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Disecting Coach Communications

Camp Brochures

While receiving a camp invitation is great, it is important to take it with a grain of salt. A majority of the time a camp invitation is a mass mailing, if it is a generic brochure or a generic form letter then you are not being invited as a “recruit”. This does not mean that you shouldn’t attend, camps are a great place to learn technique from great coaches! If you receive a hand written note , along with the camp brochure website this usually means that you are being recruited by the coach and he wants to see you play. It is important to note that if you have several camp invites sometimes it is better to go to five of them for one day instead of one for five days.  As well camps are not the place to go to get noticed, it is important to remember that a majority of the time if a coach is recruiting you at a camp they have already identified you as a recruit.

Questionnaires/ Form Letter

Questionnaires and form letters are great, especially early on in the process middle school through sophomore year you should be receiving hundreds of these types of letters because division one and division two coaches cannot contact you in a personal way.  While questionnaires are important in the recruiting process they do not indicate any high level of interest, coaches initially send out thousands of questionnaires to student athletes around the country and the world, and will only hand out a handful of scholarships. Always fill out the questionnaires its how you stay on recruiting lists, and could potentially receive more personal mail in the future.

Personal letters

Personal letters usually come around your junior year, now there are two main things to identify when you receive personal mail, whether or not it is hand written or typed and who is the letter from. If the letter was hand written that means more than if the letter is typed, and if it is from the head coach then it means more than if it came from the assistant coach or position coach. Any type of personal mail is a good indication that you are being recruited, especially if it is coming frequently, however it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being recruited heavily. One recruit from Alabama received 105 letters on the same day from University of Alabama’s football program, that is someone who is really being recruited!

Emails

Receiving an email is very similar to a letter, you need to identify whether or not the email is personal or a mass mailing. If it is a personal email again it is very similar to a personal letter it shows a decent amount of interest in you as a potential recruit. However because email has become easier and easier for coaches to use and send in mass quantities you can’t read too much into email. If the emails are coming on a regular basis with personal information about you then this is a good indicator the coach is very interesting in you.

    Phone Calls

    Every sport and every division  is a little different but junior/senior year is when the phone calls should begin to come from college coaches. If you are not being called after your junior year, it might be time to reevaluate what schools you are targeting. College coaches won’t be calling for one of two reasons, either you are not on their list and they do not know about you or they know about you and are not looking to recruit you. Make sure you are accurately able to identify which is the reason you are not receiving phone calls. When a coach does call you make sure you are actively engaged in the phone call, don’t have the TV on or any other distractions. Write down a list of questions and be prepared to ask them about their school, also be prepared for the coaches to ask you about things from athletics to academics to  social life.Regular phone calls are a very good indicator that you are being recruited but this school, while its not absolute chances are they will be offering you a visit.

    Visits

    There are two types of offers in the world of recruiting, official and unofficial. To gauge a coaches level of interest with an unofficial visit is fairly easy, did the coach invite you? How are they acting? Have they set up a tour of the campus? Are they making time to see you? If you answered yes to all of the above then the coaches interest in you is fairly high. If you answered no to any of the above it might be time to look at other schools and evaluate your interests. Official visits are a little different, if a coach has invited you on an official visit chances of you receiving a scholarship offer are very high. Very rarely will an athlete be offered an official visit and not receive a scholarship offer.

    Offer

    The offer of  a scholarship is the most absolute form of communication that a coach is interested in you! The only step is now in your court to either accept or decline, make sure you lay out all of your decisions and chose the right school both academically and athletically!

    Offical Visits 101

    NCSA’s resident recruiting expert Randy Taylor always says that everything a coach says and does means something. College Coaches will show their interest in you in many different ways through questionnaires, through emails , through phone calls, visits and offers. Each type of communication means something different as far as their interest level in you as a potential recruit and one of the most telling signs that a coach is interested in you is the invitation to take an official visits. Besides receiving a verbal or written scholarship offer the official visit means that a large majority of the time you will be receiving the scholarship offer.

    What is an official visit?

    An official visit is a visit to a college campus by a student and a parent, the student athletes expenses will be covered by the college.

    What Should an Athlete Bring on an official visit?

    The student athlete should ask the coach what they should bring to the offical visit. It is important to note that the student athlete needs to send a copy of his transcripts to the school before taking the official visits and be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

    What should student athletes know before going on the official visit?

