If you are a student-athlete chasing your dream to play in college all it takes is a Google search to find more information than you could possibly read on what you need to do to make that athletic scholarship dream a reality. We won’t deny it, Fullride does and will continue to provide you with our advice and guidance about the recruiting process because these articles can be very helpful. Many of these recruiting articles will occasionally mention things you should avoid doing if you want to receive an offer.
You might have run across some of these tips in your social media feeds too, but our experience tells us there really isn’t a good resource to find this information in one place. So, we decided to put together what we hope is a pretty comprehensive list. We feel these “don’t do” tips are just as important to know and understand as the tips on what you should do. In some cases, they may be even more important for you to understand. Even if you have all the skills, tools, athleticism, and attributes that make a college coach drool, if you trip over just one of the items on this list you may seriously be jeopardizing your opportunity to play at the next level.
1. GET POOR GRADES– This doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody. You have probably heard this over and over from your parents, teachers and coaches. But, it doesn’t diminish the importance of being on top of your studies from the time you start your freshman year. We have seen it happen on far too many occasions. Freshman start high school and do not put the needed effort into their classes or take their grades seriously. Before they know it they have dug a hole so deep they have no hope of digging out. The NCAA starts factoring your classes towards athletic eligibility as a freshman. Starting with the class of 2016 they will now require a minimum core class GPA of 2.3 if you wish to be eligible to play your freshman year of college. If you are not familiar with the new requirements we recommend reviewing ourathletic eligibility graphicand if you want more detailed information be sure to visit theNCAA Eligibility Center.
2. BE A DIVA– Basically this boils down to not being a me first person. Coaches are looking for players who put the team first. We have all seen a diva. It is the teammate who is always complaining or talking to the officials. It is the player who is always complaining because they aren’t getting the ball enough. It is the player who is always talking back to the coach thinking they know more than the coach. It is the player who is always pointing fingers at his teammates and not focusing on what he can do better. A coach doesn’t care how good you are if you are going to be a cancer in the locker room or a distraction on the field or court.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA THUG– We all believe in the freedom of speech, but if you want to play at the next level you really need to think about what you are posting on your social feeds. Coaches will and do follow your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds as part of the evaluation process. Remember anything you post is now out there for all to see. And while you may believe that making your account private gives you complete protection, you had better think again. We have seen coaches who create fake accounts just so they can follow you to see what you post. So stay away from posting porn, using the “N” word, and talking about sex, drugs or guns. Before you post anything, ask yourself if you would want your parents or grandparents to see it. If the answer is no, then don’t post it. This applies to retweeting or sharing what others have posted. Just because somebody else did it first does not make it excusable for you to spread it further. Coaches will eliminate you from consideration for an offer or even pull an offer based on questionable social media behavior.
4. PLAY HOOKY –We have all been there. You are tired and just don’t feel like going to practice. You overslept a little and just can’t make it to that early film session. Some of your friends are going to Six Flags and you don’t want to miss it, so you will just skip today’s workout. You just didn’t feel like going to class today. It’s harmless, nobody will care if you skip a meeting or skip class here and there, right? Wrong, college coaches are looking for dependable and committed athletes. A history of skipping meetings, practices or class will show a complete lack of reliability and commitment to the team. And when it comes to your education, coaches are held accountable for your grades by the school and the NCAA. Often times a coach’s contract will have incentives for the overall team performance in school. Do you think they will feel positive that a student athlete with a history of cutting class will be reliable when it comes to performing in the class room?
5. POOR RELATIONSHIP WITH COACH –The very first person a college coach is going to talk to when starting his evaluation of you is your high school head coach and they are going to talk about more than just your performance on the field. Are you coachable and do you apply what you have been coached up to do? Do you have a good relationship with the coaches or are you regularly causing problems, talking back to the coaches or not doing what is asked of you? He is going to want to know what kind of person you are. Are you a leader and a good teammate? What kind of practice player are you? Do you give a 100% effort in practice or are you the type of athlete that only feels it is important to give your all when it is game time? You need to maintain a positive relationship with coaches or can expect a negative report to the college coach conducting his evaluation. If you can’t get along with your high school or club coach, there is no reason for the college coach to believe you can get along at the next level either.
6. DISRESPECT YOUR PARENTS –Another piece to the evaluation puzzle includes your relationship with your parents. A coach can discover this a number of ways, but you need to be aware that anytime you are in contact with college coaches and your parents are also present, they are paying attention to how you treat your parents. This can be during an official visit, during an unofficial visit, during an in-home visit or even on the sidelines after a game. If you treat your parents with disrespect, talk back to them, or ignore them it may be an indication that you do not deal with authority figures well.
7. DISRESPECT YOUR TEAMMATES –(See above) Are you getting the message yet? Being respectful and maintaining a good relationship with all those who are around you is incredibly important when it comes to athletic recruiting. Your relationship with your teammates is no less important than the relationship you have with your coaches and parents. Coaches are looking to answer a number of questions here. For example, are you a good teammate and a good leader? Are you a good teammate when things are going wrong or is it just when things are going well? Do you support your team whether you are on the field or on the sideline? What about off the field? Do you have a good relationship with your teammates in school and out? Do you point fingers or talk poorly about your teammates when they are not around? Treating your teammates poorly shows a lack of character, leadership and accountability. You don’t necessarily have to like every player on your team, but you do need to show that you respect them. A college coach is building a team and there is no room for an athlete that cannot get along with the rest of his teammates.
