plenty of programs that get recommendations from their current athletes.  No one is more plugged in to women's golf in Alaska, let's say, than the Alaskan golfers already on your roster.  This can also help you avoid recruiting the proverbial rotten apple.  My daughter refused to look at a couple of schools just because our local rotten apple had taken OVs there.  Sure, that was an extreme reaction, but there are plenty of schools where Ms. Apple had NOT taken OVs, and you've got to cut somewhere. 


Edited by plansrme, 16 August 2017 - 11:37 PM.

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#11 teachermom2834

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 06:50 AM

Thank you for all of the responses. I wrote the OP in a hurry one day and forgot that not everyone here knows that I have become a D3 coach. I was asking about what you liked and disliked so I could get some ideas about what to do and what to avoid when I begin recruiting. I want to be an effective recruiter and make sure that my potential recruits fit my school while also helping my team. I'm aware that most young people don't read each and every email (esp when they receive 10 or 100s of them a week) and let mailers stack up without opening them.

What is an effective first contact? What made your student-athlete's final choice stand out at the beginning? What turned your SA off immediately?

I think I'm going to enjoy the challenge of finding athletes who are also academics who would be a good fit for my school.


Another angle- my ds is a D3 baseball player. He made initial contact with the coach at the school he ended up at. There wasnt much interest until ds was able to tell him he had another offer. Then his ears noticeably perked up and he became more interested. DS applied to the school and kept in contact with the coach emailing him when he got his acceptance, when he got invited to scholarship weekend, when he got his scholarship award, etc. Eventually the coach offered him a spot with something like "you are a great student and the kind of character we want on the team, I'll give you a shot." Well, ds went in and beat out the other two freshman shortstops, who the coach had pursued, won the starting job, made all conference academic, and was a big contributor. He is one of the team's best recruiters (coach knows he will behave responsibly when hosting recruits) and he does well speaking to the recruits' parents. He is overall a good ambassador for the team on campus (and helps the team overall GPA).

He was in the same position of attempting to talk his way on to a couple other teams in the conference and I think he would have had similar results.

All that to say, my advice to a D3 coach would be to have an open mind towards kids who pursue you. They may be far more valuable than they look on paper :)

My ds got a lot of recruiting mail addressed to the wrong kids. That was an obvious turnoff that he was just getting mass form emails. Couldn't believe how often that happened.
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#12 Scoutermom

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 07:57 AM

Plansrme & Teachermom - Thank you. This information will be quite helpful.

 

---

 

If anyone else has experience, I would love to hear from you.



#13 MysteryJen

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 08:01 AM

Agreeing with plansrme, represent your program accurately. Highly ranked, lower? operate like a D2 or more like a high school team? Closed roster with tryouts or taking most of the comers?

 

Also, I think that kids who do their own pursuing of programs and coaches are always the best bet. Less likely to be burned out and more likely to be leaders on the team.

 

Take the knowledge of your athletes about other athletes seriously. Kids get reputations as they move through youth sports in their states. They are frequently based in truth.

 

Also, let academic matters take priority. Your star needs study abroad? send them with good grace and encouragement. A class conflicts with weight room? Same.

 

Don't be the raging hypocrites of D1 where they need an athlete's high GPA to offset some tragically low ones, but act resentful when they have to accomodate upper level classes.

 

(Can you guess what dd1 has dealt with this week?)


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#14 teachermom2834

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 08:19 AM

Agreeing with plansrme, represent your program accurately. Highly ranked, lower? operate like a D2 or more like a high school team? Closed roster with tryouts or taking most of the comers?
 
Also, I think that kids who do their own pursuing of programs and coaches are always the best bet. Less likely to be burned out and more likely to be leaders on the team.
 
Take the knowledge of your athletes about other athletes seriously. Kids get reputations as they move through youth sports in their states. They are frequently based in truth.
 
Also, let academic matters take priority. Your star needs study abroad? send them with good grace and encouragement. A class conflicts with weight room? Same.
 
Don't be the raging hypocrites of D1 where they need an athlete's high GPA to offset some tragically low ones, but act resentful when they have to accomodate upper level classes.
 
(Can you guess what dd1 has dealt with this week?)


YES!! For D3- my ds loves playing ball and is having a great experience and really improves his team. But- it is D3, if he has to choose between academics and sports, he will drop baseball in a heartbeat. So, a good D3 coach will encourage those things. There is no scholarship cash to give so the more you allow your student athletes to be plugged in and invested in their school and education, the more likely they will stick around.