    Student athlete need to be prepared to answer questions from the coaches. Coaches will ask a lot of different questions, from your level of play to who else is recruiting them. Remember to talk about the bigger schools or schools on the same level that are recruiting you as well, this will only help the student athlete increase their scholarship opportunities and have the leverage to do so.

    Student athletes should also be prepared to ask questions themselves. An official visit should be taken very seriously by the student athlete, this is their time to decide if this could be the right school for them, if they could see themselves there. Make sure to ask all the right questions, from academics to college culture to athletics. Walk around the campus, meet the professors, make sure to imagine yourself walking around that campus for the next four years.

    Know the Rules

    You can only take 5 total official visits if you want to play at the division one level so make sure you aren’t taking more than that between division one and division two. Also remember that because you only get five, choose wisely make sure those are really the schools you want to visit on an official capacity.


    Good Luck!

    Ask Coach Taylor: Is Junior College A Good Option?

    Coach Taylor-

    Is junior college a good option to explore during the recruiting process?

    Interview about Recruiting with Division I Women’s Soccer Coach

    Interview with Division I Women’s Soccer Coach

    By:Callie Hemming

    I had the chance to interview a current Division I W. Soccer head coach. She was a former collegiate athlete herself as well as a coach for one of the top women’s soccer programs in the country. She offered some insight into the recruiting process from her eyes.

    1. How do you hear about players? How do they get on your recruiting list?

    We hear about players through club coaches, high school coaches, emails we receive from interested players and by evaluating ourselves

    2. What do you look for in a player? What catches your eye the most?

    We look for talented soccer players who can compete physically at our level but also who have the psychological components that will allow them to develop and reach their potential (Work-ethic, competitiveness, focus, self-motivated).

    3. When do you typically start looking for recruits?

    Typically we will start watching potential student-athletes in their sophomore year (sometimes freshman as the recruiting timeline does seem to be speeding up).

    4. What is the worst thing a recruit can do, that can make you stop recruiting her? The best thing?

    The best thing a recruit can do is to express interest in the program, follow up with their schedule so we can evaluate them, send us their transcripts and be very proactive if they truly have an interest. The worst thing a recruit can do is probably have grammatical errors/spelling errors in their email or to leave another coaches name on the email because they are sending out mass emails.

    1. 5. Are there any misconceptions in the recruiting process?

    Hmm. Never too early, never too late to find the right fit.

    6. Any advice for players just starting the recruiting process?

    Advice would be to talk with your coaches to get an idea of what level is realistic for you and then reach out to some of those programs to express interest. Do your research.

    7. Do you ever look to social media sites (Facebook, twitter) to find out about recruits?

    We are starting to look at social media more to make sure there are no red flags.

    8. Any success stories, of girls who were not initially on your recruiting list but ended up making it on the program and having success on the team?

    Success stories – Absolutely. We found one student-athlete very late because there was a transition in coaches and after seeing her play in a high school game we knew she could contribute at a high level (it was the spring of her senior year in high school).  She ended up out performing almost her entire class throughout her career.

    After talking with this coach, it is clear that that the key to getting recruiting is to stay proactive in the process. Coaches like the persistence because it shows the student-athlete is serious about playing at the next level. She also emphasized the points of researching the right school as well as staying in communication with coaches.

    The Dilemma that Multi-Sport Athletes Face

    By: Connor Hall

    Student athletes often struggle with the dilemma of playing more than one sport.  In high school this is normal, and many student athletes try to stay in shape year round by picking up a second sport to compete in.  This is a great, proactive step on behalf of the student- athlete, but it is important to remember that academics should be any student athlete’s top priority while in high school.  College coaches will never considering recruiting an athlete who is not academically qualified for their school.  Therefore, it is important to prioritize time appropriately, and realize when the pressure of two sports is becoming too much.  For student athletes who are able to balance two sports and their academics at the same time, this is a great strategy; however, it can become complicated when moving on into the recruiting process.

