The start of the school year is an important time for high school athletes looking to participate in their sport at the college level. Dave Galehouse, Director of VarsityEdge.com, provides the following advice on steps juniors and sophomores can take in the fall to improve their chances in becoming an intercollegiate athlete.
Galehouse says the fall is a time to “research as many colleges and athletic teams as possible and start to formulate a plan as to what your approach is going to be, what type of school and athletic program you want to be a part of and think you can be a part of.” He advises juniors to start sending letters and emails to coaches, and to fill out online recruit forms on team websites in order get their name in front of coaches.
“Don’t be afraid to make phone calls to coaches either,” writes Galehouse. “You should say something to the effect of, ‘Hi coach, my name is Ryan White, I am a junior at [school name] and play [position] and am possibly interested in your school or program.’” Galehouse believes the coach will ask the junior athlete about his or her GPA and the results of test scores (PSAT, SAT, ACT), to see if the student-athlete is possibly qualified for acceptance, and it’s likely the coach will get into more specifics.
“You are not going to get recruited off this first phone call,” writes Galehouse, “but then again that is not the point. In this case, you want to alert the coach who you are, where you are, what you do, that you are interested in playing at the next level, and interested in finding out what information the coach needs from you in order to recruit you (schedule, video, tournament schedule, etc.). The coach will tell you what to do next, and if he/she doesn’t, simply ask.”
Galehouse also reminds junior athletes that they need to register with the Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse at the end of their junior year in order to be eligible to play at the NCAA D1 or NCAA D2 level. An athlete can register online at ncaaclearinghouse.net or through forms their guidance counselor should have.
Galehouse advises sophomores to educate themselves on the recruiting process and understand what is going to be required of them. He also reminds sophomores that they “will find instances where coaches go to their games to see seniors and juniors perform and if they have your name and know what school you play at, they may take a look at you as well when the time comes. While your skill-level will not be ready for college, college coaches can spot athleticism, size, and potential, and if they like what they see, they will keep you in mind for next year.”
The fall is also a good time for athletes and parents to find out what tournaments and showcases college coaches will be attending so they can plan their summer activities accordingly between their sophomore and junior years. At this stage, says Galehouse, it’s not necessary to start calling coaches, as they are busy evaluating juniors and seniors.