Myth #1: If you are good enough, college coaches will find you.
Don’t wait for coaches to come to you; they may never find you. There are thousands of other talented athletes looking to play in college, so it is easy to be overlooked. It is very hard to be “stumbled upon” by a college coach. Be proactive with the recruiting process and market yourself the best you can. Sending coaches emails, letters, and sharing stats and highlight videos is the best way to get your name out there to college coaches.
Myth #2: I don’t have to worry about the recruiting process until senior year.
The biggest mistake you can make is waiting too long to start the recruiting process. Ideally, you should start thinking about and researching colleges your freshman and sophomore years. From there, junior and senior year should be dedicated to making connections with college coaches and attending showcases and camps. The earlier you start planning and preparing for college, the more successful you will be at finding the right school for you.
Myth #3: Grades don’t matter if you are good enough.
It is true that top talent will be recruited more actively, but coaches want to invest in athletes that will enhance their athletic program while also upholding the academic integrity of their school. While admission standards vary from school to school, all schools have minimums which they cannot deviate from. Don’t limit yourself to certain schools by being weak academically. You may be “eligible” to be recruited by colleges, but unless you can prove that you are a dedicated student, you won’t be attractive to most schools.
Myth #4: If you receive a letter or email from a coach, you are being recruited/will receive a scholarship.
Coaches send out letters and emails to thousands of athletes in order to generate interest in their school. In all likelihood, the letter and questionnaire you received is being sent out to many other athletes. Although the first letter or email may not be personalized to you, it can be the start of your relationship with a coach. Regardless of your interest in the school, you should always respond to the letter and fill out any necessary paperwork that goes along with it. Once you are receiving personalized emails, phone calls, and setting up visits, you are being actively recruited by the school.
Myth #5: My coach(es) will get me recruited.
The only person responsible for your recruitment is YOU! Although coaches can provide help and act as a reference, it is your job to market yourself and take the necessary steps to be recruited. High school coaches are often busy with teaching and their family, and may not even be familiar with the recruiting process or recruiting rules. Close to all of the legwork has to be done by you. However, give your coach all necessary information and talk to them about your future so they can help you along the way.
Myth #6: If I’m not being contacted or recruited by college coaches, I’m not good enough to play in college.
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine whether or not you play at the next level. If you are not being recruited, it might simply be that coaches don’t know who you are. The more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you will have to find a school to continue your athletic career. Everyone has a chance to play in college; you just have to find the right fit for you. Coaches have limited resources when it comes to recruiting, so unless you let them know who you are, it will be difficult for them to find you.
Myth #7: I will only receive a scholarship if I am an elite player.
Although schools have a limited amount of scholarships, most scholarships given out are not full scholarships. Partial scholarships allow schools the opportunity to distribute their scholarship money among many players. There are various opportunities for scholarships in college, but you have to find them. Academic scholarships are also an alternative to an athletic scholarship, which can be offered in full or in conjunction with an athletic scholarship.
Myth #8: D2 and D3 programs are weaker than D1 programs.
This is a common misconception when it comes to athletes choosing what division to play. Just like in Division 1, D2 and D3 schools have programs that vary in caliber. It is not uncommon for a top D2 or D3 team to be the same caliber as a mid-tier D1 program. If you are only considering D1 schools just because they are D1, you are limiting your options. Usually the only difference between the divisions is the amount of focus on the sport and school, and the amount of scholarships they have to offer.