    First of all, college coaches love to recruit multi-sport athletes.  They think of it as getting more athletic skills for the same amount of recruiting dollars.  However, most likely the student athletes will need to choose a preferred sport at some point.  When making this critical decision, there are two factors that the student athlete must consider, skill level and love of the sport.  An athlete may be more technically skilled as a baseball player, but he may live for the game of football.  Multi-sport athletes must weigh both of these factors in order choose the sport that they will ultimately be the most happy competing in.

    Most Division I programs will not allow student athletes to compete in more than one sport at the college level.  They believe that juggling two sports schedules and a rigorous academic class load will prove to be overwhelming, and in most cases they are correct.  It is extremely difficult to compete in one Division I athletic program, while maintaining your grades at the same time.  It is nearly impossible to achieve this balance while competing in two Division I programs.

    If a student athlete is set on playing more than one sport at the collegiate level, and they have the skill set to do so, there are some options available to them.  Competing at the Division II, Division III, or NAIA level may give them the ability to continue to play both sports.  While the athletic commitment may not be as intense in one of these programs, the academic commitment most likely will be.  For this reason, it is important to keep in mind that education should be any collegiate athlete’s top priority.

    Academics in Recruiting

    Not many high school students are 100 percent sure what their major will be in college, but most at least have an idea what subjects interest them . If an athlete is a female lacrosse player, and she is interested in majoring in sports management, her options for college that offers both that major and that sport could be narrow. Does the school have a diversity of majors available? Remember that college is a time of exploration and discovery. Students should not limit themselves to majors and careers they have heard about in high school. They are sure to find out about majors and careers they never knew existed and one of those may be the perfect fit.

    Student athletes should consider the following questions:

    Does the school have a diversity of majors that interest me?

    Is the academic level at this college too demanding? Will I be in over my head, or will I be bored because it is not challenging enough?

    Are the admissions requirements the same or more rigorous than the NCAA minimum for elgibility?

    Will I want or need tutoring , and if so is there tutoring available for athletes?

    What is the school’s graduation rate for scholarship athletes in my sport?

    Do former student-athletes have interesting careers and good jobs? Are they successful?

    Are there many internships avalible?

    Jim Goranson was a successfully recruited student – athlete who found out the hard way about the pitfalls of choosing the wrong college. Jim started out with a full footballs scholarships to a big ten university. He graduated high school with a 23 ACT and 3.2 GPA.

    Even though Goranson played on a team that went to a sugar bowl he was quickly disillusioned with the “businesses side” of being on such a high-profile team.

    “My school wanted me to focus on football” said Goranson “No matter what the sugarcoating was, I was playing at a high level, and my football team was a business with a bunch of money involved. The coaches were paid to have results on the football field, so they discouraged anything that might compromise this. I wanted to take a psychology class, but counselors told me not to because it would hurt my GPA, which might make me ineligible for the team.”

    If athletes want to succeed at a high level, they have to be okay dealing with the business side of the sport. Some players are, especially those who want professional careers but Goranson was not one of those athletes. Goranson wanted an academic education and when a coach told him that he should put more effort into football and less into classroom activities, he knew it was time to change. He sough help from recruiting service and transferred to a college that placed a higher emphasis on academics.

    Jim went on to graduate in 2005 with a degree in English, a concentration in journalism and a minor in history. And he stresses, “I was able to write a book of poetry. I acted in plays. I had my own television show while I was there. I know I would have never been able to do that at my former college .”

    Fast Fact: The average student changes majors four times and will change jobs twenty-five times throughout life, which is why a good education support staff at a student’s college

    My Athletes Wanted Story: Callie Hemming, Former D1 Soccer Player

    My Athletes Wanted Story

    Callie Hemming

    DePaul University

    Soccer

    NCSA Social Media Intern

    My high school recruiting experience was different from most athletes in high school. However it was still full of highs and lows, and at times feelings of frustration and defeat.  I was fairly proactive in my process starting freshman year of high school I began to seriously consider what I could do to be recruited for college soccer. My sophomore year was when the recruiting process became more serious.

    I was lucky enough to be a part of a club team who attended a college showcase nearly every weekend, giving me the opportunity to be seen by hundreds of college coaches. Before each tournament, I would find the list of college coaches coming to the tournament, and send out personal emails to every coach, giving them my recruiting profile and also attaching my schedule for the weekend. I wanted to make sure these coaches knew who I was before they came to the tournament with hundreds of other soccer players.

