It’s easy to lose hope when coaches aren’t beating down your door.
It’s normal to doubt yourself when nobody seems to want you.
But you’ve worked your entire life in pursuit of a dream. So when you’re in the thick of the college recruitment process and the outcome appears bleak, remember the journey you set out for and don’t lose sight of the goal.
Instead, step back. Embrace what’s happening. And rethink your strategy.
Look, this process rarely goes as planned. Becoming aware of you is easy. Evaluating you is fairly easy as well. But recruiting you is more difficult than you might think. These college coaches have the brutal task of evaluating thousands of kids in many cases. The problem they’re trying to solve changes every year. Sometimes, you just aren’t viewed as the solution.
Here are 5 things you can do if you find yourself without any scholarship offers late in the recruiting game:
Don’t take it personal.
The world is not out to get you. You aren’t a loser. Far from it. This is just how certain events in life unfold. Get used to it. You aren’t always going to get the grade you feel you earned. You aren’t going to get every job you feel you deserve either. And when you get to college, you won’t be the best player on your team. In fact, the awards you received in high school won’t matter much, because every other kid on your team will be just as decorated. You may not see it now, but accept this adversity head on. Welcome it. How you handle it will benefit you much more in life than you realize.
Make it easy for college coaches to assess you.
Stay in front of coaches. Make sure they have everything they need to evaluate you. If you have a website prepared already, then make sure they have all the necessary items included: stats, awards, academic transcripts, test scores, photos, film, scouting reports, social media page links, your contact info, your coaches’ contact info, schedules… the whole nine yards. It’s never going to tell the whole story about you, but it will at least provide coaches an important glimpse. And be relentless keeping it front of them.
Take an honest look in the mirror.
Unfortunately, not every coach is going to view you the way you, or your parents, or even your coaches view you. You must be truthful with yourself. Yes, the idea of playing at the highest level is appealing. But if Division I powerhouse XYZ State has already offered scholarships to 200 kids – and you aren’t one of them – then it’s time to focus on other, more commensurate options. Message: Go where you’re really wanted. Be an All-American at a small school instead of 6th string at a big school. Your experience will be far more rewarding.
Seek out college coaches for their assessments.
The people who recruit for a living are the ones from whom you should gain the most valuable insight. College coaches will be honest with you. But you have to be open and ready for their assessment, which requires some humility and maturity. If 10 Division I coaches all tell you that you’re a Division II or III prospect, then they’re probably right, so welcome their guidance, because they’re steering you down a rewarding path. And if you still aren’t satisfied with their assessment, then find out what needs to happen in order for you to be an impact player at the Division I level. With that information, you can then decide if your dream is realistic or not.
Put those who really want you at the TOP of your college list.
There’s nothing more exciting in the college recruitment experience than being wanted. Everything else isn’t worth your time. Forget about the college division. People around you put stock in it, but it’s insignificant. What matters is the fit. What matters is that someone values you, and they’re willing to award you a scholarship because they believe in you. They believe in the promise you offer. If you’re the focal point in a college coach’s recruiting class, then hold that opportunity in the highest regard. Because you’ll be a major part of something special for the next 4 years… and the next 40 years beyond that, too.
And of course, stay proactive!
As a published author, public speaker and radio/television guest, Rex is widely considered among the nation’s premier authorities on college athletic recruiting.
Before founding Student-Athlete Showcase LLC in 2003, Rex served as a NCAA Division I Compliance Representative and VP of West Coast Operations for a large college recruiting firm. In 2008, Rex was honored with the prestigious “Forty Under 40” award by the Denver Business Journal.