USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com identifies appropriate colleges for potential recruits and delivers an online DIY college planning experience for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
If you are a student-athlete out there just starting the recruiting process or struggling with the recruiting process, here’s a tip: you should be recruiting colleges as much as colleges are recruiting you. I know this may sound strange, but your opinions and wants will dictate where you end up. Know what you want, get what you want. Don’t know what you want, well…
This week, I was lucky enough to speak with Russ Rose, Head Volleyball Coach at Penn State University. I could attempt to summarize what this man has meant to college volleyball, but that would be impossible. Coach Rose is the best. Ever. Here’s another recruiting tip: listen to what this man has to say!
Q: What should every parent and student-athlete know about college recruiting?
A: Every athlete, regardless of the sport, needs to understand that selecting a college will be one of the most important decisions they will ever make. It is critical for them to know that this is a process that requires attention and thought. I would tell every student-athlete to create a realistic expectation of the recruiting process. They should actively pursue the schools and programs that best suit their abilities, as well as their personality. One the major reasons we have had success at Penn State is because the majority of our recruits sell us on why we should take them, not the opposite. Success is about knowing what you want and making it happen, the same can be said about college recruiting.
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Parents need to understand that this process is about their child, no one else. They should put the responsibility of making choices and creating expectations on their daughter or son. That said, parents know their child better than anyone else and they should play a complementary role in recruiting. Support your kids, give them honest feedback and help them to develop educated opinions. A supportive parent means so much in the positive development of a student-athlete.
Q: What would the perfect outcome to the college recruiting experience be for a high school athlete?
A: It is hard to define what the perfect outcome could be because there are so many variables to consider. The closest definition of perfect would be a student-athlete getting a meaningful degree, while having a meaningful playing career. Youngsters need to know that the recruiting process is only the beginning stage of being a college athlete. The reason you want to have a positive recruiting experience is because it will increase the chances of you having a great college experience. See the bigger picture when it comes to recruiting and you can find yourself in a situation that is perfect for you.
Q: What are the top 3 ways in which you identify a potential recruit?
A: Identifying potential recruits can be a tricky thing when seasons run simultaneously, like they do in volleyball. We really have to do our homework on any student-athlete to make sure we are making the right decision. Club volleyball, summer camps and players expressing interest in us are the most common ways we find our recruits. Having an established program really helps in our recruiting efforts. Most of the girls that fill our roster have identified us before we have identified them. Recruiting becomes a very easy process when a student-athlete is being proactive with college coaches. Most coaches will tell you that they will not take a player that does not have a burning desire to be a part of their program. That is true for us, as well.
Q: What is the best thing a potential recruit could do to prepare for their college recruiting experience?
A: Every student-athlete should assess what is important to their own situation. Every one of them is different. That means every student-athlete’s recruiting experience will be different. Don’t get caught up thinking and acting in a way that is not representative of what you truly want. The college athletes that go on to have the most success on and off the court are the ones that account for their own happiness. Ask the tough questions of yourself and never be scared of the answers. This is not your parent’s experience, your friend’s experience, or your coach’s experience; it’s your experience!