8. SHOW ME THE MONEY – There is a right time and a wrong time to bring up this topic with college coaches. Unfortunately, the right time to drop questions like this can be a little confusing. But, there is definitely a very clear line you do not want to cross. Do not ask a coach when you are going to receive an offer, why you haven’t received an offer yet, or how much money/aid they can give you during your first few conversations. You do not want a coach to think that all you care about is the money or scholarship. The coach is taking the time and effort to evaluate that you are the right fit for the program. He expects you to be doing the same. When you ask about the scholarship too early in the process it will appear as though you don’t really care about the rest of it. You need to know that the interest is serious and an offer is imminent before you ask questions like these. Better yet, wait until an offer has been made.
9. BE LATE – A coach’s time is valuable and there are not always enough hours in a day for them to get to everything they need done. So, if a coach schedules a recruiting meeting, a visit, or a call with you, you had better be there and available at the scheduled time. Better yet, be ready to go a few minutes before the scheduled time. Not being ready or available at the scheduled time can give the coach the impression that you do not respect their time, that you are not reliable, that you do not take the process seriously, and that you do not have real interest in their program. They might just cross you off and move on to the next name on their board. So, if something comes up and you won’t be able to make, make sure you notify the coach ahead of time.
10. EXAGGERATE – Just don’t do it! Do not stretch the truth when it comes to your size, weight, speed, stats or even the number of offers you have. College coaches do their due diligence during the evaluation process. If you stretch the truth about any of your size, weight or speed they will find out when they measure and test you. In some cases, it may only take a simple eye test to know you are not telling them the truth. They will verify you stats with your coaches. And when it comes to offers, the college coaching fraternity is much smaller than you think. Coaches talk all the time. They will know if you are being truthful about your offers. You may think that just stretching the truth will help you get ahead, but telling those little white lies can only hurt your standing with coaches. It will make a coach question your character, honesty and reliability.
11. I’M BETTER THAN YOU – It is an honor to be considered a prospect to play at the next level. It doesn’t matter if you are receiving interest from Power 5 programs or NAIA programs, you are still part of a very small percentage of high school athletes who will receive the opportunity to play in college. You need to show respect to every school that shows you interest or makes an offer. Just because you are receiving interest from D1 schools it doesn’t mean that you will receive an offer or that they will be the best fit for you. You might find that you like the idea of being a big fish in a small pond better than being a little fish in a big pond. What if something happens and you don’t receive the offer to the Power 5 school? You may need that D2 offer if you want to continue to play in college. The point is, you need to listen to every school because you have no way of knowing what the future holds.
12. DREAM SCHOOL – Never tell a coach that is recruiting you that you have always dreamed of playing somewhere else. You might as well just come out and tell them that you are only interested in them if you do not have an opportunity to play for your dream school. That may not stop them from continuing to recruit you, but they are more likely to spend their effort and time on athletes they know are interested in playing for their program and attending their school. You will be on the outside looking in when they have filled all their available scholarships and you still don’t have that offer from your dream school.
13. DEAR COACH – Potentially the most important communication you are going to have with a coach is your introductory email. Don’t blow it by generically opening the email with “Dear Coach” or “To whom it may concern”. The purpose of the email is to grab a coach’s attention right away. It is not to have your email deleted before they have even read the first sentence. When you address the email generically you are telling the coach that you don’t really have any interest in their program because you couldn’t take the time to research their school or program. Essentially, you are sending them nothing more than junk mail and it will be treated with the same respect all spam email deserves. We will have more on writing a great intro letter soon. Until then, please check out our Simple Six Step Recruiting Plan.
14. GO TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE – We are joking a little with the headline for this item, but it really isn’t funny. Does your school record reflect that you are consistently getting in trouble at school? Do you have a history of fighting or behavior problems in class? Have you been suspended? College coaches will find out if you have a history of disciplinary problems at school and it will not be favorable to your chances for an offer. Stay out of the Principal’s office.
15. GO STRAIGHT TO JAIL AND DO NOT PASS GO -Yes, we are making light of it with this mug shot, but it is no joking matter.This tip is pretty self-explanatory, if you have a history of legal problems you probably do not have a future as a college athlete. There was a time when college programs were more tolerant, but that is not the case these days. Most programs will cut ties as soon as you get in legal trouble. So, it is increasingly unlikely they will extend an offer to a prospect who has a record. The risk far outweighs the reward. Don’t take the risk and stay out of jail.
Do you have any further tips or advice on what prospective student athletes should avoid doing during the recruiting process? We would love to hear about them in our comments section. Maybe we will even add them to the list. And as always, if you found this article helpful and think it is worthy of a share, please click on the Facebook or Twitter icons below.