Gauging Interest from Coaches

My player is 2023 in a big 4 team sport. Following the excellent advice from here. 5 Top D3 personally responded back to my player 2-3 times, so far. They used words like, “you are in the strong pool” or “keep on sending videos and updates” or “you are a recruitable candidate for X school”. All of them asked for test scores even TO schools since we told them my player will be taking the test this spring.

My player school’s regularly sends kids (academic and/or athletic) to these schools, so they know the profile. My thinking is that if they are not interested, my player would have been ghosted or sent auto-replies. They all said they are focusing on 2022 until Fall, but keeping an eye on the 2023.

The music just started and folks are still picking out dancing partners, so I am cautious and steely-eyed. My position is that the coaches are also casting a big, wide net. My player is also applying to academic D1, so they probably know that.

So when do we know they are really serious or is this just the nature of recruiting? All of the coaches wanted my player to attend their ID camp. One coach said that wanted my player to attend a small 18-20 person ID camp.

Is Junior Day the big event? My player has been to many (non school) high level ID camps, so this is nothing to us, as a family.

My feeling is that I am going to feel sick until my players gets that acceptance letter or email, so maybe this is just a stressed induced post. :slight_smile: Any thoughts are welcomed. Sorry for the obfuscation. Gotta protect the innocent. Thanks!

College recruiting is a very stressful process, and you will feel that stress (probably at increasing levels) until the bitter end. For me, I was concerned about whether mine were good enough, were they too good, were they prepared enough for a good academic institution, was I projecting, was I doing enough, was I doing too much. None of those thoughts left until the acceptance letter was received.

The good thing that you are doing is starting relatively early. There is an argument that it just prolongs the stress, but the stress might be far worse if you started later. There is nothing worse than a coach saying that he or she would have been really interested in your kid, but he or she just recruited at that position and no longer has a need.

As for the rest, you definitely should cast a wide net to the greatest number of schools possible. The reason being that you never know when you’ll get traction. You never know what school needs what your kid has to offer. As a non-athlete, you can get a pretty good idea about where you stand on admission through test score and class rank percentiles. The only way an athlete can figure it out where he or she fits in is by reaching out to coaches.

The fact that coaches are responding is positive, but don’t assume that all coaches don’t respond if they aren’t interested. Some certainly pull a ghost, but some don’t. The real question is what are the coaches saying, and it sounds like the coaches are sending encouraging signs to yours.

If your kid plays in the spring, I would keep reaching out with updates (e.g., test score, athletic award, new video, all league award, etc.) at a rate of about once a month. Spreading the communications out signifies your continued interest and gives you the opportunity to gauge the strength of the coaches’ interest.

4 Likes

Ha. I started a thread with the title “Recruiting Is Not For The Faint of Heart” when I was only slightly farther along with my son’s recruiting journey.

So, first of all, telling us the sport isn’t going to out your player! Do you know at this point if s/he’s focused on D1 or D3? I ask because the timelines are different for the two levels. My thoughts below are based on men’s soccer recruiting; your sport may be different, and the timeline can be different between boys and girls, so what I have to say may or may not apply.

To go through your post. D3 at this point (at least for men’s soccer) is not picking out “dance partners”. That’s way too specific. They are creating player pools of kids they might be interested in (or are interested in). They do have kids they are more or less interested in within the pool. For men’s soccer at a top program (soccer-wise) the pool could be 200 or way more. Junior year they will start focusing in a bit more deliberately.

You won’t know if they are really serious sophomore year – they don’t know if they are really serious. That said, the coaches that have replied to your player are telling them that they are in the pool. The coaches are as interested as they can be at this point in time.

Attending the school’s ID camp (which are usually smaller, one day affairs) is critical. It shows the coach that your player is really interested in the school. It also allows the coach to see the player in action in person, and coaches will want to see your player in person several times. This is an excellent opportunity for your player to shine, and also for your family to get a sense of the coach and the school. We always tacked on a second day so that we could do the campus tour and info session. (Obviously this was all pre-covid).

Getting invited to Junior Day is kind of a big deal, in my opinion. Not all D3 schools have them. But if you figure that they only invite, what, 100 kids and 60 show up, that tells you the coach thinks your player is in the top 100 recruits. (or whatever the numbers are that would apply to the school/sport).

Your feeling that you will be sick until your player commits is probably right :slight_smile: It really is a rollercoaster full of ups and downs and twists and turns. Buckle up! But with hindsight it will seem like a fantastic exhilarating ride. Don’t worry about musical chairs until the summer before senior year. That’s when coaches fish or cut bait – make offers or not. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this board, and you can always PM people to talk a bit more confidentially. If your player’s sport is men’s soccer feel free to PM me; my son is a '21 and is going to the school he committed to last summer.

4 Likes

PS I agree with everything @gointhruaphase wrote! Especially at this point to cast a wide net. Fifty schools would not be too much imho.

2 Likes

Great advice so far. Really half the battle at this early stage is to identify the right level of play and get coaches to respond. It sounds like you’re in great shape there. And the way you’re viewing it is appropriate.

As far as how serious they are, I don’t think you’re going to get much more clarity on that this early. Partly because they don’t know themselves, and are still filtering.

Aside from continuing to communicate, cast a wide net and do the other things that folks here suggest, I think it’s often helpful to get clear on what the college search will look like if athletic recruiting doesn’t work out. That’s not a path most young recruits prefer. But becoming comfortable with the back-up option of, say, playing club at a D1 school rather than being recruited at D3 can make the recruiting process itself feel less high-stakes and allow for more enjoyment of the process for recruits and parents.

I don’t know if this helps, and others might disagree, but I’ve found in most cases I know personally that those families who go through this with a level head (like you appear to have) and recognize (at least on occasion) that it can be an enjoyable process, end up happy with the result even if the journey feels rough at times.

2 Likes

@gointhruaphase Thank you. Same thoughts racing in my mind. I like the once a month reach out with updates and videos as a gauge. Wide net, yes. We are looking at schools both athletic and/or non-athletic. I try to take a step back and make sure that it is my player’s journey. I am just a guide…ok an overly invested and worried one.

@cinnamon1212 I like the “they don’t know if they are really serious”. I can imagine a big spreadsheet with names, ratings, grades, etc filtering until there are a group of kids they want. Yes, if COVID restrictions are lifted, our whole summer will be ID camps, visiting schools, and maybe showcases. Thanks for the offer of help. I appreciate it.

@politeperson We had club and regional coaches evaluate my player, so we have a good idea of the level of play. Of course, the hard part is to have college coaches to agree. But seriously, everything such as grades, school, location, sport, finances, etc have to mesh together like a finely woven basket to hold or things will fall through the cracks. That is what I fear the most.

We know three families pre-COVID in our relatively small world that had their recruited player quit the sport forever and transfer to another school. Something didn’t mesh and everything fell apart. So if you can imagine single digit percentage players out of all of the high school level players (400k+) funneled into college level play. All of the hard work and sacrifice only to realize that your player isn’t happy. I would seriously die a little that day.

Thanks again all for the good thoughts and advice. I will try to pay it forward as we go. :slight_smile:

2 Likes