If you want to play college sports, the name of the game these days is marketing.
It’s time to throw modesty and humility out the window for a few months, and realize that if you don’t tell college coaches that you exist, they will probably overlook you as a potential recruit. You need to let college coaches know exactly why they need to take a good look at you, and you need to start as early as possible in your high school career.
Most college coaches will want to see some type of packet of information on you, the athlete, as they consider whether or not you would fit into their particular sports program. While the information each athlete may put together will differ, I will suggest the following general items as things you will want to try and show a college coach.
Start with a cover letter, introducing yourself and listing some of your credentials in high school athletics. This letter should simply outline what the coach will see in the packet. Don’t feel the need to go into detailed explanation of why you deserve to be considered for a scholarship. Make the letter short, direct and accurate. Remember, this is the first time a college coach has heard of you. Make the first impression favorable!
Create a one-page resume that will outline your successes, strengths and academic history for a college coach. Think of it in the same manner as creating a resume for a job. Be accurate and concise, but include as many different attributes as possible. You will probably want to include a picture as a part of the resume, preferably and action shot of you playing your sport.
Include any newspaper clippings, magazine articles, or other accounts of your performance as an athlete. Clipping should be photocopied or scanned onto a clean sheet of paper. Don’t include the actual newspaper clipping, if possible.
Get letters of recommendation from your high school coaches, club coaches, personal coaches, athletic director, academic counselor and principal. The more qualified people you have in your corner saying “This kid deserves a shot at college athletics!” means more attention from college coaches. Do not include letters from parents, unless that parent is also the athlete’s coach.
Do not include a video tape in your initial packet! This is a waste of time and money, because many coaches simply throw away unsolicited video tapes that they receive from parents, athletes and coaches. You should only send a video once a college coach has received your packet, reviewed it, and has asked you to provide them with a video tape.
Once that request for a video tape has been made, you will want to send a coach a tape that has a combination of edited highlights, as well as continuous game footage included on the tape. Most DVD’s are capable of making simple edits. You might also be able to find local companies who will assist you in editing video tape with professional equipment. You’ll want about 5 minutes in edited highlights, accompanied by a play-by-play sheet that the coach can use to follow the highlights, as well as about 10 to 15 minutes of un-edited continuous action. Don’t worry about making your tape absolutely perfect. Just try to give the coach a good representation of your talents and abilities. Feel free to start your tape with an on-camera introduction of yourself.
Once your packet is put together, send it to several different colleges that you are interested in pursuing. Some colleges will respond immediately, and will request more information from you. Others may take a long time in responding. The important thing to remember is that you are taking the initiative to make something happen and to get noticed.
Remember, the packet of information is the first impression you will make on a college coach. Make sure that you have created a professional representation of yourself and your abilities. If you don’t, another athlete will!
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