This is when the process gets a bit more serious for most athletes. If you are a Division I or Division II prospect, you should expect to start hearing from coaches around September 1. This may be different for some sports; in men’s basketball coaches can contact you as soon as you finish your sophomore year. Coaches may contact with personalized written correspondence, and call once a week but this changes by year. As always, write back. Once you have been contacted, start sending periodic updates by email about your progress. An Online profile is the easiest way to do this (you can build an athlete profile at 1DreamSports.com, registration begins June 2014).
Try and take as many unofficial visits as possible. Any visits that you can take at schools you’re interested in are good, and if coaches are asking you to visit there schools that’s even better. It means they have a great deal of interest in you as a student-athlete. Usually, visits are on game days and can be a lot of fun. The recruiting process can be stressful but it’s something that you should definitely enjoy. Remember you are there to connect with the coaching staff and team, as well as to make a good impression. Ask players a lot of questions about their style of play, coaching staff, what they like, the community, etc. Be proactive throughout this process but most of all enjoy it. By this time you should have a professional edited highlight tape that you have been sending to any coach who have expressed interest in you as well as those institutions that you have been interested in as well. Most coaches are not allowed to visit you and your family until summer after your junior year, and they depend on video to evaluate you.
You are at the top of the recruiting process and coaches are now able to call you except during dead, quiet, and evaluation periods. Hopefully you have a list of about 5 to 10 schools that you have been in contact with and believe will be a good fit. Your job this upcoming year will be to narrow down that list to one school, you will have some schools on your list that sign other athletes at your position for various reasons. Many schools are after several players that play the same position and are willing to sign prospects early in the recruiting process with the fear of athletes backing out or choosing other institutions. This should not be a reason to rush and make a decision on where to sign but to keep you aware that you’re not their only option. Now that you’re a senior, you can take official visits. Unlike unofficial visits, where all you can receive are game tickets. During an official visit a school may pay for your transportation, lodging, and food. This is only for the student athlete; parents must pay for their own expense.
You are only allowed to take 5 official visits to Division I and II schools; unless you decide you do not want to play at the Division I level, which you may then take unlimited official visits to Division II schools. You must keep in mind if you decide to take unlimited visits to Division II institutions, this will permanently disqualify you from playing at the Division I level. If you are taking official visits, one good thing to note is that you will most likely receive an offer from one of them. Take your time when making your decision, coaches will not necessarily expect you to answer right away because they understand how important it is. This is a life changing decision, consider what you want, talk with your parents as well as other credible people in your circle that you trust for sound advice. Remember, you can’t wait too long; this is a very competitive process. The next blog will cover the importance of a highlight video, until then 1 Life, 1Love, 1Dream.