Summer is a very important time in the recruitment of high school athletes by college coaches. Participation on summer teams, in summer individual competition, or in summer camps and clinics are an opportunity to be seen by college coaches as you are participating in your sport. This has become more evident over just the past few years. We see the trend noted frequently in the sports pages as college football programs announce high school athletes committing to their program during campus visits in the spring of the junior year or during participation in summer camps held on the college campuses.
This trend is also being noted in other sports as well. During this past spring, I have been on college campuses from Carolina to the west coast and have heard comments that are very similar, particularly from sports such as soccer and volleyball. When I was on those campuses to analyze and review their athletic compliance program, I met with a sample of coaching staff members to ask them about their recruiting practices. One of my routine questions is about recruiting phone calls and how they document and monitor those phone calls so as not to violate the NCAA recruiting rules regarding permissible phone calls to recruits.
Coaches in the sports of soccer and volleyball told me that “When it becomes permissible for us to start calling prospects on July 1 following the junior year of high school, our recruiting for the upcoming class is already completed for the most part. By then, most of our recruiting has been done through e-mail contact and through camps and unofficial visits during this past year, and our phone calls are mainly just to keep in touch with prospects who have already committed to us.”
So, as much as possible, get out there this summer to participate in camps and clinics, on your summer teams, and visit college campuses as you travel this summer if possible. When visiting college campuses, contact the athletic department and ask if a coach is available to speak with you.
In addition, remember that when you are participating in summer events, and camps or clinics, that somebody is always watching how you perform, not just on the field or on the court, but how you conduct yourself on the bench, in the dugout, and during pregame warm-ups. They are watching to observe if you are going 100% on each play. Are you a team player? How do you interact with your teammates and coaches?
Enjoy your summer and go out there and have fun. And remember that each time you step out there to compete, it’s like a tryout opportunity. Even if a college coach is not watching you, your current coach is, and the college coaches are frequently asking them not only about your athletic ability but how you conduct yourself.
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