Learning how college sport recruiting works can be a challenge from the outside looking in. Like any other organized, ongoing process, however, there is both an art and a science behind how college sports teams are built, from the different ways coaches scout potential recruits, to the process of receiving and accepting scholarship offers. Since the stakes are quite high and there are many players competing for relatively few positions, it can be helpful to gain a basic understanding of how the process works as early as possible to best prepare yourself to gain the attention of the coaches you want to impress. Learn how college sports recruiting works and be on your way to pursuing the recruitment opportunities you seek.
The first step in the recruiting process is identifying quality players. Coaches employ many different methods to do this. One of the most common ways college coaches recruit quality players is by building a relationship with high school coaches who are nurturing and training their players each and every day, often seeing them grow through three or four years of playing sports. As high school coaches notice standout athletes, they will communicate with college-level recruiters and invite them down for a visit. Another common way college coaches identify quality players is by attending showcase camps where high school athletes can see and be seen, while engaging in games to showcase their skills. Lesser-known but still utilized ways of identifying quality players include watching videos posted on the school website or on YouTube, talking with other players on the team, sending former professional players who have transitioned into coaching or mentoring programs related to sports, and viewing the students on "cold" scouting trips.
For very promising players, often the recruiters will offer a campus visit and tour so that the player can get a feel for the campus and their potential teammates. On this tour the player can also evaluate the perks and benefits of attending that school over a competing school and ask any questions he or she may have. They may also be able to engage in mock games with current players and talk with those players about their experiences at that campus.
The final step in the college sport recruiting process is tendering offers to promising players. This is most often done through either the coach or the recruiter for a school. This is a tricky process because if the player is high-quality he or she will likely have several offers to consider, and recruiters and coaches are challenged to sell the player on their school over another. In recruiting top prospects, colleges must make the case that their program offers the best avenue to the professional level. Big-name institutions will have the advantage here, and programs that have consistent wins in their sport will also have an easier time selling players on attendance. The negotiation process can take some time as the player reviews all pending offers and makes a decision about where he or she ultimately wants to play. Often a school will tender offers to several players and assume that a smaller percentage of those will actually accept.