    Around this time, I went on many college visits to schools with successful athletic programs, such as NC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Big 10 Schools, etc. It was here that I thought I would be able to go to these schools, where I would eventually learn was not going to happen. After receiving scholarship offers from many DI schools from the MAC, Big East, and Big 12, I learned to broaden my college search a bit. I ended up eventually verbally committing to a DI school in Georgia by the end of my junior year in High School.

    I had gone on my unofficial and official visit to this school and thought the recruiting process was over for me and felt a huge sigh of relief. However, as the signing date got closer and closer, I realized I was not ready to leave the Midwest and decided to de-commit.

    Here I was, in my senior year, back at square one. Learning that most DI programs were done with their 2007 recruits, I began to think my dreams of playing college soccer were over. For some reason I had convinced myself not to walk-on somewhere. Deciding that I was not ready to give up on my dream to play D1 college soccer I decided to reach out to a few more schools.

    I was able to get the DePaul University coach to come watch me play in one of my high school games. I ended up receiving a scholarship to play for DePaul, in one of the most competitive soccer conferences, the Big East, where I was a 4-year starter. DePaul ended up being the best academic and athletic fit for me. However getting through the recruiting process was not an easy as I thought it was going to be, giving up would have been easy but sticking with it was definitely worth it.

    2011 Tom Lemming Banquet

    Last night Tom Lemming and NCSA held the Annual Tom Lemming All Area Banquet to honor Chicago Lands top football players of 2011. So who is Tom Lemming and why is he honoring these student athletes?

    Tom Lemming remains one of the leading experts on college football recruiting and high school talent. Tom Lemming, a Chicago native, got his start as a stringer for suburban Chicago weeklies covering high school football games. In 1978, he began scouting football prospects, logging his findings in a newsletter he circulated to college coaches and fans alike. Tom Lemming was called “the mailman” as he delivered information about the best recruits to hundreds of college coaches and football fanatics by personally interviewing and scouting players from coast to coast.

    The Chicago Sun-Times sponsored the all-area banquet honoring prep football standouts from the Chicago Land Area for two decades, however eventually chose to no longer sponsor this idea. Tom Lemming decided to step in to sponsor the event, since he was already a large part of selecting the student athletes.

    The event was held at Galleria Marchetti who made a wonderful meal for the families to enjoy. The NCSA events team did a wonderful job organizing and coordinating the event and the night turned out to be a huge success. The 2011 banquets honored speaker last night was Notre Dame Football coach Brian Kelly.Brian Kelly Speech Below are the athletes who were honored at last night’s event, listed by name, grad year and high school. Special honorees include Athlete of the year Jordan Westerkamp a senior from Moniti, who lead his team to a state championship and has committed to the University Of Nebraska.  Coach Randall Townsel Hales Franciscan High was honored with the Ath-Lead-Er-Ship award for giving back to his community and empowering leaders through sportsRandall Townsel Speech. Lastly Coach John Ivlow from Bolingbrook high school was named Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 14-1 record and a state championship win.Coach of the Year Speech