ETA: My ds is dating a tennis player at his school. She is extremely involved on campus, sorority, etc. She is the #2 player and she loves tennis. But she loves her sorority and college life and is a serious academic. Both ds and his gf value highly the ability to live a life outside of their sport.

Edited by teachermom2834, 17 August 2017 - 08:23 AM.

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#15 Corraleno

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 01:10 PM

Things the coaches did that impressed DS:

 

1. The coaches at the school he chose were great at "selling" their program in a positive but realistic way, and never denigrated other programs. Their athletic program had a number of unique features and benefits, as well as stellar training facilities, all of which they highlighted. They were also very clear and upfront about the competitiveness of the program, and the level of commitment they expected from athletes.

     A couple of the other coaches we spoke to seemed to rely as much on pointing out negatives of other programs as highlighting aspects of their own program that might make it stand out. So the "positives" were pretty generic (common to most programs), while they focused on the negatives (in their opinion) of other programs as a way of creating contrast. DS and I were both a bit turned off by that, and were amused that one of the "negatives" cited about the program DS ultimately chose was something that he actually saw as a positive.

 

2. The coaches at the program he chose were very transparent and upfront from the get-go: yes, they wanted him; yes, they could guarantee acceptance; yes, there would be scholarship money available. When DS asked if they were also pursuing another specific athlete, they said yes but they knew he had other options and he hadn't decided yet. DS asked if he would still have a scholarship if this other student committed and was told yes. They answered every question openly and honestly, and never pressured DS to commit immediately or not talk to other coaches.

     Other coaches tended to be a little cagier about the amount of money involved, using it to pressure for immediate commitment, or, at the other end of the spectrum, remaining noncommittal in order to keep their options open as long as possible, while encouraging DS to continue working with them and not commit elsewhere.

 

3. One of the things that really clinched the deal for DS (at least in terms of athletics; academics also played a big role) was that the coaches invited one of their top athletes to sit in on the meeting and provide a student's perspective on both the athletic and academic experience there. He provided a lot of helpful information, but what really sealed the deal was the way he talked about the assistant coach and how much this guy had helped him as an athlete and a person. This coach is the person DS will be working with most closely and he is very quiet and sort of stern looking, so hearing this student talk about him with real passion and gratitude, and seeing how genuinely touched this tough-looking coach was by the student's testimony, made a big impact on DS.

 

So from our experience I would say the three main take-aways for a coach would be:

1. Highlight the best features about your program, especially anything that is unique or unusual, but never put down other programs.

 

2. Be as upfront and transparent as possible with students about where they rank on your list of potential recruits, whether you'll be using a slot/tip/recommendation for them, what their chances of acceptance are, whether they are guaranteed a place on the roster and if not what's the try-out process like, etc. 

 

3. Let your most accomplished and enthusiastic athletes help sell the program for you, especially in terms of talking about team sprit and relationships with the coaches.


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#16 snowbeltmom

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 05:55 AM

As a new coach, make sure you understand exactly how much pull you have with admissions and make sure you are crystal clear about how much pull you have when you are speaking to prospective athletes and their families.  Many times, the athlete and parents don't realize that the schools in D3 don't all play by the same recruiting rules and don't realize that just because the coach at College A can guarantee admission, it does not mean that coach at College B can also guarantee admission.  You don't want families making any wrong assumptions about your pull with admissions, so you need to make sure you educate them about the policy at your school so there are no hard feelings down the road.   

 

The vast majority of coaches recruiting my son made initial contact via text messaging asking if they could set up a time to speak.  Most of these initial phone calls lasted between 30 and 60 minutes.  The coaches were not only discussing their coaching philosophies and schedules, but they were also discussing the school's academics.  After that initial phone call, the coaches would then reach out to my H and me.

 

When we took my son on visits, the coaches arranged for my son to meet with various faculty, watch a team practice, and have a meal and socialize with the team. My H and I were included in all the meetings with the faculty.  These visits are what many athletes base their decisions on, and my son was no exception.

 

As others have already mentioned, make sure you research your recruits.  Steer clear of the prima donas, the obnoxious loud-mouths, and the hookers no matter how athletically talented they are.  These athletes will degrade your program.

 

Good luck!

 

 


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