Starting Early: When to Begin Your College Recruitment Journey
Every journey to college sports starts with a single step: the decision to embark on the recruitment process. As a former high school athlete and now being in college, I get asked one question all of the time, "when should I start trying to get recruited?". And the answer isn't as simple as "the earlier, the better". But don't worry, this blog post is here to guide you and your parents through the optimal timing to start your college recruiting journey.
The Importance of Starting Early
Starting the recruiting process early can be a game-changer. It prevents you from making crucial mistakes that that hurt your chances of playing in college. Also, by starting early, you give yourself ample time to showcase your skills, build your athletic resume, and make the necessary connections. But most importantly, starting early allows you to grow and develop as an athlete before you start getting serious looks from colleges. Starting early in your development is the key, the sooner your can start preparing to be a college athlete, the better, and if you if you aren’t ready to show you’re an impact player at camps or during the season, make sure to prioritize your growth over connecting with coaches. That will come in due time.
Preparing for the Process: Freshman and Sophomore Years
Your freshman and sophomore years are when you lay the groundwork for your recruitment journey. During this time you need to focus on your development both as a student and an athlete. Work on improving your skills and dominating on the field, while maintaining a strong academic record. You can also start researching colleges and athletic programs that interest you. Remember, it's not just about whether a college wants you, it's also about whether you want the college.
Key Milestones in the Recruiting Timeline
Understanding the recruiting timeline can help you plan your actions. The timeline often starts with identifying potential colleges and athletic programs in your freshman and sophomore years, as previously mentioned, but even more importantly working your tail off, laying the foundation, so that you can dominate your junior and senior years. After your sophomore season (or whatever is your first full year starting), it's time to start contacting coaches, visiting colleges, and attending camps or showcases. Your junior and senior years are typically when official visits occur, offers are extended, and final decisions are made.
Each stage of this timeline comes with specific actions you should be taking. For instance, when you're researching colleges, you might also start putting together a highlight reel from your season. When you're contacting coaches, you should also be preparing for potential camps and visits.
Stay organized throughout the process. Set clear goals, track your communication with colleges, and stay on top of eligibility requirements (especially academic requirements). Remember, everyone's journey is different, and it's perfectly normal not to receive offers until your junior or even senior year. Patience is key. Prioritize your growth and development early on, and the right opportunities will come at the right time.
Ready to Start Your Journey?
Now that you understand the when and how to start your recruiting journey, it's time to jump right into. You have the tools and knowledge you need to navigate this process with confidence, but remember be patient, this is your journey, which will develop on its own unique schedule. Embrace it, enjoy it, and look forward to the opportunities it will bring.
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