    First Last YR High School
    2012
    Willie  Allen Allen 2012 Hales
    Jordan Diamond Diamond 2012 Simeon
    Brandon Greer 2012 Mt. Carmel
    Malin Jones 2012 Joliet Catholic
    Antonio Morrison 2012 Bolingbrook High School
    Michael Panico 2012 Carmel
    Tommy Schutt 2012 Glenbard West
    Anthony Standifer 2012 Crete Monee
    Ryan Ward 2012 Providence Catholic
    Jordan Westerkamp 2012 Montini
    2013
    Matt Alviti 2013 Maine South
    Aaron Bailey 2013 Bolingbrook High School
    Caleb Bailey 2013 Romeoville
    Khairi Bailey 2013 Morgan Park
    Josh Baldus 2013 Palatine
    Jalen Banks 2013 Thornton
    Fred Beaugard 2013 Montini
    Jesse Bobbit 2013 Palatine
    Kyle Bosch 2013 St. Francis
    Kerron Bragg 2013 Leo
    Corey Davis 2013 Wheaton Warrenville South
    Ruben Dunbar 2013 Glenbard West
    Danny Friend 2013 Morris
    Colin Goebel 2013 Naperville North
    Matthew Harris 2013 Lyons
    Blake Holder 2013 Streamwood
    Ty Isaac 2013 Joliet Catholic
    Kendall Johnson 2013 Glenbard West
    Camden Kuksa 2013 Palatine
    Jake Lemming 2013 Lemont
    Mickey Macius 2013 St. Viator
    Nathan Marcus 2013 Glenbard West
    Matt Page 2013 Brother Rice
    Jamaal Payton 2013 Proviso West
    Ethan Pocic 2013 Lemont
    Cole Reyes 2013 Schaumburg
    John Serio 2013 Palatine
    Chris Streveler 2013 Marian Central Catholic
    LaQuan Treadwell 2013 Crete-Monee
    Jordan Watson 2013 Hales
    2014
    Nick Allegretti 2014 Lincoln-Way East
    Shane Evans 2014 Prairie Ridge
    Jake Godfrey 2014 Providence Catholic
    Ryan Graham 2014 Wheaton Warrenville South
    Romel Hill 2014 Richards
    Justin Jackson 2014 Glenbard North
    Jamarco Jones 2014 De La Salle
    Jake Kolbe 2014 Naperville Central
    Nyles Morgan 2014 Crete Monee
    Sadarriss Patterson 2014 Schaumburg
    Devin Pitts 2014 Homewood Flossmoor
    Mylan Reeves 2014 Homewood Flossmoor
    Arnold Shead 2014 North Chicago
    Stacey Smith 2014 Schaumburg
    Demetrius Streeter 2014 Proviso West
    Nile Sykes 2014 Oak Park- River Forest
    Clayton Thorson 2014 Wheaton North
    Nic Weishar 2014 Marist
    Mikale Wilbon 2014 De La Salle
    Matthew Zolper 2014 Schaumburg
    2015
    Miles Boykin 2015 Providence Catholic
    Dyrrah Christon 2015 Bishop McNamara Catholic
    Nolan Dean 2015 Neuqua Valley

    Once again thank you to Tom Lemming for keeping this event an important part of Chicago, as well as to NCSA and founder Chris Krause for the sponsorship, to all of the athletes, coaches and their families.

    Presenting Yourself to College Coaches

    The recruiting process can be very overwhelming and difficult for student athletes. On average a college coach only has 500 dollars to recruit for the entire year. With over 7.3 million high school athletes in the United States and countless others across the world it is important to make yourself stand out. However you do not want to make a coach remember you in a negative way, you want to present yourself as the best possible candidate to receive an athletic scholarship. Many of the things below seem like common sense but often athletes below forget these rules. Below are three places where I see student athletes falter the most often

    Social Media

    While Facebook and twitter should be a place where you can relax, post silly pictures and funny jokes on your friend’s walls and twitter feeds, the reality of the situation is that coach’s look at these sites to see “the character” of the athlete that they are recruiting. Even if you have your page set to private there are always ways to get around that, maybe your friends page that isn’t private has pictures of you or posts from you that do not put you in the best light. I always tell athletes to think before you post something on the internet, if you even hesitate for a second to post it… DON’T. If it is not something you would want your Grandmother to see then it should not be posted. Once something is online it is there forever even if you delete it, it can always be found. Simple things like having an inappropriate default of yourself “flicking off” the camera can turn coaches off from recruiting you. Even having an inappropriate twitter handle name with crude language could potentially show a coach that you do not have the correct reputation or character that he wants on his team.

    Email

    Just like your twitter handle you need to make sure that your email address is appropriate, it seems like a small thing but it could be the difference between a coach opening your email or deleting it. Your email address name is the first impression a coach will get from you.  A first impression is a lasting impression, and it is hard to overcome a bad first impression. Have a simple email address usually your first and last name is best and easy to identify. Furthermore you need to have proper grammar, English and punctuation when emailing. You need to speak clearly and specifically explain to the coach why you are contacting him.  Make sure you spell out all your words do not use “U” for you, or “da” for the, or “r” for are. A coach needs to know that you can handle yourself well and represent his program to the highest esteem as well that you are educated enough to write an email before he admits you to his university.

