6 Keys to Successful College Recruiting According to 100+ Athletes

CoachU always asks about recruiting when interviewing their “Coaches”. We want to hear about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to recruiting. We’ve heard it all. From deciding between D1 and D3, transferring, finding their perfect home, having offers pulled because of a changeover in coaching, you name it we’ve heard it. Just about every coach either dealt with realignment, NIL, Covid or some combination of all of these things. We dig into the process they had, the structures they set up, and lastly, what they would have done differently given the perspective they now have. We ask these questions because recruiting is important. 

There is no avoiding recruiting when you’re dealing with a high school athlete. It is and always will be top of mind for them. It consumes them in their daily life and more often than not has a negative impact on their attention and focus. It is, up to this point, the most important decision of their life and it weighs on them heavily. Maybe they have a friend who has gone through it but often these stories aren’t shared. Additionally, things are changing so quickly these days that it really helps to have someone who is currently living in the world of their recent decision.

CoachU and their coaches look to help athletes think through this important choice and more. When you’re paired with your coach, you will hear all of the stories they have about their recruiting. 

After interviews with over 100 current student athletes and coaches, we wanted to distill some best practices, thoughts, stories and similarities from all of them.


1. Be prepared for your important dates

There have been many recent updates to rules and regulations regarding recruiting. Regardless of when things may be allowed to start, you’ll want to be ready for the date. Think through what it is you’re looking for, what you want to optimize for, and what’s most important to you well before it’s time to engage.


2. Have a great ability to showcase your story

Athlete’s reflected on how much they worried about their numbers, but in reality they should’ve focused on crafting their story. There is only so much that you can control, and everyone comes from different backgrounds with different resources. Crafting your story and demonstrating who you are and who you can be oftentimes separates you from other recruits!


3. Have structure and be organized

There are many tools out there that can help you with this (we’re partners with one of them!) but there is no one right way to do this. This can be as simple as email templates for outreach, to spreadsheets tracking your communications to tools to organize it all for you in one place. Regardless of what you choose, be dedicated to it and it will help make your life easier!


4. Put yourself out there

This applies to attending tournaments and showcases, sending game footage and highlight reels or simply doing outreach. It may be odd to think of but this is has a lot of parallels to networking at a certain point! By simply doing you are getting started on the right foot and making yourself known.


5. Define and prioritize your fit

Everyone had their own process to figure out what fit meant to them. Ability to play? Conference of play? Team culture? Campus culture? Big school, small school? Academics? Proximity to home? Other? Make sure you put together some sort of rating system and use this to be the top of your funnel for outreach. There are so many schools and programs that have teams, focus on the teams that have what you’re looking for.


6. Leave no stone unturned

Make sure you use the most of what is afforded to you. Take every visit, go to practices go to camps, eat 3 meals in the dining halls, tour facilities, meet training staff, anything you can think of and more. There are plenty of athletes who found the right home but were surprised at the things they didn’t think of during their visits and calls. The perspective gained goes a long way!


The college recruitment process is undoubtedly a journey filled with excitement and challenges. As parents, your role is to provide unwavering support, guidance, and encouragement. Help your teenage athlete stay focused, organized, and motivated as they pursue their athletic dreams. Remember that the recruitment process may have its ups and downs, but with perseverance and determination, your athlete can find the perfect fit for their future in both sports and academics. 


General blog posts on the topic of recruiting don’t do the topic justice. While we hope these tips and tricks provide value to you, there is a personal touch needed for recruiting. Part of the offering of CoachU gives you unprecedented access to a current college player who has a deep understanding of their journey and how the experiences and lessons learned from it can have a positive impact for you!

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