There are 3 key elements that combine to give athletes exposure to NCAA & NAIA colleges.
- Enthusiasm: Bring lots of energy
- Engage: Get on the radar
- Events: Show you can play
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The first ingredient for getting college exposure is Enthusiasm. Finding the right D1, D2, D3, NAIA or JUCO can be big process and you’ll need to keep your energy strong. You control your own athletic career and success relies on having an energized personal and family plan for success. How can you display enthusiasm? Some simple ways include by showing that you are:
Enthusiasm loves positivity. They feed off each other. If you are a “glass half empty” type of person, you will go down the negativity spiral. Athletes need to be positive and optimistic for enthusiasm to thrive. You WILL score a goal in the next game! You WILL play college athletics. You WILL make the varsity team. What happens if you don’t accomplish what you thought you would? Well, look at the silver lining in the situation to keep your optimism (ENTHUSIASM) up! On the JV team and not varsity? This environment could give you a chance to be the ‘big fish’. Didn’t score a goal last week? What went wrong? What went right? Use the ‘failure’ as a great learning lesson!
Passionate people are just more interesting than people who don’t care. Coaches LOVE athletes that LOVE their sport. Passion is what will keep your enthusiasm high, even during rough patches, which we all go through. Simply put, love what you do and enthusiasm will follow.
Always remind myself yourself what you are grateful for and what good things have been given to you by friends, family and teammates. As we go through the grind of practices and workouts, it can be easy to forget about all the little things that make our sport enjoyable. Remember all the good things that you have going on in your life and be grateful for being who you are today.
If you take control of your training, you’ll feel more control over your life and of exposure opportunity. Self-starters are enthusiastic because they have a burning fire of enthusiasm inside every endeavor they take.
An energetic attitude will get you started, but you’ll need to begin a relationship with college coaches. Have you emailed a coach before? It’s never too late (or too early!) to start. Here are 5 ways that athletes can successfully interact with coaches to improve exposure:
This is the number 1 tool used by coaches in the recruiting process. They read, respond and organize information about their prospects to help them gauge how intense an athlete should be recruited. Also, coaches are usually just one of multiple people (the coaching staff) involved in a decision. Emails are easy for coaches to share with each other. The gist, is that email will be your #1 priority for engaging coaches.
Coaches are just like you — they know that the quickest way to get interaction is through a phone call (i.e. when your mom has something urgent to ask you, does she email you or call you?). Coaches have strict rules (from NCAA) on how they are allowed to return calls, so don’t get bummed if a coach doesn’t call you back. The responsibility of making a call is ALWAYS the athletes, not the coaches (whether you are a recruit or a player on the team)! Also, for first calls, you should always have a ‘script’ ready (i.e. what are the two ideas you want to share with coach?) For instance, are you playing in a tournament soon? Did you see the team’s last game (and congratulating the coach)? Are you introducing yourself? Your call should be short & sweet — I think a 5 minute call (max) is great as you are showing that you can get right to the point (your 2 scripted messages) and it shows that you are respectful of coach’s time (S/he’s got a whole team of players to manage as well!).
This is a great tactic for interaction, but only after a coach knows who you are (and you are in their phone’s contact book). If you haven’t spoken to a coach on the phone, than you shouldn’t text them. But once you’ve both called them AND emailed the coach, an occasional text can be a nice notification to a coach. Good texts are like twitter / instagram / facebook status updates — simple & quick. Example: “Coach, it’s Sam Jones, @ XYZ Showcase today on field 8. If you’re here, come watch me play ferociously (and our team win!).” Here is another: “Coach, congrats on the well deserved win. Sam Jones”. And another: “Coach, it’s Sam Jones headed to EXACT ID Camp – you instructing again this year?”
In the 21st century, an online profile is essential to getting exposure. You already have your social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Insta…), but you need an athletic profile that can help you summarize and showcase your identity. There are many recruiting service options out there for organizing a profile including berecruited, CSA, Takkle, NCSA, CPOA, CaptainU, NSR, RecruitLook, ScoutUSA, playced, ScoutMe, and 100s of others. However, while coaches do use these tools occasionally, they *always* use some type of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool — basically, CRM lets coaches store lists and contact data of every athlete that contacts them and is interested in their program. The most commonly used coach tool is FrontRush (note: this is only for college coaches, athletes can not use this site). If you are a college coach reading this article, I highly recommend you contact FrontRush. In fact, EXACT believes in them so highly that we have partnered with FrontRush, giving them access to our behavioral training tools!
To get your athlete information actively sent and shared with college coaches, we recommend every high school athlete build a development profile at PrepHero. PrepHero shares your information (personal interests, athletic & academic successes, recommendations/endorsements, motivational style, mental approach, learning style) with both your current HS / travel coaches (so you’ll get better!) and with college coaches through the PrepHero Prospect Roster, FrontRush, and its recruiting service partners: GoBigRecruiting, UniversityAthlete, NCSA, CollegeSwimming, CaptainU, CanadaFootballChat and TennisRecruiting. To get yourself added to any college coach’s Prospect Roster, you need to build your Portfolio at PrepHero.com.
Every successful exposure strategy, requires the athlete to participate in sporting events, whether they be games, training sessions, tournaments or camps. A major challenge is that not all events are created equally. When evaluating whether an event will contribute to your exposure, here are 5 questions to ask:
1. How many college coaches will be observing you?
>>> College coaches have a limited amount of time and they often prefer to get a large “bank for the buck” when it comes to seeing athletes. While coming to individual team or league games might not make sense for the coaches, they’ll often make the time (and spend their college team’s operating budget) on traveling for events such as tournaments, showcases, and ID camps.
2. Will the college coaches be able to meet & talk with you?
>>> College coaches are restricted from interacting with athletes (and their parents) at recruiting events like tournaments. However, college camps, such as the EXACT College ID Camp are development events where coaches are put on the field with the high school athletes, giving direct 1-on-1 exposure.
3. Is the college coach guaranteed to be watching you?
>>> College coaches must adjust their schedules based on budgets, team practices and other commitments. At the EXACT events, confirmed coaches are always listed on the ID / Showcase Camp page. If you are unsure whether a college will be at a tournament or other camp, you should contact the event organizer to get a confirmation before you register.
Now that you have your trifecta Exposure strategy ready, get started today by exploring an EXACT college camp at exactsports.com