    Phone Conversations/ Voice Mail

    Talking on the phone can be awkward for student athletes at first but after 5-10 phone calls that athlete should begin to feel more comfortable. However even as the student athletes become comfortable they still need to be prepared for a coach’s call. Next to the phone should be a prepared list of answers to questions that coaches may ask you as well questions that you want to ask the coach about the school or the program. Talking with a coach should be a two-way street not only should a coach be getting a sense of who you are, you need to be getting to know the coach as well. It is important that you speak clearly so that the coach can understand you, just like when writing an email you need to be formal when speaking to a coach. You need to remember that you aren’t talking to your best friend. While it is important for the coach to get a sense of your personality, so do not be rigid and quiet but just remember that you need to be professional during these phone calls. Lastly make sure you have a voicemail script written out for when you call coaches. Often time’s kids will fumble their words when leaving a voicemail, by preparing a script ahead of time you will be able to leave a clear and concise voicemail.

    My Athletes Wanted Story: NFL PLAYER, NCSA ALUMNI Patrick Brown

    My Athletes Wanted Story

    Patrick Brown

    University of Central Florida

    Minnesota Vikings

    NCSA Alumni

    I have always had a love for sports, throughout my childhood I played soccer, baseball and basketball.  It wasn’t until middle school that I found my love for football; however I only played for my middle school team which was not very competitive. Everyone said I would be a great football player because of my height and quick feet as long as I could put a little weight on my frame. However I kept growing and never put any weight on my frame not to mention I couldn’t find that “aggression” that a lineman should have. When I was a freshman in high school I was 6’2 and barley made the freshmen B team. I played basketball in the off season, lifted weights, attended Don Beebe’s speed camps as well as college football camps. I worked hard throughout high school, and finally made varsity football my junior year. But beyond a few questioners and form letters I was receiving little to no attention from college coaches. I was not being recruited because I was undersized, and I did not know how to play the game of recruiting. I was not being proactive I believed that coaches would come find me. I thought it was my high school jobs coach to promote me in addition to going to camps I thought coaches would notice me. At the end of my junior year my father’s friend Tom Thayer suggested I join NCSA, they were very helpful. NCSA created a highlight video for me in addition they helped me send my information out to college coaches. By senior year I had received more attention but I was still not being heavily recruited, and by the end of my senior season I had not received any offers.

    After another loss in the first round of the play offs I began to worry that maybe I was never going to live my dream of playing college football. That is when my highlight film ended up on the desk of three coaches who could see past the skinny lineman and see the potential of a future NFL player. University of Central Florida, Texas Christian University and Western Michigan, began calling my house a couple days a week and inviting me on official visits. My first visit was to UCF, who thrilled me with their brand new campus, top of the line dorm rooms, state of the art facilities and the beginning of a brand new on campus stadium that could seat 70,000. I left feeling like UCF was my school however upon my mother’s urging I chose to visit TCU as well. TCU was a school with a little more history, tradition, a nationally recognized academic reputation, and all around safer choice for me. While I liked Western Michigan at this point is was definitely between TCU and UCF. On the night of February 1st I still had not made a decision, and I would be signing my NLI the next day. My phone was ringing off the hook from coaches calling to see if I had made any decisions, eventually we had to turn the phone off while I made my decision. I talked it over with my parents for a very long time, finally coming to the decision that I would be a Knight and play under Coach George O’Leary in sunny Orlando. The thrill of being apart of history, and building tradition instead of already being apart of it was too much to resist. I wanted to be a part of the team that would pull a school out of the longest losing streak in the nation to conference champions and bowl games. Which is exactly what we did my freshmen year.

    Signing my National Letter of Intent was one of the greatest days of my life. I went on to start as a freshmen left tackle and broke the NCAA record of the most starts in college football. I played every game of my career with 51 starts, never becoming ineligible or injured. Coming out of college I was a free agent and played on several different teams before catching on with the Vikings. I have now played three seasons in the NFL and every day I cannot believe this dream that I am living.  Looking back on the boy who barely made his high school football team, a teenager who almost did not receive a college scholarship, it’s hard to imagine that I am playing at the highest level possible. The best advice I can give athletes is about the recruiting process. No one is going to get you recruited, it’s on your shoulders, if you want to play at the college level give the same amount of effort to the recruiting game as you are giving to your sport. College coaches will not come find you; you must find them and make them remember you. Lastly the best advice I could give to all aspiring athletes is never give up on your dreams, with hard work and persistence anything is possible.