Recruiting Process Do's and Don'ts:
Do's: Do start this process early. Step one is to get on coaches’ radars - you can be recruited only if coaches know you're out there!
Do begin writing coaches during your freshman year in HS and no later than your sophomore year. You will miss out on opportunities if you start late, and the earlier you start you’ll sooner you’ll be better informed on your sport’s recruiting landscape.
Do your research. Start compiling a list of schools by attributes that are important to you: e.g. sports program, academics, size of campus, philosophy, school location, etc. Rank attributes that are most important to you.
Do play at the highest level of club / school team you can, it's one of the best ways to be seen by college coaches. Even if coaches are attending a game or match to watch another prospect they will also see you compete.
Do spread a fairly wide net in your original list of schools and coaches you write to. Even if you’re confident you have the ability to play at say a big D1 school, get schools from other divisions and associations on your list. You may find that the a smaller school may be your best fit whether it’s due to academics, campus atmosphere, chance to play multiple sports, etc.
Do practice phone calls / Skype with an adult other than your parents (i.e. coach, teacher) prior to calling coaches. Important to learn good communication skills, don't make a bad impression the first time you talk to a real college coach.
Do work on an "elevator" speech - in 30 seconds be able to effectively tell a coach why you are interested in their school and why you believe you would be a good fit for their program.
Do ask each coach you write what their typical recruiting timeline is.
Do set up an online and hard copy file for all your correspondence to and from schools & coaches.
Do be honest with yourself about both you athletic and academic achievement levels, don't waste your time and coaches time by contacting schools if you already know you won't meet their athletic and/or academic standards. Look at bios on current college team rosters for player athletic achievements / times etc. in high school and see how you compare.
Do ask your current coaches what they think of your prospects and where you can improve.
Do become familiar with Association rules (NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA) rules early on in the process, they vary by both sport and division. Do focus on the academic aspect of the schools first. You’re going to college not a sports academy. A good education is going to benefit you long after your playing career is over. Make sure you are only considering schools you would attend even if you were not playing a sport.
Do take advantage of the recruiting process to become independent, advocate for yourself and develop adult communication skills.
Don't forget that most coaches are looking closely at your character and grades before they consider your athletic potential.
Don’t ask about scholarship money early on,
Don’t have your Parents or others contact college coaches on your behalf – advocate for yourself and demonstrate to coaches early on you can be self sufficient
Don’t worry about what other players you know are doing, worry about yourself.
Don’t assume just because you have talent, schools will come to you – take charge & be proactive.
Don’t think anything is “owed” to you
Don't send out mass e-mails. Personalize your notes and only send to schools you would seriously consider attending. Don't send e-mails addressed to the wrong coach at the wrong school.
Don’t e-mail coaches using an e-mail address you might think is funny but which you may regret or find embarrassing down the road. Most coaches will likely think twice about recruiting an athlete whose e-mail address is norulz4me.
Don't let an ill advised 100 character tweet cost you a $ 100,000 scholarship.
Don't forget to check your e-mail and voice mail regularly ... always respond to coaches quickly and definitively.
Don’t take the" D1 or bust" route or limit yourself to just one or two schools. It’s a learning process and by having a healthy and varied list of schools to start with you’ll learn a lot both about schools and what appeals to you and may be the best fit for you.
Don’t burn any bridges , be polite and respond to all coaches e-mails. If you’re certain you’re no longer interested in a school save everybody time and trouble by politely letting them know – remember, coaches talk to each other.
Don't deluge coaches with e-mails or phone calls. It's important to stay in contact with coaches, a couple of times a month is good, several times a week or daily is likely to put you in the nuisance pile, remember you are contacting coaches who are thinking do I want to work with this kid for the next 4 or 5 years?
Don't rely on verbal offers and say no to other potential schools. Until you get it in writing it's not binding, don't be left out in the cold! Don't freak out if things are not progressing as quickly as you thought they would. The recruiting process is a marathon not a sprint.